This is the Female Form

Venus with a Mirror, Titian circa 1555

Venus with a Mirror, Titian circa 1555

This is the female form,
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot,
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction,
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but
myself and it,
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth, and what was expected of
heaven or fear’d of hell, are now consumed,
Mad filaments, ungovernable
shoots play out of it, the response likewise
ungovernable,
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands all diffused, mine too diffused,
Ebb stung by the flow and flow stung by the ebb, love-flesh swelling and deliciously,
aching,
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love, white-blow
and delirious juice,
Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn,
Undulating into the willing and yielding day,
Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh’d day.

This is the nucleus—after the child is born of woman, the man is born of woman;
This is the bath of birth—this is the merge of small and large, and the outlet again.

Be not ashamed, women—your privilege encloses the rest, and is the exit of the rest;
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul.

– Walt Whitman

Excerpt from I Sing the Body Electric – 1855

Read the full poem here.

Venus at a Mirror, Rubens circa 1615

Venus at a Mirror, Rubens circa 1615