The tempting fruit that hung above you


I can never remake the thing I have destroyed;
I brushed the golden dust from the moth’s bright wing,
I called down wind to shatter the cherry-blossoms,
I did a terrible thing.

I feared that the cup might fall, so I flung it from me;
I feared that the bird might fly, so I set it free;
I feared that the dam might break, so I loosed the river:
May its waters cover me.

(Aline Murray Kilmer, in Vigils, 1921)

To Sappho, About Her Apple

THE highest apple swinging in the treetop
Fell in my two hands, eagerly uplifted.
For though I knew its height was half its fairness,
Still I would have it.

Now I am wise with centuries of wisdom.
I lift my voice to give your ashes comfort:
Sappho, the tempting fruit that hung above you
Was hard and bitter.

(Aline Murray Kilmer, in Vigils, 1921)


“Your fires are false, they tell me. So?
I knew it long and long ago.
“But I choose false ones for my play
They are the safer any day.
“And if I burn my hands a bit,
Why, who will ever know of it?”
All this I said when I was proud
Under my breath, almost aloud.

Then I plunged boldly in and played:
By my own fires I am betrayed.

(Aline Murray Kilmer, in Poetry Magazine, October 1922)


All that I had of wings
And they were not large nor bright
I broke against the harshness of your grieving,
Night after night.

All that I had of song
It was weak and low, I fear
Was sung to ease the ache of your own sorrow.
But you would not hear.

All that I had of tears
And my tears were warm and blest
Were shed to make your agony less lonely,
Upon your breast.

All that I asked to share
Was the pain that you would not show.
Now I have given you all that I had to give you,
Will you let me go?

(Aline Murray Kilmer, in Poetry Magazine, October 1922)


Indifference may snare me, but only devotion can hold me.
Where is the net you spread in hope that its meshes might
fold me?
Like a shadow I slipped through aweb too slight to bind
Now, free and wise, I cast the last frail threads on the
wind behind me.

(Aline Murray Kilmer, in Poetry Magazine, October 1922)

Alexei Antonov, The broken pomegranate, 1997

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  1. Thank you for sharing these! I’ve never read her, but I like these poems very much.



  2. These poems are stunning! I love ‘Ignis Fatuus’ – thank you very much for this!



    1. I am glad you enjoyed them! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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