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    by D.H. Lawrence
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    From New Poems (1916).

    Returning, I find her just the same,
    At just the same old delicate game.

    Still she says: "Nay, loose no flame
    To lick me up and do me harm!
    Be all yourself!--for oh, the charm
    Of your heart of fire in which I look!
    Oh, better there than in any book
    Glow and enact the dramas and dreams
    I love for ever!--there it seems
    You are lovelier than life itself, till desire
    Comes licking through the bars of your lips
    And over my face the stray fire slips,
    Leaving a burn and an ugly smart
    That will have the oil of illusion. Oh, heart
    Of fire and beauty, loose no more
    Your reptile flames of lust; ah, store
    Your passion in the basket of your soul,
    Be all yourself, one bonny, burning coal
    That stays with steady joy of its own fire.
    But do not seek to take me by desire.
    Oh, do not seek to thrust on me your fire!
    For in the firing all my porcelain
    Of flesh does crackle and shiver and break in pain,
    My ivory and marble black with stain,
    My veil of sensitive mystery rent in twain,
    My altars sullied, I, bereft, remain
    A priestess execrable, taken in vain..."

    So the refrain
    Sings itself over, and so the game
    Re-starts itself wherein I am kept
    Like a glowing brazier faintly blue of flame
    So that the delicate love-adept
    Can warm her hands and invite her soul,
    Sprinkling incense and salt of words
    And kisses pale, and sipping the toll
    Of incense-smoke that rises like birds.

    Yet I've forgotten in playing this game,
    Things I have known that shall have no name;
    Forgetting the place from which I came
    I watch her ward away the flame,
    Yet warm herself at the fire--then blame
    Me that I flicker in the basket;
    Me that I glow not with content
    To have my substance so subtly spent;
    Me that I interrupt her game.
    I ought to be proud that she should ask it
    Of me to be her fire-opal--.

    It is well
    Since I am here for so short a spell
    Not to interrupt her?--Why should I
    Break in by making any reply!

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