How can so many ripening fruit fit
Into a memory so frail?
Where might the soft’ning edges gently sit
That no dread indistinction dare impale?
How many sections of this painted skin
Might pierce and peel away, and bleed?
Before the gath’ring flies betray the sin
And pestilence, not nourishment, will breed?
Oh flesh, you give, you warp and bruise, you split!
Hide not the confiture within!
Offending vermin too we must remit,
Your garments are so maddeningly thin!
Your sweetness overwhelms the earthly veil
Inspiring elemental greed.
To know your flavor sense itself does flail
And to the beastly virtues will accede.
Yet ravaging does not preserve the seed
Which finds no mother in the dale.
The passions of the animal exceed,
And innocence — abandoned for the grail.
And when that ale is trickling down your chin,
The flames beneath your heart so lit,
Awaken in your members such a din
To Dionysus only you submit.
Such freedom, only madness would impede
To guard against blessèd chagrin.
With holy ordinance the fool would plead.
Sobriety, damnation so akin!
In wisdom would you readily inhale
The nectar, and discard the pit.
Into a memory so very frail,
How do so many ripening fruit fit?