LIBIDO

How should I know? The enormous wheels of will
   Drove me cold-eyed on tired and sleepless feet.
Night was void arms and you a phantom still,
   And day your far light swaying down the street.
As never fool for love, I starved for you;
   My throat was dry and my eyes hot to see.
Your mouth so lying was most heaven in view,
   And your remembered smell most agony.

Love wakens love! I felt your hot wrist shiver
   And suddenly the mad victory I planned
   Flashed real, in your burning bending head…
My conqueror’s blood was cool as a deep river
   In shadow; and my heart beneath your hand
   Quieter than a dead man on a bed.

  — Rupert Brooke (1887 – 1915), English poet.

SAN FRANCISCO NIGHT WINDOWS

So hangs the hour like fruit fullblown and sweet,
Our strict and desperate avatar,
Despite that antique westward gulls lament
Over enormous waters which retreat
Weary unto the white and sensual star.
Accept these images for what they are–
Out of the past a fragile element
Of substance into accident.
I would speak honestly and of a full heart;
I would speak surely for the tale is short,
And the soul’s remorseless catalogue
Assumes its quick and piteous sum.
Think you, hungry is the city in the fog
Where now the darkened piles resume
Their framed and frozen prayer
Articulate and shafted in the stone
Against the void and absolute air.
If so the frantic breath could be forgiven,
And the deep blood subdued before it is gone
In a savage paternoster to the stone,
Then might we all be shriven.

  — Robert Penn Warren (1905 – 1989), American Poet Laureate