The Seventh Veil

By George Sterling

Life, in a burst of music mad with bliss,
Ran dancing from the shadows where she slept,
And like the sunlight on wild water leapt—
Careless of Time and his betraying kiss.
And one by one her gleaming veils unwound,
Until she whirled untrammeled in her grace,
With light alone on bosom and on face
And thighs uplifting to the viols' sound.

Till at the last, mysteriously pale,
She loosed her forehead of the seventh veil
And all the nimbus of her hair sprang free;
Whereat the music faltered, and in awe,
Full on that enigmatic brow we saw,
Moon-white, the eternal brand of leprosy.

~George Sterling, The Nation, Nov 3rd 1926

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