A Lover Bows Down Before His Mistress

When, at the setting of the autumn sun,
you walk beneath the porticoes,
in your crimson trousers
and saffron blouse,
from behind you look like a barque
forced by the inexorable North Wind
into the open sea,
while the backward surge of the waves
urges you back to shore!
And your entire body
becomes a ship sailing the Aegean,
between Andros, Tenos, Mykonos
and Delos!

When you arrive
at white Delos,
with precious stones on your fingers
and a gold diadem
in your shining hair
that distils musk and jasmine,
I am so astonished by your beauty
that I sink to my knees
in the middle of the street,
down on the hard earth,
so that I can worship you,
just as befits a Goddess,
the tutelary Goddess of Delos,

And the crowd of the Faithful
bow down before you,
because you are a masterpiece of beauty,
yes, you are the very image of Artemis,
as dreamt by artists
the painters and the sculptors above all,
for you are a living statue
of Diana the Huntress,
or perhaps you are
a statue of Aphrodite-Venus,
such as they worship on Cythera!

And so, trailing at your heels,
I feel your beauty
flow in me,
so amply and so delightfully that once recovered
from my ecstasy,
I still hold your image in my mind
and when Iím home
find sleep has deserted me!

Ah! Why must
you have such an
extraordinary body?
And why must you
show it to such advantage
in its grace
and vigour,
by wearing that pretty blouse
embroidered with golden swans
and those close-fitting trousers
reflected in the setting sun?

O you who have no respect
for the proprieties
or the social taboos,
pierce me through and through
with that little dagger
inlayed with mother-of pearl
that you wear in your belt,
so that, in my defeat at your hands,
I can finally love you!