From the recording My True-Love
Some have given this poem an explicitly Christian reading; I tend to see it as a more general meditation on love and betrayal, which were certainly elements of Jesus Christ's story, too. It has a sort of "renaissance" feel to me, hence the minor key and the recorders.
Blacker than night is my True-Love’s hair,
My True-Love’s brow is bonny;
My True-Love’s lips are ruby and fair
And touched with the taste of honey.
Whiter than milk is my True-Love’s throat
That soars like a marble column
And bears a bell of marvelous note
With accents airy and solemn.
Tender and strong are my True-Love’s hands,
Their strength by mercy made dearer;
Each five of fingers are fiercer than brands
And total a ten of terror.
Because it is dearer to breathe than breath
And low and more utter than loathing,
My love for my True-Love is darker than death
And whiter than Christ’s own clothing.
I taste of the Wine from my True-Love’s lips,
The Bread is my True-Love’s body;
And the vinegar waits at my fingertips,
And the Cross stands hewn and ready.