The Painter’s Mistress

And still you paint, and still I stand
White and erect, the classic pose,
And still, a soft-winged bee, your hand
Moves comrade of a glance that flows
Over my body like love’s tide :
And still the pale noon-shadows glide.

And still I hear each sound that falls,
The wood that starts in the sun’s heat,
The mouse astir among the walls,
While down the summer-smitten street
A cart rolls lonely on : the hush
Tightens : I hear the flickering brush.

So with sweet pain for hour on hour
I to your dark and roving eyes
Abandon more than Love had power
To offer, in Love’s mysteries:
You see me with the deeper sight,
Veiled in faint air and gemmed with light.

So shall the gaze of the soul-deep lover
Guide where the sunray darts and swims
Down from the shoulders : still discover
The rose and iris of these limbs,
Low flames that haunt the curve and fold
And in dark hollow tresses, gold.

James Elroy Flecker


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