She kneeled before me begging
    That I should with a prayer
Give her absolution
    (How golden was her hair!)

She begged an absolution
    While the moments fled
She thought my tears were pity
    (My soul her lips were red!)

She begged of me forgiveness
    God you understand
(For pale and soft and slender
    Was her dainty hand!)

She begged that I should pray You
    That her Soul might rest
But I could not pray O Master
    (Ivory was her breast!)

From Caroling Dusk (Harper & Brothers, 1927), edited by Countee Cullen. This poem is in the public domain.