The Kiss

 

 

 

Are you shaken, are you stirred

By a whisper of love,

Spellbound to a word

Does Time cease to move,

Till her calm grey eye

Expands to a sky

And the clouds of her hair

Like storms go by?

 

 

Then the lips that you have kissed

Turn to frost and fire,

And a white-steaming mist

Obscures desire:

So back to their birth

Fade water, air, earth,

And the First Power moves

Over void and dearth.

 

 

Is that Love? No, but Death,

A passion, a shout,

The deep in-breath,

The breath roaring out,

And once that is flown,

You must lie alone,

Without hope, without life,

Poor flesh, sad bone.

 

Robert Graves 

 

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