Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
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T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
 
A Saint’s Damnation
By Aleister Crowley (1875–1947)
 
(From The Soul of Osiris, 1901)

YOU buy my spirit with those shameless eyes
  That burn my soul, you loose the torrent stream
Of my desire, you make my lips your prize,
 
And on them burns the whole life’s hope: you deem
  You buy a heart; but I am well aware        5
How my damnation dwells in that supreme
 
Passion to feed upon your shoulders bare,
  And pass the dewy twilight of our sin
In the intolerable flames of hair
 
That clothe my body from your head; you win        10
  The devil’s bargain; I am yours to kill,
Yours, for one kiss; my spirit for your skin!
 
O bitter love, consuming all my will!
  O love destroying, that hast drained my life
Of all those fountains of dear blood that fill        15
 
My heart! O woman, would I call you wife?
  Would I content you with one touch divine
To flood your spirit with the clinging strife
 
Of perfect passionate joy, the joy of wine,
  The drunkenness of extreme pleasure, filled        20
From sin’s amazing cup. Oh, mine, mine, mine,
 
Mine, if your kisses maddened me or killed,
  Mine, at the price of my damnation deep,
Mine, if you will, as once your glances willed!
 
Take me, or break me, slay or soothe to sleep,        25
  If only yours one hour, one perfect hour,
Remembrance and despair and hope to steep.
 
In the infernal potion of that flower,
  My poisonous passion for your blood! Behold!
How utterly I yield, how gladly dower.        30
 
Our sin with my own spirit’s quenched gold,
  Clothe love with my own soul’s immortal power,
Give thee my body as a fire to hold—
  O love, no words, no songs—your breast my bower!
 
 
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