Love In Wartime

When the incendiaries lit the sky
A face smiled its divine calligraphy:
It was Helen crowned with Troy's debris.

Her unmatchable mouth in the roof
Of blood moved in speech like the home of love,
Hanging its moon of reproof:

'My kiss blots history out.
My landslide legend has forgotten
A thousand thousand bones rotting;

'Under the guilty sea
The ships lie; but accuracy
Has been seduced by me.'

Her smile sailed indiscriminately
Among the squadrons of death majestically
And was reflected on the sea.

'The armless Venus carried Pompei's tears
Better than the raided years
Or the cold dances of chameleon stars.'

Then faded. But the rain
Like lovers' seeds that fall in vain,
Warned me of my sin.

(from Poems, 1938-1948)

Back to Elizabeth Smart.

ArtemisWorks 1997