The Woman on the Sea

I saw a regal, noble feathery thing
stood naked overclouded with phantom gossameres
The Woman on the sea in mist—
Her eyes were wondrous strange
Her lips were black, her looks were free flecked with grace
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Night-Mare was she with vast archangel wings
all a-flame with clouds of secret wonderment
and pale memories of Life in all imaginations;
and, as Moon on the exiled waters of Time,
she first threw that spell by her lamp gleamed white
of bliss or woe was cursed:
for in Nature lurks the secret of the spell unknown;
and, if through the dungeon-grate of night
as she is casting dice,
far-heard whisper, ascended o’er the sea:
“Bethink thee, weary ghost, my name
— a spectre water-sprite —
LIFE-IN-DEATH-SUBLIME
and fly.”