To a Roman Woman
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Gleaming ivory, black basalt;
Red lips parted and brooding eyes—
Woman of mystery, whose fault
That a black hand spreads your heavy thighs?
Only the carven marble cats
Frozen along the winding frieze,
Only the silent night-winged bats
Know who has lain between your knees.
What were the heights to which you rose?
What were the deeps to which you sank?
What slaves shuddered beneath your blows?
Deep of your charms what masters drank?
Sated deep of your tribe and blood,
Desire again rose up like a wave,
Coursing your veins in a burning flood
At the smooth round limbs of the great black slave.
One more mystery to attain,
One more sensual depth to explore;
Nights of fierce and exalted pain
Racking the soul to its burning core.
White form lapped by the great black arms,
Pleas that are meant to be in vain,
Fingers ravishing secret charms,
Shrill sharp cries of ecstatic pain.
Silver stars in the blue cobalt.
Aura’d lust of a leering god;
Ivory mingling with black basalt,
White legs spread to a stiff black rod.