by Irving Layton
Wanting for their young limbs praise,
Their thighs, hips, and saintly breasts,
They grow from awkwardness to delight,
Their mouths made perfect with the air
About them and the sweet rage in the blood,
The delicate trouble in their veins.
Intolerant as happiness, suddenly
They'll dart like bewildered birds;
For there's no mercy in that bugler Time
That excites against their virginity
The massed infantry of days, nor in the tendrils
Greening on their enchanted battlements.
Golda, Fruma, Dinnie, Elinor,
My saintly wantons, passionate nuns;
O light-footed daughters, your unopened
Brittle beauty troubles an aging man
Who hobbles after you a little way
Fierce and ridiculous.
Last updated May 12, 2023