Robert Graves




Ruby and Amethyst

Two women: one as good as bread,
           Bound to a sturdy husband.
Two women: one as rare as myrrh,
           Bound only to herself.

Two women: one as good as bread,
           Faithful to every promise.
Two women: one as rare as myrrh,
           Who never pledges faith.

The one a flawless ruby wears
           But with such innocent pleasure
A stranger’s eye might think it glass
           And take no closer look.

Two women: one as good as bread,
           The noblest of the city.
Two women: one as rare as myrrh,
           Who needs no public praise.

The pale rose-amethyst on her breast
           Has such a garden in it
Your eye could trespass there for hours,
           And wonder, and be lost.

About her head a swallow wheels
           Nor ever breaks the circuit:
Glory and awe of womanhood
           Still undeclared to man.