At Baia

I should have thought
in dream you would have brought
some lovely perilous thing.
orchids piled high in a great sheath,
as who would say ( in a dream)
I send you this,
who left the blue veins
of your throat unkissed

Why was it that your hands
( that never took mine)
your hands that I could see
drift over the orchid head
so carefully,
your hands, so fragile, sure to lift
so gently, the fragile flower stuff—
ah, ah, how was it

You never sent ( in a dream)
the very form, the very scent,
not heavy, not sensuous,
but perilous— perilous—
of orchids, piled in a great sheath,
and folded underneath on a bright scroll
some word:

Flower sent to flower;
for white hands, the lesser white,
less lovely of flower leaf,

or

Lover to lover, no kiss,
no touch, but forever and ever this.

H. D.
‘At Baia”
‘At Baia’