My hero bares his nerves along my wrist That rules from wrist to shoulder, Unpacks the head that, like a sleepy ghost, Leans on my mortal ruler, The proud spine spurning turn and twist. And these poor nerves so wired to the skull Ache on the lovelorn paper I hug to love with my unruly scrawl That utters all love hunger And tells the page the empty ill. My hero bares my side and sees his heart Tread, like a naked Venus, The beach of flesh, and wind her bloodred plait; Stripping my loin of promise, He promises a secret heat. He holds the wire from the box of nerves Praising the mortal error Of birth and death, the two sad knaves of thieves, And the hunger's emperor; He pulls the chain, the cistern moves.
From Selected Poems by Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 2003 by New Directions Publishing Corp. Reprinted by permission of New Directions. All rights reserved.