“You aren’t at all the person I dreamed of, and yet I find you the incarnation of my most remote desires. You are less beautiful and more strange than my dream. I love you and I am already certain you will never love me. You are the suffering that makes happiness contemptible.”—Renee Vivien, A Woman Appeared to Me
“The trees have kept some lingering sun in their branches, Veiled like a woman, evoking another time, The twilight passes, weeping. My fingers climb, Trembling, provocative, the line of your haunches. My ingenious fingers wait when they have found The petal flesh beneath the robe they part. How curious, complex, the touch, this subtle art-- As the dream of fragrance, the miracle of sound. I follow slowly the graceful contours of your hips, The curves of your shoulders, your neck, your upappeased breasts. In your white voluptuousness my desire rests, Swooning, refusing itself the kisses of your lips. ”—Renee Vivien, “The Touch”
“You for whom I wrote, O beautiful young women! You alone whom I loved, will you reread my verse...? Will you say, 'This woman had the ardor which eludes me .. Why is she not alive? She would have loved me ....' Everywhere I go I repeat: I do not belong here. Who will bring me hemlock in their own hands?”—Renee Vivien
To the Beloved Woman, Renée Vivien
When you appeared, your steps reflected in the mist,
The sky mixed crystal and bronze with gold.
Your body was a guess, an uncertain curve
Suppler than the sea’s swell and fresher than spume.
The summer night was an Orient dream
Of rose and sandalwood.
I trembled. Lilies, sacred, pallid, and tall,
Died in your hands, like cold tapers;
Their dying perfume escaped from your fingers
In a fainting sigh of supreme anguish.
From your pure vestments breathed out by turns
Agony and love.
I felt on my hushed lips the shivering
Sweetness and fear of your first kiss.
I heard beneath your feet the lyres break,
Crying out to the heavens the proud ennui of poets,
Among waves of languidly described sound,
Blonde, you appeared.
My spirit athirst for the eternal, the impossible,
The infinite, I desired to sing to the world
A hymn of magic and marvelment;
But the verse rose stammering and poor,
A naïve reflection, a childish echo, a halting flight
To thy Divinity.
Renée Vivien was an out lesbian in turn of the century France. As we can see from the photo on her wikipedia page, she was also quite dapper.