If This Be Sin

Can this be sin?
This ecstasy of arms and eyes and lips,
This toying with incomparable hair?
(I close my dazzled eyes, you are so fair!)
This answer caress to fond caress,
This exquisite maternal tenderness?
How could so much of beauty enter in?
If this be sin?

Can it be wrong?
This cry of flesh to flesh, so like a song?
This fusing of two atoms with a kiss,
Hurled to the black and pitiless abyss?

Can it be crime
That we should snatch one happy hour from time –
Time that has naught but death for you and me?
(How soon, O Dearest, shall we cease to be!)
And could one frenzied of love or lust
Augment the final tragedy of dust?

Although we be two sinners burned with bliss,
Kiss me again, that warm round woman’s kiss!
Close up the gates of gold! I go not in –
If this be sin.

John Neihardt


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