(silently punctuated only by bells
she moves on feet whose slippers I am not worthy to untie
her hands burnished flashing out of blossom sleeves
brazen calves daring in flight upon court steps
an oasis she withdraws when the fire of my thirst rests upon her)

you have filled my cup even as your myrrh daubed wrists
reach me upon the air through my grate
the stone gods are muted at the epiphany of you
their personages are silent upon the wall  
but I am awash again in the dried laughter
of an old man–a man whose face had befriended patience
whose face is but a tarnished mirror of silver
hollowed by faith and postponement

we are not unalike you and I
(though I shiver with humility)
both made to serve powers beyond our ken 
we both don clothes not of our own choosing
the prisons of silk and hairshirt  
cut perhaps from the same cruel bolt
born to paths whose ends like wavering mirages 
darkly visit me in dreams and leave me awakening bathed in doubt 

you draw near your bells announce you
descending dark stairs you suffer me
like a deer pants for water I breathe in cascades
of a deeper sky, a larger world,
of oils, and the youth that swirls about you
your gentle dread allure haunts this gaol
of living ghosts our chains our only applause to offer

upon your tense ankles hover cast lots
upturned runes
your eyes hide sad divinations
drear wroth machinations
in your practiced balance my future wavers
but who has called the song
which dance has been ordered?

my love, my muse
unmarried go I, and chaste
my body undone, before you languorous
opened as a tapestry unraveling
for you my story streams in ragged threads
and ends in matchless bliss
from a grace in a glimpse as simple this:
your hair, the comb of a finer honey,
escaping the corners of your veil

With thanks to Oscar Wilde