WATER-LILIES

Unwedded from the world, I stray through trees
To where a pool lies mirrored in the sun
A disk of polished gold that I have won
With labours not unknown to Hercules.

Slender they bathe, all naked as a breeze,
Their nipples hollow and their hair undone,
While from their widespread thighs cool ripples run
To rock the water-lilies round their knees.

Nymphs of the fountains, naiads innocent,
Frail sunbeams who have passed between my arms
So beautiful in your imprisonment,
Fill now my soul with symbols of delight:
Soft voices and soft fingers and soft charms
And the perfume of the lotus in the night.

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