BLACK CAT POEMS
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The Maiden at the Fountain
LOVE'S daughters bend above the silent source,
Where mystic nenufars that hide their stem
Make hands and lips
to gather them.
Here, panting, all have halted in their course
Around the water that reflects their eyes
Azured with gazing at the
Joy holds them rapt. The maddest of these girls
Holds up her breasts; she scarcely hears her breath
Hiss through the lips her tongue half openeth.
In the lascivious wind her golden curls
Wave from her shoulders to her knees that bend
Above the fountain's marge where eddies end.
Her sisters soon, the brown, the blonde, the red,
Go, fearful of the pool where they are glassed.
Alone, this one remains as though held fast
By the mystery of the source. Her hands seem dead,
Her hands are stirless as a lily's stem,
The light weight of her breasts so wearies them.
The shadow lengthens as the hours sink,
The bell of evening tolls, the violins
Down in the valley tell the
She only tarries at the water's brink,
Her gradual voice arises in the rime
Of the loved maiden lost at harvest-time,
Then hushes, grave. And when, where cattle browse,
Cease tinkling bells, in the dusk forest cover,
The wan, mad maiden who desires no lover,
Above her image in the water bows,
And, trembling, where the shady willow drips,
Kisses in silence her unreal lips.
poems by Stuart Merrill