Month: October 2018
A LA CAMPAGNE
The night, whose silences detach each sound,
The leaves, as whispering heralds in a wood,
Stir hopes of you about my solitude.
Was that a carriage wheel upon the ground?
—The grassy ground that brings the road uphill
Would muffle horses hoofs—I listen still—
A nervous motion at my heart: the bound
Of too responsive veins—a hush profound.
I hear a night bird call its mate?… a hound
Out on the farm bark at some peasant maid
Too tired with harvesting to feel afraid.
… Loosed, and now tied, scenting the sunny air,
All day she combed and tossed the fields’ dim hair,
As some mute servant tending a fair queen
She works in beauty neither felt nor seen,
While I have nature, all the whole earth over,
For company. Yet anxious as a lover
Prisoned in sentiment, I watch and start.
Is it then just for you I live apart?
The moon, as milk caught in a pail, now flows
Over its rim, whit’ning the dark that glows—
I saw your absence less by day, and less
This summers brilliant, living emptiness.
Another day in flowered light comes through
The curtains of the room that waits for you.
I leave it so, to its Byronian gloom:
In vain red roses at your casements bloom.
The lyre-shaped clock that once struck hours of gold,
Has stopped, the prisoned summer air turns cold.
The mirrors that no longer see you pass,
Seem frames without their pictures, lengths of glass
Bored to reflect a house without expression.
Only my mind can image the procession
Of past realities, that flitter by
Invisible to all. These guides and I
Live a repeated life in which we follow
Through the deserted rooms, through tree-topped hollow
Roads, the joyful phantoms gone before.
The rhododendrons hedge-like corridor,
Must lead you, now and ever, back to me!
As often as our eyes have sought the sea,
I rest mine on this woodland resting-place.
Ah when again, the blossom of your face?
And, many times to aid the incantation,
Seeking some proof to fix my meditation,
I pause where the soft earth still bears the seals
Of your once-waiting and impatient heels!
And stoop, to find again the marks I found,
The little marks your feet leave on the ground!
Is that your window with the moving shade
In pilgrimage I’ve come so far to see?
—The air may enter, you are not afraid
Of the «great air» that plays invisibly
About your neck, moving your opened hair
(That busy shadow is perhaps your maid?)
While I must wait, as near as I may be,
Upon the sands, wishing that I were made
Like Ariel to skip accross the sea
Bringing you kisses, in small waves that bear
The prostrate happy sun-flushed evening there,
And all unseen cover you every where:
To rise up with the tide and fall on you
With lips that moisten, cling, and sting like spray—
To want you, and so wanting turn away?
Or beat my way into that prisoned hue:
Now that your window is a golden square
Cut in the darkness? Must I homeward fare
With flapping cape against the wind to fight,
Or like a sea-gull wing towards your light?
D’une plage lointaine.
“The predominacy of custom is every where visible, it sounds as a man would wonder to hear man profess, protest, engage, give great words, and then do just as they have done before, as though they were dead images and moved only by the wheels of custom.“
My Hopes white-plumed, in valiant mail,
Have beaten at her heart grown pale
—Have failed, as all proud hopes must fail—
Lower the mast, fold up the sail.
In vain we faced the high-winged gale
And laughed as those whom Gods assail.
The reefs near port now crush our bark,
The jealous hounds of habit bark
On land. As children in the dark
My Lady shudders in the veil
Of her meek hair—shall naught prevail?
And only fears their echo find
Within her torn and timid mind?
Helplessly, my courage tears
To free her of the doubts she wears
Closer than Life…. Yet Time prepares
The end of all things…. Melt, my tears!
And flow as bitter as the sea
Over my drowning Love and me!
A SONNET : TO MY LADY WITH THE JAUNDICE.
Was not Titania golden? See these flowers
Are they for being yellowish less fair?
Apollo and the Godesses all share
In this most glorious hue. The jealous bowers
Of Kings are coloured thus, their reed of powers,
Their rings, their chains, the crowns that they must wear
Golden their mistress and their minion’s hair
Golden the bannered sun above their towers!
