Slim, trim, svelte, willowy, slight,
Nothing spare, excessive, nothing striving
To burst forth from apparel constraining,
Just firm, controlled, unpampered, lithe limbs.
Deceptive, delicate weakness, pale, frail.
How tightly could I hold you, would fear
To crush and break your fragile form, and still
Commands me to be gentle and to soothe.
No cushioning or padding or upholstery
Will keep me more than depth of skin away
From bone and sinew, life’s blood and life’s warmth.
Glutton I, and parasite, and leech.
And you, poor wasting, motherless creature,
Starveling, craving nourishment and succour
Are smiling silent at my sad delusion
With this vain, helpless, sham entrapment.
Strong, proud, fierce, ardent, wild,
Nothing soft, defenceless, not in you
But in my fond surprise that such a reed
Could break me and then bend me to his will.
First published in Reach