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Lay for the Day
13th January

To commemorate the death in 1599 of Edmund Spenser, poet of The Faerie Queen.

The Centaur to Athene

So undivide my nature,
Merciful goddess of the grey eyes,
That my moiety of wordless creature
Be humanly wise
And my hands full of trust
Though four horny feet stir the dust.

When you walked in thin array
And buds rose pink in the spray-sprigged sheath
Of lawn, and feet that trod the lawn beneath
Moved as light as day,
I hotly wished you’d brave
The rock’s solitary enclave.

The thunder shook in my side
Which lightning flickered, shining like rain.
I should be the storm over fields of grain,
Bridegroom undenied –
Lips wide to bearded lips,
Haunches grappled to milk-white hips.

You came and overcame me,
Most just and gentle, grey-eyed goddess,
Whose skilled fingers in these harsh curls tame me
Even as they bless.
Henceforth men proclaim me
Not for my lust but learnedness.

John Gibbens
from The Promise

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar