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Swinburne: For a Picture

    For a Picture

    Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909)

    That nose is out of drawing. With a gasp,
    She pants upon the passionate lips that ache
    With the red drain of her own mouth, and make
    A monochord of colour. Like an asp,
    One lithe lock wriggles in his rutilant grasp.
    Her bosom is an oven of myrrh, to bake
    Love's white warm shewbread to a browner cake.
    The lock his fingers clench has burst its hasp.
    The legs are absolutely abominable.
    Ah! what keen overgust of wild-eyed woes
    Flags in that bosom, flushes in that nose?
    Nay! Death sets riddles for desire to spell,
    Responsive. What red hem earth's passion sews,
    But may be ravenously unripped in hell?

    This poem is one of many published by the EServer, a nonprofit collective.