...but must I confess how I liked her,
How glad I was she had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth? [...]
And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid,
But even so, honoured still more
That she should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth. [...]
She lifted her head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered her tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick her lips,
And looked around like a goddess, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned her head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw her slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face. [...]
And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.
And I thought of the albatross,
And I wished she would come back, my snake.
For she seemed to me again like a queen,
Like a queen in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.
And so, I missed my chance with one of the goddesses
And I have something to expiate:
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