By Elinor Wylie
Too high, too high to pluck
My heart shall swing.
A fruit no bee shall suck,
No wasp shall sting.
If on some night of cold
It falls to ground
In apple-leaves of gold
I’ll wrap it round.
And I shall seal it up
With spice and salt,
In a carven silver cup,
In a deep vault.
Before my eyes are blind
And my lips mute,
I must eat core and rind
Of that same fruit.
Before my heart is dust
At the end of all,
Eat it I must, I must
Were it bitter gall.
But I shall keep it sweet
By some strange art;
Wild honey I shall eat
When I eat my heart.
O honey cool and chaste
As clover’s breath!
Sweet Heaven I shall taste
Before my death.
Source: Nets to Catch the Wind (1921)
Elinor Wylie was born in Somerville, New Jersey to a prominent family, including a grandfather who was the governor of Pennsylvania and a father who was the Solicitor General. Through her early efforts she achieved some status in literary circles, and in 1921 published a volume of poetry that brought her fame. She published novels and poetry prodigiously until her death seven years later. Her poems find their influence in 16th and 17th century verse, combining a moderate tone with formal verse structures.
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