SUMMER set lip to earth’s bosom bare,
And left the flush’d print in a poppy there;
Like a yawn of fire from the grass it came,
And the fanning wind puff’d it to flapping flame.
With burnt mouth red like a lion’s it drank
The blood of the sun as he slaughter’d sank,
And dipp’d its cup in the purpurate shine
When the eastern conduits ran with wine.
Till it grew lethargied with fierce bliss,
And hot as a swinkèd gipsy is,
And drowsed in sleepy savageries,
With mouth wide a-pout for a sultry kiss.
– Francis Thompson. 1859–1907
I just have to comment on this poem… my God. The words and phrases, and rhythms of the words and phrases, are enough to get me hot. And what does purpurate mean? Or swinkèd? I had to look these up…
Purpurate is a salt of purpuric acid. Purpurates, apparently, are all distinguished by their splendid purple colour; many are gold-green by reflected light. And not to geek out on you, but purpuric acid is a nitrogenous acid related to barbituric acid that (in short) is known especially in purple-red salts from which it is obtained as an orange-red powder.
Which leads me to the swinkèd gypsy… what a phrase. Makes me want to listen to some Balkan Gypsy folk music or Fishtank Ensemble… Swinkèd with the accent is hard to find, but without means Wearied with toil; overworked. From God Knows What. I imagine from sultry kisses, bare bosoms and sleepy savagries. Oh to have this way with words.
“Bad people don’t sing.”
– Gypsy Proverb