What might be the sexiest non-sex scene in poetry?

“Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” (1932) -Picasso




The Hug
By Thom Gunn

 It was your birthday, we had drunk and dined
Half of the night with our old friend
Who'd showed us in the end
To a bed I reached in one drunk stride.
Already I lay snug,
And drowsy with the wine dozed on one side.

I dozed, I slept. My sleep broke on a hug,
Suddenly, from behind,
In which the full lengths of our bodies pressed:
Your instep to my heel,
My shoulder-blades against your chest.
It was not sex, but I could feel
The whole strength of your body set,
Or braced, to mine,
And locking me to you
As if we were still twenty-two
When our grand passion had not yet
Become familial.
My quick sleep had deleted all
Of intervening time and place.
I only knew
The stay of your secure firm dry embrace.


One thought on “What might be the sexiest non-sex scene in poetry?

  1. “Ode to a Naked Beauty”
    – Pablo Neruda

    “With chaste heart, and pure eyes
    I celebrate you, my beauty,
    restraining my blood
    so that the line
    surges and follows
    your contour,
    and you bed yourself in my verse,
    as in woodland, or wave-spume:
    earth's perfume,
    sea's music.

    Nakedly beautiful,
    whether it is your feet, arching
    at a primal touch
    of sound or breeze,
    or your ears,
    tiny spiral shells
    from the splendour of America's oceans.
    Your breasts also,
    of equal fullness, overflowing
    with the living light
    and, yes,
    winged
    your eyelids of silken corn
    that disclose
    or enclose
    the deep twin landscapes of your eyes.

    The line of your back
    separating you
    falls away into paler regions
    then surges
    to the smooth hemispheres
    of an apple,
    and goes splitting
    your loveliness
    into two pillars
    of burnt gold, pure alabaster,
    to be lost in the twin clusters of your feet,
    from which, once more, lifts and takes fire
    the double tree of your symmetry:
    flower of fire, open circle of candles,
    swollen fruit raised
    over the meeting of earth and ocean.

    Your body – from what substances
    agate, quartz, ears of wheat,
    did it flow, was it gathered,
    rising like bread
    in the warmth,
    and signalling hills
    silvered,
    valleys of a single petal, sweetnesses
    of velvet depth,
    until the pure, fine, form of woman
    thickened
    and rested there?

    It is not so much light that falls
    over the world
    extended by your body
    its suffocating snow,
    as brightness, pouring itself out of you,
    as if you were
    burning inside.

    Under your skin the moon is alive “

    Like

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