THE ART OF LOVE
My dear, your hair was perfect:
delicate to touch;
one feared to braid it -- it was as fine as silk,
finer than silks that dark-skinned girls from Asia
wear at a feast,
and fragile as the spider's silver thread,
its colors dazzles, neither black nor gold,
of that rare light,
that breaks through shadows of a spring-freshed valley,
and of the bark-stripped cedars on the hill.
And never twice the same;
it fell in a hundred ways, in waves, in ripples,
nor comb's teeth tore it --
docile it was, and bright, and never angry,
so girls who dressed your hair never fear it --
nor hairpin scratched their arms --
my girl as gentle as her cheerful hair.
So I have seen her of an early morning,
languid and naked,
serene as sunlight on her purple bed,
her hair in charmed disorder at one shoulder . . .
When loose your tresses lie
By Paul, sixth-century Byzantine poet
And o'er them softly drawn
A neckerchief of lawn
Protects them from men's eyes,
While all in vain my gaze I turn,
My thoughts with longing madly burn.
But when those locks revealed
Send down their stream of gold
And in my hand I hold
Their splendour unconcealed,
No more I feel my heart my own,
A fugitive from reason's throne.