All That Love Asks

     “All that I ask,” says Love, “is just to stand 
     And gaze, unchided, deep in thy dear eyes; 
     For in their depths lies largest Paradise. 
Yet, if perchance one pressure of thy hand 
     Be granted me, then joy I thought complete 
            Were still more sweet. 

     “All that I ask,” says Love, “all that I ask, 
     Is just thy hand-clasp.    Could I brush thy cheek 
     As zephyrs brush a rose leaf, words are weak 
To tell the bliss in which my soul would bask. 
     There is no language but would desecrate 
            A joy so great. 

     “All that I ask, is just one tender touch 
     Of that soft cheek.    Thy pulsing palm in mine, 
     Thy dark eyes lifted in a trust divine, 
And those curled lips that tempt me overmuch 
     Turned where I may not seize the supreme bliss 
            Of one mad kiss. 

     “All that I ask,” says Love, “of life, of death, 
     Or of high heaven itself, is just to stand, 
     Glance melting into glance, hand twined in hand, 
The while I drink the nectar of thy breath 
     In one sweet kiss, but one, of all thy store, 
            I ask no more.” 

     “All that I ask”–nay, self-deceiving Love, 
     Reverse thy phrase, so thus the words may fall, 
     In place of “all I ask,” say, “I ask all,” 
All that pertains to earth or soars above, 
     All that thou wert, art, will be, body, soul, 
            Love asks the whole,

       – Ella Wheeler Wilcox


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