Eroticism teases and promises, hinting at what is to come. It is, in the painting below, a beautiful woman half clad, or in the poems below, hinting at passionate sex. In the words of one critic, "the very word "erotic" implies superior value, fine art, an aesthetic which elevates the mind and incidentally stimulates the body."
"Kora" by Yuki Wang
Yuki Wang is my one of my favorite contemporary artists. He trained in China and is today living in New York. You can find his biography and a gallery of his work here. "Kora" is by far his most alluring nude.
Two pieces of poetry that speak of passionate, physical love come from surprising sources. The first is a poem by Emily Dickinson, one of the most famous and prolific of 19th century American poets - though only a handful of her poems were published during her lifetime. She was famously introverted and, later in life, reclusive to the point of agorophobia, but at least one of her poems showed a steamy side:
Wild Nights--Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
To a Heart in port--
Done with the Compass--
Done with the Chart!
Rowing in Eden
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor--Tonight--
by Emily Dickenson
The second piece for today is one of the great works of erotic literature of the ancient world. It comes from . . . the Bible. It is the Song of Songs, a poetic work of two people in love, from courtship through marriage and consumation. This from Chapter 7:
How beautiful your sandaled feet,
O prince’s daughter!
Your graceful legs are like jewels,
the work of an artist’s hands.
Your navel is a rounded goblet
that never lacks blended wine.
Your waist is a mound of wheat
encircled by lilies.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle. . . .
How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
my love, with your delights!
Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine,
the fragrance of your breath like apples,
and your mouth like the best wine.
May the wine go straight to my beloved,
flowing gently over lips and teeth.
I belong to my beloved,
and his desire is for me.
Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside,
let us spend the night in the villages.
Let us go early to the vineyards
to see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
and if the pomegranates are in bloom—
there I will give you my love.
The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
and at our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
that I have stored up for you, my beloved.
Note that the Song of Songs is actually more graphic than modern translations indicate. In translating this from ancient Hebrew, most modern bibles have opted to use the alternative literal translation of certain terms, in particular the term "navel," as used in the poem refers to the woman's vagina.