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Epithalamion Analysis

Author: poem of e.e. cummings Type: poem Views: 32

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Thou aged unreluctant earth who dost

with quivering continual thighs invite

the thrilling rain the slender paramour

to toy with thy extraordinary lust,

(the sinuous rain which rising from thy bed

steals to his wife the sky and hour by hour

wholly renews her pale flesh with delight)

-immortally whence are the high gods fled?

Speak elm eloquent pandar with thy nod

significant to the ecstatic earth

in token of his coming whom her soul

burns to embrace-and didst thou know the god

from but the imprint of whose cloven feet

the shrieking dryad sought her leafy goal,

at the mere echo of whose shining mirth

the furious hearts of mountains ceased to beat?

Wind beautifully who wanderest

over smooth pages of forgotten joy

proving the peaceful theorems of the flowers

-didst e'er depart upon more exquisite quest?

and did thy fortunate fingers sometime dwell

(within a greener shadow of secret bowers)

among the curves of that delicious boy

whose serious grace one goddess loved too well?

Chryselephantine Zeus Olympian

sceptred colossus of the Pheidian soul

whose eagle frights creation,in whose palm

Nike presents the crown sweetest to man,

whose lilied robe the sun's white hands emboss,

betwixt whose absolute feet anoint with calm

of intent stars circling the acerb pole

poises,smiling,the diadumenos

in whose young chiseled eyes the people saw

their once again victorious Pantarkes

(whose grace the prince of artists made him bold

to imitate between the feet of awe),

thunderer whose omnipotent brow showers

its curls of unendured eternal gold

over the infinite breast in bright degrees,

whose pillow is the graces and the hours,

father of gods and men whose subtle throne

twain sphinxes bear each with a writhing youth

caught to her brazen breasts,whose foot-stool tells

how fought the looser of the warlike zone

of her that brought forth tall Hippolytus,

lord on whose pedestal the deep expels

(over Selene's car closing uncouth)

of Helios the sweet wheels tremulous-

are there no kings in Argos,that the song

is silent,of the steep unspeaking tower

within whose brightening strictness Danae

saw the night severed and the glowing throng

descend,felt on her flesh the amorous strain

of gradual hands and yielding to that fee

her eager body's unimmortal flower

knew in the darkness a more burning rain?


And still the mad magnificent herald Spring

assembles beauty from forgetfulness

with the wild trump of April:witchery

of sound and odour drives the wingless thing

man forth in the bright air,for now the red

leaps in the maple's cheek,and suddenly

by shining hordes in sweet unserious dress

ascends the golden crocus from the dead.

On dappled dawn forth rides the pungent sun

with hooded day preening upon his hand

followed by gay untimid final flowers

(which dressed in various tremulous armor stun

the eyes of ragged earth who sees them pass)

while hunted from his kingdom winter cowers,

seeing green armies steadily expand

hearing the spear-song of the marching grass.

A silver sudden parody of snow

tickles the air to golden tears,and hark!

the flicker's laughing yet,while on the hills

the pines deepen to whispers primeval and throw

backward their foreheads to the barbarous bright

sky,and suddenly from the valley thrills

the unimaginable upward lark

and drowns the earth and passes into light

(slowly in life's serene perpetual round

a pale world gathers comfort to her soul,

hope richly scattered by the abundant sun

invades the new mosaic of the ground

-let but the incurious curtaining dusk be drawn

surpassing nets are sedulously spun

to snare the brutal dew,-the authentic scroll

of fairie hands and vanishing with the dawn).

Spring,that omits no mention of desire

in every curved and curling thing,yet holds

continuous intercourse-through skies and trees

the lilac's smoke the poppy's pompous fire

the pansy's purple patience and the grave

frailty of daises-by what rare unease

revealed of teasingly transparent folds-

with man's poor soul superlatively brave.

Surely from robes of particoloured peace

with mouth flower-faint and undiscovered eyes

and dim slow perfect body amorous

(whiter than lilies which are born and cease

for being whiter than this world)exhales

the hovering high perfume curious

of that one month for whom the whole years dies,

risen at length from palpitating veils.

O still miraculous May!O shining girl

of time untarnished!O small intimate

gently primeval hands,frivolous feet

divine!O singular and breathless pearl!

O indefinable frail ultimate pose!

O visible beatitude sweet sweet

intolerable!silence immaculate

of god's evasive audible great rose!


Lover,lead forth thy love unto that bed

prepared by whitest hands of waiting years,

curtained with wordless worship absolute,

unto the certain altar at whose head

stands that clear candle whose expecting breath

exults upon the tongue of flame half-mute,

(haste ere some thrush with silver several tears

complete the perfumed paraphrase of death).

Now is the time when all occasional things

close into silence,only one tree,one

svelte translation of eternity

unto the pale meaning of heaven clings,

(whose million leaves in winsome indolence

simmer upon thinking twilight momently)

as down the oblivious west's numerous dun

magnificence conquers magnificence.

In heaven's intolerable athanor

inimitably tortured the base day

utters at length her soft intrinsic hour,

and from those tenuous fires which more and more

sink and are lost the divine alchemist,

the magus of creation,lifts a flower-

whence is the world's insufferable clay

clothed with incognizable amethyst.

Lady at whose imperishable smile

the amazed doves flicker upon sunny wings

as if in terror of eternity,

(or seeming that they would mistrust a while

the moving of beauteous dead mouths throughout

that very proud transparent company

of quivering ghosts-of-love which scarcely sings

drifting in slow diaphanous faint rout),

queen in the inconceivable embrace

of whose tremendous hair that blossom stands

whereof is most desire,yet less than those

twain perfect roses whose ambrosial grace,

goddess,thy crippled thunder-forging groom

or the loud lord of skipping maenads knows,-

having Discordia's apple in thy hands,

which the scared shepherd gave thee for his doom-

O thou within the chancel of whose charms

the tall boy god of everlasting war

received the shuddering sacrament of sleep,

betwixt whose cool incorrigible arms

impaled upon delicious mystery,

with gaunt limbs reeking of the whispered deep,

deliberate groping ocean fondled o'er

the warm long flower of unchastity,

imperial Cytherea,from frail foam

sprung with irrevocable nakedness

to strike the young world into smoking song-

as the first star perfects the sensual dome

of darkness,and the sweet strong final bird

transcends the sight,O thou to whom belong

th ehearts of lovers!-I beseech thee bless

thy suppliant singer and his wandering word.


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