Two Poems by Pierre Louÿs


The Tomb of the Naïads

I walked through the frost-encrusted wood; my hair blossomed with tiny icicles before my mouth and my sandals were heavy with soiled and caked-up snow.

He said to me: “What do you seek?”–“I follow the tracks of the satyr. His little cleft foot-prints alternate like holes in a snow-white robe.” He said tome: “The satyrs are dead.

“The satyrs, and the nymphs also. For thirty years there has not been so terrible a winter. The tracks you see are those of a goat. But stay here, here is their tomb.”

And with the iron of his hoe he broke the ice of the spring in which the naïads were wont to laugh of yore. He took some of the great frozen chunks, and, raising them to the pale heavens, looked through them.


The Mad Embrace

Love me, not with smiles and flutes or plaited flowers, but with your heart and tears, as I adore you with my bosom and my sobs.

When your breasts alternate with mine, when I feel your very life touching my own, when your knees rise up behind me, my panting mouth no longer even knows the way to yours.

Clasp me as I clasp you! See, the lamp has just gone out, we toss about in the night; but I press your moving body and I hear your ceaseless plaint…

Moan! moan! moan! oh, woman! Eros drags us now in heavy pain. You’ll suffer less upon this bed in bringing forth a child than you’ll agonize in bringing forth your love.

Poems first published in The Songs of Bilitis, 1926. Illustrations by Willy Pogany

About the Author:

Pierre Louÿs (December 10, 1870 – June 6, 1925) was a French poet and writer.