Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Spring to the Earth-Witch
By Constance Lindsay Skinner
 
Pai-iya to Swi-ya Kwenewesals

  MY eyes I will not cover!
I am Pai-iya, stepping free on the goat-hills behind thy village.
Blue shadows and white mists, like flowers,
Lie deep in thy green forests.
Night lingers in thy hair;        5
Pools of starred dusk are thine eyes.
Thy speech is gray fog, impenetrable,
Shrouding the port of the crimson lure—
(The ships of the trusting one are broken).
Oh, flower-red is thy girdle at morning and evening!        10
If it were loosened there would be a race of men,
And thou the harbor of a thousand wondering ships.
I have lifted dawn before me as a shield,
Swi-ya Kwen-e-we-sals!
 
  The Raven pecks beside thy door;        15
On thy roof the Thunder-Bird claps his wings;
Thy smile darkles across the skies.
Thy smile is death—
My heart is the riven sea beneath.
If thy scarlet girdle were unknotted would it stem the sea of my wound?        20
Nay! Call not me with the wind blowing through thy garments!
I have bound the mountains to my feet,
Swi-ya Kwen-e-we-sals!
 
  Last night I saw winged stars in flight
Circling o’er thy dwelling.        25
They swung at rest on the points of the shore pine—
Torches red-spanning the bay.
My wolves, at my call,
In long gray troops fled up from the forest.
They sphered in guard about me—sleeping on my shield poised on the four world-crags—        30
As darkened silver cloud-mists wind about the moon.
I have shepherded them into the canyon between us—
(But my eyes I will not cover!)
Wilt thou come, daring, among my fanged flocks,
Swi-ya Kwen-e-we-sals?        35
 
  What is this warmth stealing to my height
Like footsteps of a strange desire?
Wave on wave of pink and gold breaks over the white;
The petals open, chirring,
As if they were feathers on the Song-bird’s swelling throat.        40
My wolves, with heads hanging and fangs covered, slowly moving, moving,
Huddle in the valley like sky-shadows before rain.
Whose steps flow and ripple over the dark moss,
Parting the green walls of cedars,
Blossoming among my mating flocks?        45
Whence this unraveling of flame blown loose across the air?
 
  My eyes I will not cover!
I have woven thongs of the mountain mists
And bound me to the morning star.
Between the cliffs of Night and Day, thou emergest!—        50
Thy sod-brown bosom, the mystical craving eyes above;
The yearning fragrance of thy closed hands,
The wild winds between thy feet,
And the rivers under thy girdle!
I have cast down the great shield of the dawn!        55
Come, redden its rim with me,
Swi-ya Kwen-e-we-sals!
 
 
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