poem index

Poem-a-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 250 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary and audio by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is now distributed via email, web, and social media to 500,000+ readers free of charge and is available for syndication. For more information about how to syndicate Poem-a-Day, contact [email protected]. The series is curated by twelve poets from across the country who have wide-ranging expertise and editorial perspectives. Learn more about our 2018 guest editors and read the poems they curated.

False, but Beautiful

About this Poem 

“False, but Beautiful” was published in Poems (Henry Payot, 1868).

False, but Beautiful

Dark as a demon’s dream is one I love—
In soul—but oh, how beautiful in form!
She glows like Venus throned in joy above,
Or on the crimson couch of Evening warm
Reposing her sweet limbs, her heaving breast
Unveiled to him who lights the golden west!
Ah, me, to be by that soft hand carest,
To feel the twining of that snowy arm,
To drink that sigh with richest love opprest,
To bathe within that sunny sea of smiles,
To wander in that wilderness of wiles
And blissful blandishments—it is to thrill
With subtle poison, and to feel the will
Grow weak in that which all the veins doth fill.
Fair sorceress! I know she spreads a net
The strong, the just, the brave to snare; and yet
My soul cannot, for its own sake, forget
The fascinating glance which flings its chain
Around my quivering heart and throbbing brain,
And binds me to my painful destiny,
As bird, that soars no more on high,
Hangs trembling on the serpent’s doomful eye.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 17, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 17, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.