A Waft of Perfume

From ImmortalPoetry
Jump to navigationJump to search

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   A waft of perfume from a bit of lace
      Moved lightly by a passing woman’s hand;
   And on the common street, a sensuous grace
      Shone suddenly from some lost time and land.

   Tall structures changed to dome and parapet;
      The stern-faced Church an oracle became;
   In sheltered alcoves marble busts were set;
      And on the wall frail Lais wrote her name.

   Phryne before her judges stood at bay,
      Fearing the rigour of Athenian laws;
   Till Hyperides tore her cloak away,
      And bade her splendid beauty plead its cause.

   Great Alexander walking in the dusk,
      Dreamed of the hour when Greek with Greek should meet;
   From Thais’ window attar breathed, and musk:
      His footsteps went no farther down the street.

   Faint and more faint the pungent perfume grew;
      Of wall and parapet remained no trace.
   Temple and statue vanished from the view:
      The city street again was commonplace.

from An Englishman and Other Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1912)

Add your comment
ImmortalPoetry welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.