Love Brown And Bitter

A poem by Edward Powys Mathers

You know so well how to stay me with vapours
Distilled expertly to that unworthy end;
You know the poses of your body I love best
And that I am cheerful with your head on my breast,
You know you please me by disliking one friend;
You read up what amuses me in the papers.

Who knows me knows I am not of those fools
That gets tired of a woman who is kind to them,
Yet you know not how stifled you render me
By learning me so well, how I long to see
An unpractised girl under your clever phlegm,
A soul not so letter-perfect in the rules.

From the Arabic of John Duncan.

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