Dirty Mondays: “Aphrodite” by John Hall Wheelock

It’s a cold, wet day in London today, and John Hall Wheelock’s poem of the snow-cold sea, the dawn-light and the wind seems to let a little brightness in, despite its insistence on stillness and seaweed. Happy Monday.


Dark-eyed, out of the snow-cold sea you came,
The young blood under the cheek like dawn-light showing,
Stray tendrils of dark hair in the sea-wind blowing,
Comely and grave, out of the sea you came.

Slim covered thigh and slender stockinged foot
In swift strides over the burnished shingle swinging,
Sweet silence of your smile, soft sea-weed clinging,
Here and there, to the wet bathing-suit.

O fierce and shy, your glance so piercing-true
Shot fire to the struck heart that was as tinder—
The fire of your still loveliness, the tender
High fortitude of the spirit shining through.

And the world was young. O love and song and fame
Were part of youth’s still ever believed-in story,
And hope crowned all, when in dear and in queenly glory,
Out of the snow-cold sea to me you came.

John Hall Wheelock (September 9, 1886-March 22, 1978)

Photograph by Russell Davies, used under Creative Commons.

Posted April 27, 2009 by . Comments Off on Dirty Mondays: “Aphrodite” by John Hall Wheelock

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