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






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