Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
The Baroness’s first poems were published beginning in 1918 in The Little Review, a literary magazine run in part by Ezra Pound and modernist Jane Heap, who was a champion of Freytag-Loringhoven’s work. The journal’s motto was “Making No Compromise With the Public’s Taste,” and it had published James Joyce’s Ulysses in serial form. In her straight-lined, all-caps handwriting, Elsa penned poems with delightfully effervescent titles like “Subjoyride,” “Holy Skirts,” and “A Dozen Cocktails — Please.” Her verse teetered on the boundary between brilliance and nonsense, challenging modernist mores of the time and ushering in a buoyant surrealist style full of playful word association and bold sexual boundary pushing. Heap called her “the only one living anywhere who dresses Dada, loves Dada, lives Dada.”
Thus will be thine orbs: filmy – with curtains of happiness – –
Thine mouth – stern – harsh muscles of thine jaws relax in pain – sweet as tears.
Breathless – thine heart – breathless – choking thine throat –
Back it will drop into thine chest pounding thine frame!.
Juggular vein behind thine vengeful ears – -along thine vengeful white neck – fly like sides of a bellows.
Flesh: crystal – transparent.
Crimson joy in thine heart – crimson thine orbs!
Soft rubber thine bones – weak thou art – child!
Brain leave thee – Blissful – leave thee – seconds eternity.
Thine sheen: brass – copper – snow – scintillating moonstone –
Scin- lat- moonstone – – – –
Saint Antony the second – wiser than the first –
Sawest unity – necessity – sacrifice – – – Joy – battle – death – life – Godsatan – Satangod –
Saint Antony the second – Wise One!
Adam – warrior – smileth strength – knowledge –
Adam – New Man – steppest lightly – friend of serpent – drowsiness gone –
Adam – takest Earth!
Such mine love? electric fluid – current to thine wire – to make Light –
Ah – h – h – such mine love!
Kiss me. . . . . . . upon the gleaming hill . . . . . . .*
Adam – Mine Love!
After thou hast squandered thine princely treasures into mine princely lap – there remains upon mine chest a golden crimson ball – weighing heavily –
Thine head –
King Adam – Mine Love.
* Donated to the Censor
The Little Review 6.1 (1919): 73.
Dessinateur non illucidé