More Songs from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey


 

THE BATHER


 

I SAW him go down to the water to bathe;
He stood naked upon the bank.

His breast was like a white cloud in the heaven, that catches the sun;
It swelled with the sharp joy of the air.

His legs rose with the spring and curve of young birches;
5
The hollow of his back caught the blue shadows:

With his head thrown up to the lips of the wind;
And the curls of his forehead astir with the wind.

I would that I were a man, they are so beautiful;
Their bodies are like the bows of the Indians;
10
They have the spring and the grace of bows of hickory.

I know that women are beautiful, and that I am beautiful;
But the beauty of a man is so lithe and alive and triumphant,
Swift as the flight of a swallow and sure as the pounce of the eagle.