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Feasts of Fire and Air Poetry by Virginia Stewart
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Secret Night
(to Xara)

I have gone out from the Temple of Jasmine
to seek after the fair daughter of Ishtar,
the lithe one who floats above the sea of ebony.

She was the water flowing over stones of beryl and emerald,
dancing in the moss,
singing myrrh trees into blooming,
and they showered crimson blossoms,
that drifted away into her green shadows.

I gazed up into her eyes,
and tides of lapis lazuli poured over me like milk,
and I was reft away, trembling.

I am the white doe caught in thorns of ivory,
scattering kisses upon the vines
gazing with frightened eyes
upon the rapturous hunter with the silver bow.

She burned me with a cool and gentle touch
until I turned and breathed upon her skin
and fire raced upon the hills.

She held out white arms,
and I worshiped at the shrine of summer
in the cool shade beneath the murmuring willows.

There was a bed of silver and scarlet silk,
perfumed with musk and roses.

I lay my head down upon her pillows
and dreamed of fevered kisses in waterfalls of brilliant light
that streamed out of the unknown primordial garden.

I suckled at the breasts of the daughter of Ishtar,
and rivers of liquid fire filled my mouth,
so that I gasped and could not breathe.

And my breath was an offering to the embers of her crying.

Then I sank my teeth into the throat of Night,
and drank the stars.

I was the butterfly with wings of amethyst
that brushed the blooms of hyacinths waving in the winds of change.

She was a queen enthroned in a palace of velvet,
and she has run out from the halls
and heeds not the cries of the King.

For She has gone into the green wood
to dance in a clearing of purple glass and blue clouds,
Goddess of Gold Twilight,
what shall we to do with day,
when the breezes are cool in the evening,
and the king dines with the court.

I would set water lilies at your feet,
and fill the lamps with jade caresses.

When I find you in deep clear pools at forest's heart
and reach out to you with shaking hands
to stroke the shivering drops of moonlight from your jeweled breasts.

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