The Kiss by Robert Graves: A recital

There are many ways to communicate, but nothing says “I want you” quite as memorably as a sensual kiss. It may be a kiss impressed on trembling lips on a stormy night by a cliff. It may be a kiss exchanged, clandestine and forbidden, beneath dewy desert stars. It may simply be “un baiser volé” on a sun-drenched morning by your lover’s arm.

The more heads, the merrier? Kalachakra and Vishmavata sculpture at the Art Gallery of NSW. Image courtesy of The Antipodean Adrift.
The more heads, the merrier? Kalachakra and Vishmavata sculpture at the Art Gallery of NSW. Image courtesy of The Antipodean Adrift.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a kiss is worth a bouquet of roses (to some people, but not to this flower-loving lady!) or a thousand amorous hallway glances.

Recently, India has been gripped by a sensational but important campaign. You may have heard of it; the event is called the “Kiss of Love“. The people of Kerala in southern India are protesting en masse in a bid to protect their right to kiss in public. This proved to be so controversial among the conservatives, whose ire and zealous anti-kiss fury was soon matched by an outpouring of global support for the campaign.

To commemorate this event (for posterity and whatnot), I have decided to recite a poem by the prolific Robert Graves. The poem of choice is none other than ‘The Kiss’, a thing of impassioned glory.

As part of my three dimensional tribute to the humble kiss, I have also snapped a photograph of ‘Kalachakra and Vishvamata’, a Tibetan sculpture gilt in bronze and adorned with inset gems (as seen above). Crafted in the 1300s (do I detect a gasp?), the extraordinary sculpture shows the Buddha couple Kalachakra and Vishvamata locked in a passionate embrace. You can find this cultural marvel at the Art Gallery of NSW, in the exhibition entitled ‘Conversations‘.

Well, that’s it from me today. Do share stories of some of your most memorable kisses in the comments box below. Try to keep it G-rated for the kiddies out there, though! Like and follow us on Facebook and WordPress, and I hope your day will be abloom with kisses and/or positive love.

Verse:

Are you shaken, are you stirred
By a whisper of love,
Spellbound to a word
Does Time cease to move,
Till her calm grey eye
Expands to a sky
And the clouds of her hair
Like storms go by?

Then the lips that you have kissed
Turn to frost and fire,
And a white-steaming mist
Obscures desire:
So back to their birth
Fade water, air, earth,
And the First Power moves
Over void and dearth.

Is that Love? no, but Death,
A passion, a shout,
The deep in-breath,
The breath roaring out,
And once that is flown,
You must lie alone,
Without hope, without life,
Poor flesh, sad bone.

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