The Flesh

The Flesh

The flesh is never as naked
                  as the mind that revels
in the truth of its dear dreams
                  The breasts the lips
the bashful face
                  the snowy cheeks
the hollow of her back
                  her thighs her feet
and all the secret places
                  I have kissed
will one day mingle
                  in the dust of all our dust
but the honesties of love
                  braver than the dying rose
will outlive our wasted lives

The flesh that every bone
                  does hide will be revealed
as barren ash that all too quick
                  is turned back into soil
as time delights in turning
                  all that moves and breathes
and feels into its spoil

But the flesh is never as naked
                  as the soul
the matter that will
                  outlast the form :
so gather while you may
                  rich parcels of affection
shore up your heart
                  against the vagaries of mood
and foul distemper
                  celebrate the warmth of words
that bring joy and comfort
                  to your wintry days
The blossom that soon falls
                  should not take pride of place
over the thorny bush
                  that will rise again
when spring returns

John Lyons


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