Any Man to Any Woman: Edith Sitwell

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Serenade, Any Man to Any Woman.

Dark angel who art clear and straight
as canon shining in the air,
your blackness doth invade my mind
and thunderous as the armoured wind
that rained on Europe is your hair,
And so I love you till I die
(unfaithful I, the canon’s mate)
Forgive my love of such brief span,
But fickle is the flesh of man,
and death’s cold puts the passion out.

I’ll woo you with a serenade –
The wolfish howls the starving made,
And lies shall be your canopy
To shield you from the freezing sky.

Yet when I clasp you in my arms –
who are my sleep, the zero hour
that clothes instead of flesh my heart,
you in my heaven have no part,
for you my mirage broken in flower,

can never see what dead men know !
Then die with me and be my love :
The grave shall be your shady grove
and in your pleasaunce rivers flow
(to ripen this new paradise)
from a more universal flood
than Noah knew: But yours is blood,

Yet still you will imperfect me
that in my heart the death’s chill grows,
a rainbow shining in the night,
born of my tears … your lips, the bright
summer-old folly of the rose.

Edith Sitwell 1941