A Virginal - Ezra Pound

No, no! Go from me. I have left her lately.
I will not spoil my sheath with lesser brightness,
For my surrounding air hath a new lightness;
Slight are her arms, yet they have bound me straitly
And left me cloaked as with a gauze of aether;
As with sweet leaves; as with subtle clearness.
Oh, I have picked up magic in her nearness
To sheathe me half in half the things that sheathe her.
No, no! Go from me. I have still the flavour,
Soft as spring wind that's come from birchen bowers.
Green come the shoots, aye April in the branches,
As winter's wound with her sleight hand she staunches,
Hath of the trees a likeness of the savour:
As white their bark, so white this lady's hours.

The meaning of the poem is still vague after the first reading, mainly because the poem is written in an older form of modern English. However, the general concept of love being central in this poem can still be ascertained. The poems' rhyme is unique because the poem appears to be an Elizabethan sonnet, but the rhyme scheme is atypical. For the first four couplets it follows an A-B-B-A pattern but final three couplets seem to be rhyming pairs. The poem is laced with all kind of vehicles and metaphors; one example of a vehicle is the sheath, the tenor of which is a phallus that the narrator refuses to "use" with anyone except her. Having "left her lately" is a metaphor for sleeping with this woman.

After this experience, the narrator sees the world in a different, clearer light, and is completely entranced by this women's charm as they are under her spell. The old cliches of flowers smelling sweeter and one's mind being clearer when in love are also mentioned. Based on the title, it seems as if this is narrator's first sexual encounter with a woman, and cannot help but be estatic about it. They use metaphors such as "have still the flavour" to say that the narrator still vividly remember the moment. Having sex is as "soft as spring wind", gentle yet pleasing. The whole experience is so marvelous that it serves as a cure-all, "winter's wound with her sleight hand she staunches," solving all his problems. The whiteness of the lady's hours refers to how wonderful it is to spend time with her; the white represents all that is holy and good, while hours represents their valuable time spent together.

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