Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air
 
That crossed me from sweet things,
The flow of—was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Downhill at dusk?
 
I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they’re gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.
 
I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.
 
Now no joy but lacks salt,
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain
 
Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.
 
When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,
 
The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.

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