Thursday, July 29, 2010

From a Chinese Vase / Winifred Welles

From a Chinese Vase

Roaming the lonely garden, he and I
Pursue each other to the fountain's brim,
And there grow quiet  woman and butterfly 
The frail clouds beckon me, the flowers tempt him.

My thoughts are rose-like, beautiful and bright,
Folded precise as petals are, and wings
Uplift my dreaming suddenly in flight,
And fill my soul with jagged colorings.

The waters tangle like a woman's hair
Above the dim reflection of a face 
He thinks those are his own lips laughing there,
His own breasts curving under silk and lace.

How shall we know our real selves, he and I,
Which is the woman, which the butterfly?

Winifred Welles
The Hesitant Heart, 1919

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the European Union]

Winifred Welles biography

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