Reflecting butter-cups amuses Puck
But flower-rubbed eye-lids, and complexions mend:
So fear not broken crystals long ill-luck
But look in this new mirror, lovely friend.
Both gods and fairies wait on lovers wills.
That jaundices be changed to daffodils!
Much longer than these lilies, you or I,
This book lives on mysterious memory
Of an enchanted place to which you lent
A fragrance that will render somnolent?
—Sweet poisons are narcotics for our tears!
Our ressurected past through dreams appears
An angel standing by an empty tomb.
What sadder thing may Time spin on her loom
Than words?—Return to that once petaled door
Through which Love passed—adding a few leaves more
To the strange book of life: open its covers
Only to the worn page where we were lovers
Lost in fair imageries, there to forget
Our hearts that weep as little children yet!
LINES TAKEN FROM POEMS I SHALL NOT WRITE
Love, all our colours
Fade into shadows
—Shadows, but empty
Forms of the darkness?
Pale with the spring-time,
Wandering without you—
Sick with love-sickness!
To sigh upon this chill air of December,
To wonder why, and wondering why, remember!
As through the air
Her little fan-shaped feet
What beauty in the way the light fell on her eye-brows….
These pages are as silent as drowned cries….
Come back, my Love, and with more fervent eyes
Than pity, Lips that bear the ivy-leaf
Once chose for emblem Love that never dies?
Bow thy head, O shadow on the wall,
And weep a shadows grief.
… And so the rain arrived instead of you!
Its falling tears on the seas bitterness….
… But I, who am loves prodigal and fool,
What right have I to that high horse of verse?
Whose wings in cadenced soaring sweep the sky
Taking the waning moons for virgin dawns!
Etherial beast to find a home in clouds
And pasture on the plenteous voids of heaven!
… Small are these in love and in understanding …
Lift your voice in song, you alone can sing me
Songs as white and strong as the marble columns
Songs as pure pure as stars on the silver midnights,
Near as moonbeams over the limbs of lovers,
Strange as sleep in fields of lethean stillness
Heavy with summer.
You alone can waken my soul to sorrow,
You alone can mend all the broken music:
Subtler tones of thought than this shattered singing
Words have divided!
I cannot weep for you as others weep.
My last and dearest dead,
For all my tears on lesser griefs are shed!
HOW COLD …
How cold the autumn night,
Fearing that never more,
Will she pour
In with the moonlight through my door.
—On nights when the moon over-brimmed with light
Was like a loving-cup she bore.
… My love, my love’s delight,
How are you lost? How fight
Against an angels flight?
Tarnished upon the floor
The halo desire kept bright!
Like a lonely child afright
Questions each empty fold —
When loves fairy tales are told,
In midnights anguish might
My golden head turn white
Under the moons down-pour:
In a moment a million moons more
Drown, chill and cover me quite …
Rather than feel the cold,
The gradual growing cold—
Make me one with the autumn night.
I BUILT A FIRE
I built a fire to welcome her,
And my voice sighed
Aloud her name. To be with her
This night, I would have died….
Upon the hours, all in vain
My tears, the rain,
Fall uselessly, unceasingly….
The heavy door
Has closed again … again!
I wait, yet know she will not brave
One hour more, so utterly to live;
Wise and mild and shy,
Afraid as the heart of a child,
I know her heart to be.
And mine, that naught will save,
Must love and live and crave
And break unceasingly!
Ah! habit, how unmusical and shy
That outworn miracle: our ecstacy!
Between our hands that clasp their empty palms,
This daily prayer is this our psalm of psalms!
What is this nothing that was more than all?
Thinned as a golden ring that dare not fall,
That unsuspected danger: faithfulness,
Has linked us strangers, and a something less!
Exchanging vows and other platitudes,
As beggars chained in separate solitudes,
Though jealousy keep live the rotten core,
Lovers that were be lovers nevermore.