Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear; And once that seemed too much; I lived on air
That crossed me from sweet things, The flow of — was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Downhill at dusk?
I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they’re gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.
I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young; The petal of the rose
It was that stung.
Now no joy but lacks salt, That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault; I crave the stain
Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love, The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.
When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,
The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.