Light to his Lips


by “Jan Struther”
(Joyce Maxtone Graham, 1901-1953)

BY the red furnace stands
Apollo mute,
Holding in upraised hands
His iron flute.
Slowly from back and brow
The bright sweat drips;
He sets the clarion now
Light to his lips,
And ever, as he blows,
Without a sound
His molten music flows,
Golden and round. Never from herald’s breath
In brazen horn,
Telling of strife and death
Or of peace new-born;
From silver clarinet
By fingers small
To lips of ruby set
In raftered hall;
From jilted shepherd’s reed
Plaintively proving
How he in very deed
Must die of loving–
Never from all these came
A music sweeter
Than this bright sphere of flame
With neither sound nor name,
Cadence nor metre,
That steadily, as he blows
On his iron flute,
Trembles and swells and glows,
Gold-amber, amber-rose,
In melody mute.

Without the poem’s title (well, and the photos!), would you have guessed that it was about someone blowing glass?

(Thanks to Jane Mosse for sending me this poem. Images come from and

About seductivevenice

Teacher, writer, traveler, dancer, reader, photographer, gardener.
This entry was posted in Italian heritage, Venice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Light to his Lips

  1. Nancy says:

    Lovely poem. The imagery is so rich and surprisingly sexy.

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