Karl Shapiro

The Back

One of the foremost organs of beauty
Especially in women, spaceful and pure
A sky of skin uninterrupted
By mountain-tops and grots
Swamps, fens, rocks, trees
And serpents in gardens: the back.

A roseate fragrance endews it
It gleams like an Australian moon
And is no moor of thatch and thorn
But a mile wide river of veldt
Mile-wide and fraction-deep like the Platte
Where no man lives, a lone terrain,
And luxuriates in itself
And is the very mirage of beauty
To which even whispering is audibly loud
And there are no antries.

On this small platonic continent
Let love graze.