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Alan Seeger - The Bayadere

Flaked, drifting clouds hide not the full moon's rays 
More than her beautiful bright limbs were hid 
By the light veils they burned and blushed amid, 
Skilled to provoke in soft, lascivious ways, 
And there was invitation in her voice 
And laughing lips and wonderful dark eyes, 
As though above the gates of Paradise 
Fair verses bade, Be welcome and rejoice! 


O'er rugs where mottled blue and green and red 
Blent in the patterns of the Orient loom, 
Like a bright butterfly from bloom to bloom, 
She floated with delicious arms outspread. 
There was no pose she took, no move she made, 
But all the feverous, love-envenomed flesh 
Wrapped round as in the gladiator's mesh 
And smote as with his triple-forked blade. 


I thought that round her sinuous beauty curled 
Fierce exhalations of hot human love, -- 
Around her beauty valuable above 
The sunny outspread kingdoms of the world; 
Flowing as ever like a dancing fire 
Flowed her belled ankles and bejewelled wrists, 
Around her beauty swept like sanguine mists 
The nimbus of a thousand hearts' desire. 

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Poet: Alan Seeger
Poem: The Bayadere
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