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 fruit
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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