W. Dennis Hinde

To a Geisha (1937)

How memorable is that
of the bland heathen
at which I bowed
before bed!

You smiled, I remember, and
I know not what of beautiful,
reminding me, O goldenly!
with round, red-blossomed
whispering lips
and smooth, smooth skin,
of a tree,
my monkey-slip!

At which, O all your sweet,
sweet face
up-dawned with surprise,
and lo! the light of laughter
broke out of your eyes.

How puzzled you grew,
my Yokohama chit,
laughing pert and light,
from outside in the dead
drowse of the cool, mooned
woke discord, by chance, and
and noise of busy work
that was to last the whole night
till the cocks should crow:

A tawny wail of youths
and noise of their thudding
as they husked hard barley
out there in the cool, cool

How dear dare I hold you?—
I shall never quit you,
nor this quiet rural inn
of the fragrant persimmons:
not for the Son of Heaven,
no, not for all the Emperors in

But soft:
see how charméd night
makes of your every movement,
makes every pass of yours
a ritual,
a mystic ritual of love
down-handed from the ages,
we unborn clay were—
wares of porcelain in a
in China,
translucent, pure, beflowered . . .

My yellow cotton flower
with the dark amber eye,
how memorable was that night!

‘To a Geisha’ appeared in Poetry Review 28 (1937), p. 456.

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