new zealand electronic poetry centre

Lola Ridge

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“All yellow and blond and bare !
With her shining eye-balls lit,
But why does she stare and sit?
I – dizzy and dazed and blind,
Half-mazed in her trailing hair,
Think – why does she crouch up there,
A mask with a light behind?”

“With a grin on her faded face,
Like a painted bawd she leers,
And gibbers and gibes and jeers
At me, as I writhe in vain,
And tear at the flimsy lace,
The web of a goblin trace
That she swathes about my brain!”

“I catch through her skirts a-whirl
The flash of a gleaming limb,
As she leans on the mountain rim,
Her pale cheek pressed to the sky;
The starred skies eddy and swirl,
As I clutch at the white faced girl
That drifts like a vapour by.”

“She holds, as she sits aloof,
Me chained in her golden ring,
Like a dazed and helpless thing;
And casts from her glist’ning shoal
The net of her woven woof
Spread over the great sky roof,
And meshes and coils my soul.”

“I know that her foils are set,
By the goblin grin she wears!
She’s baited her golden snares
With a glittering opal bowl –
‘Drink, and forget! forget!’
But I strain at the strong white net
With its strands about my soul.”

“And her eye-beams flash and leap –
They are quick – they are living things!
And each to my forehead clings,
Till the drawn veins burst and bleed;
In my brain they have entered deep
To foster and crawl and creep,
And burrow and gorge and feed!”

She came through the opening stars,
And gazed on his face upturned
Till her pale eye blazed and burned
And shone with an evil glow;
She passed through the closing stars –
A soul in her strong white bars,
And a mindless hulk below.



‘Moonstruck,’ NZ Illustrated Magazine 8.10 (Jan 1904): 271. Lola Ridge.
See also Verses 1905: 24-25.

Last updated 30 May, 2013