United States, (1875-?)
- Where fair Æaeia smiles across the sea
- To olive-crowned Italia, th’ enchantress dwells —
- A woman set about with dreams and spells,
- Weird incantations, charms and mystery.
- Most strangely pale and strangely fair is she —
- Yet deadlier than the hemlock draught her smile,
- Darker than Stygian glooms her subtle guile…
- Drawn by her deep eyes’ spell, across the sea
- The Argive galleys wing, till beached they lie
- Upon the fatal strand. The Greeks beguile
- The hasting hours with revelry and wine
- Within her halls… Eftsoon strange sorcery
- The Circe weaves. They who were men erewhile
- Now grovel at her feet, transformed to swine.
- ‘Neath myriad mellow tapers’ golden glow
- A woman stands, proud, insolent and fair;
- A single gem meshed in the dusk-dyed hair
- Burns like the evening star descending low
- Adown the dark’ning sky. Upon the snow
- Of her full-blossomed breast deep rubies lie.
- Her fragrant presence breathes sweet sorcery;
- The shimmering saffron satin’s flexile flow
- Outlines each sinuous curve; a sensuous smile,
- A touch that fires to flame each pulsant vein —
- One draught of eyes more deep than depths of wine
- The senses steal, the soul and brain beguile
- Till all seem merged in feeling… and again
- A Circe’s spells transform men into swine.
- If in the spirit glows no spark divine;
- If soulless dust return to dust again;
- If, after life, but death and dark remain —
- Then it were well to make the moment thine,
- Bacchante-steeping soul and sense in wine,
- In lotus-lulling languors, fond desires
- That heat the heart with fierce, unhallowed fires —
- Till Pleasure, Circe-like, transform us into swine.
- But if some subtler spirit thrill our clay,
- Some God-like flame illume this fleeting dust —
- Promethean fire snatched from the Olympian height —
- Then must we choose the nobler, higher Way,
- Seeking the Beautiful, the Pure, the Just —
- The ultimate crowned triumph of the Right!
About the Poet:
Leigh Gordon Giltner (1875-?) was a U.S. poet and short story writer. She was a graduate of Eminence College (KY), where her father, Rev. William S. Giltner, was president. She later did graduate study in English at the University of Chicago, and studied Shakespeare and dramatic art at the Chicago School of Acting.
Her first book, a collection of poetry, The Path of Dreams (1900), was well reviewed, but shortly after its appearance, Giltner abandoned poetry for the short story. Her stories, and sketches were published in the Young’s Magazine, New England Magazine, The Century, Munsey’s Overland Monthly, The Reader, The Era, and many other periodicals of the early quarter of the twentieth century.
Two of her short stories were turned into films with her contributing to the screenplays — The Broadway Bubble (1920) and The Understudy (1917). Giltner was also interested in musical study and voice work. She studied voice as a pupil of Signer Augusto Fuseo and with Douglas Powell at Cincinnati College of Music, developing a fine mezzo-soprano voice. [DES-03/12]