I APPROACH Thy Altar.... Stay! Let me break away! Level stones of marble, brazen lights, Linen spread, flowers on the shelves and heights— I bow down, I kneel ... And far away, where the sun sets, would reel! For from forth Thy altar Thou Strikest on me now, Strikest on me, firm and warm to thrill, With the charm of one whose touch could kill; Giving me desire Toward substance, yet for flight the lightning’s fire. So, if close a lover kneels, Praying close, one feels All the body’s flow of life reined tight, As when waters struggle at their height; From Thy altar-stone, Thou in my body bodily art known. And I fear Thee worse than death, As we fear Love’s breath: Thou art as a tiger round a camp; And I kindle, terrified, my lamp, Since I cannot fly, But to hold Thee distant, lest I die. Thou art God, and in the mesh, Close to me, of flesh; And we love and we have been in range Of wild secrecies of interchange: Could I bear Thee near I should be humble to Thee—but I fear!
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- Library of Alexandria
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