Any Poet to his Mistress
Pen has no power to conjure love.
The word is like a woollen glove
that holds and hoards the body's fire,
a non-conductor of desire;
but lightest touch of hand or cheek
a Greek Anthology can speak.
No poet ever warmed a bed
with words; no woman's heart has bled
stabbed with a pen; tongue has no trick
of sentiment or of rhetoric
to snare a kiss. Yet I will prove,
for and against my theme, dear love,
what poets knew before the Flood—
the circumlocution of the blood:
and (silent, lest my tongue should trip)
in a rime riche rhyme lip with lip.