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In the winter when the trees were bare
And the views across the river, clear,
She came to me from southern places,
Redolent of lavender and bright,
Italian lemon groves,
And Ancient Grecian ancestors,
Or Mycenaen priestesses,
Offering me handfuls of her,
Round, warm fruit tipped with blossom,
That hardened to cherry-stones,
In my mouth.
To grant me liberty,
She made herself a hostage,
And bound herself to make me free.
The pillars of her bed were olive trees
And vine leaves dappled shadows on her skin.
Between the milky moons she proffered me,
Lay all the ancient history of love.
She had the gift to heal a wounded tiger
With kisses gentle as a dove.
- Andrew Nicoll