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The Secret Rose Garden, by Florence Lederer, [1920], at

p. 27





WHAT is the nature of the eye and the lip?
Let us consider.

Coquettish and intoxicating glances shine from His eye.
The essence of existence issues from His ruby lip.
Hearts burn with desire because of His eye,
And are healed again by the smile of His lip.

Because of His eye hearts are aching and drunken.
His ruby lip gives soul-garments to men.
His eye does not perceive this visible world,
Yet often His lip quivers with compassion.

p. 28

Sometimes He charms us with a touch of humanity,
And gives help to the despairing.
It is His smile that gives life to man's water and clay;
It is His breath that opens heaven's gate for us.
A corn-baited snare is each glance of that eye,
And a wine-shop lurks in each corner.

When He frowns the wide world is laid waste,
But is restored every moment by His kiss.
Our blood is at fever point because of His eye,
Our souls demented because of His lip.

How He has despoiled our hearts by a frown!
How He has uplifted our souls by a smile!
If you ask of Him an embrace,
His eye will say "Yea," His lip "Nay."
He finished the creation of the world by a frown,
Now and then the soul is revived by a kiss.
We would give up our lives with despair at His frown,
But would rise from the dead at his kiss.

. . . When the world meditates on His eye and His lip,
It yields itself to the intoxication of wine.

p. 29


THE single point of the mole in His cheek
Is a centre from which circles
A circumference.
The two worlds circle round that centre.
The heart and soul of Adam evolved from there.

. . . Hearts bleed because they are a reflection
Of the point of that black mole,
And both are stagnant; for there is no escape
Of the reflection from the reflect.

Unity will not embrace Plurality,
For the point of Unity has one root only.

. . . I wonder if His mole is the reflection of my heart,
Or my heart the reflection of His mole.
Was my heart created from His mole's reflection?
Or may it be seen shining in His mole?
I wonder if my heart is in His face,
Or if His mole abides in my heart.
But this is a deep secret hidden, alas! from me.

. . . If my heart is a reflection,
Why is it ever so changing?

p. 30

Sometimes tired like His brilliant eye,
Sometimes waving to and fro as His curl waves,
Sometimes a shining moonbeam like His face,
Sometimes a dark shadow like His mole,
Sometimes it is a mosque, sometimes a synagogue,
Sometimes a hell, sometimes a heaven,
Sometimes soaring above the seventh heaven,
Sometimes buried far below this earth.

. . . After a spell the devotee and ascetic
Turns again to wine, lamp, and beauty.


IF you ask of me the long story
Of the Beloved's curl,
I cannot answer, for it contains a mystery
Which only true lovers understand,
And they, maddened by its beauty,
Are held captive as by a golden chain.
I spoke too openly of that graceful form,
But the end of the curl told me to hide its glory,
So that the path to it should be twisted
And crooked and difficult.

p. 31

That curl enchains lovers' hearts,
And bears their souls to and fro
In the sea of desire. A hundred thousand hearts
Are tightly bound, not one escapes, alas!

No single infidel would remain in the world
If he could see the shaking aside
Of those black curls,
And on the earth there would not remain a faithful soul
If they were always in their place.
Suppose they were shorn. . . . No matter,
Day would increase and the night disappear.

As a spider spreads its nets to ensnare,
So does the Beloved in wantonness
Shake His locks from off His face.

Behold His hands plundering Reason's caravan
And with knots binding it tight.

Never at rest is that curl,
Ever moving to and fro
Making now night, making now morning,
Playing with the seasons in wonder.

p. 32

Adam was created when the perfume of that
amber-scented curl
Was blown by the wind on his clay.

And I too possess an ensample;
I cannot wait for a moment,
But breathlessly start working anew
To tear my heart out of my breast.
. . . Sore troubled am I by that curl
Which veils my longing soul from His face.


THE theatre of Divine beauty is the cheek,
And the down is the entrance to His holy presence.
Beauty is erased by His cheek, who says,
"Without my presence you are non-existent."
In the unseen world the down is as green meadows
Leading to the mansion of Eternal Life.
The blackness of His curl turns day into night,
The down of His cheek holds the secret of life.
If only you can glimpse His face and its down,
You will understand the meaning of plurality and unity.
His curl will teach you the knowledge of this world,
His down will reveal hidden paths.

p. 33

Imagine seven verses in which each letter
Contains oceans of mysteries;
Such is His cheek.
And imagine, hidden beneath each hair of His cheek,
Thousands of oceans of mysteries;
Such is His down.

As the heart is God's throne in the water,
So is the down the ornament of the soul.

Next: Part II. Beauty