The Kiss
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
The Kiss (1901-4,) Le Baiser
Pentelican marble 1822 x 1219 x 1530 mm
The Tate Gallery, London

  The Kiss     

by Patrick Daly





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We knew, of course, that rocks are passionate.
They leaned and gave themselves, as parents do,
To life that walks. Incongruous but true
Those stolid things shrug off their solid state
And, old as the hills, still stay in bed late
Nuzzling and bussing, half-hard in the glue
That webbed the worlds, sap and honeydew
Stiffening into amber, into fate.

The worlds all taste like us; so does their Kiss.
We know that he will rise, and she dilate
Because our dust is dreaming them — and this:
The work's completeness: an immaculate
Kiss before needs woke, or words, living lips
Bright in the afterglow of apocalypse.


Note: The version of The Kiss in the Tate is the life-size
marble enlargement, not the half-size plaster original 
and not one of the many bronze copies. The marble is 
what got me started thinking about rocks and their 
relation to animate life.


 Aphrodite by Steve Harris


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