Alfred Edgar Coppard: The two Nude Virgins

Today I present a mysterious poem from Hips & haws. The poet does not dare to go into the moonlight, fearing some unspecified “infinite thing” that could “enwrap” him. The title mentions two virgins, but the text tells only about one, Diana, the virgin goddess of of the hunt, the moon, and nature in Roman mythology. There seem to be hidden things or people, Diana “cannot hear them though she stands whitely among them,” and “she has no fear.”

Noctivagant – from

The two Nude Virgins

NO . . . . . .
I will not go into the moonlight
Lest some infinite thing enwrap me;
I will not move beyond the threshold,
I will wait in the calm shadow of the door,
And hear the sweet air
Using the oleanders
And with love.

Diana cannot hear them
Though she stands whitely among them,
Most white of all things,
Beside the dark urn.
She is covered with dew,
Her arm is shrouding her breasts
From the ardour of the moon.
She is lovely,
And she has no fear—
Being hunched in stone.
Shall I go out to her . . . . . .?
I would take her into my arms.
Shall I just go
And cool my palms in the urn
And put them on my brow?

I will not go,
I will wait in the calm shadow of the door.

Perhaps . . . . . .

Arthur Bowen Davies – Morning Glories (ca. 1911) – from

Source: Hips & haws, Poems by A. E. Coppard, The Golden Cockerel Press (1922). The poem has been reproduced on Frank T. Zumbachs Mysterious World.


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