And soulful pulsations
Afloat on the air
—More aspiring than prayer—
The wings that uplift!
As soaring adrift,
Of angels there are,
And an echoing star,
You rise ever higher,
Sole voice of a choir
Shall we follow your flight,
Through crystaline night,
—Through the high vaults of space—
To your archangel’s face,
—With the heavens still ringing—
To be one with your singing?
ON A PICTURE TO MUSIC
Music, language of the mortal soul.
The face of twilight,
The mouth of bitterness made lyrical,
Eyes closed on poignant joys that might have been!
A profile turned to life, and yet beyond …
Reborn, transfigured; penetrating sense
To gather an acute expressiveness
Vibrant within itself: all our lost lives!
—We must play gently to the living dead—
Fingers outstretched, by that responsive lid
Where Angel harps lie buried at full length,
Yet still in touch and resonant—Arise
To laying on of hands—
Invisible, a phantom of pure sound
Voices the spirit sitting there, awakes
The sighing, and the soaring and the beat
(O dispossessed and silenced King: my heart!)
Until we too are echos of that tide,
Where winds and waves become articulate,
Our being tossed so high, beyond itself,
Winged by the elements!
Our human weight of woe no longer felt
Until we meet
—By some familiar fall of minor chords—
The inner God of Sorrow face to face.
You say I’ve lived too long in France
And wearied of the senses’ dance?
Like fresh air in an opium den
You’ll lead me out—to where? and when?
…. I fear no country’s ready yet
For our complexities: forget
The best of flesh and food to go
A’roaming o’er the world, and know
Discomfort’s great surprises few—?
No, let me travel just to you!
Her name begins as Love begins,
Mine as “November”, “Nevermore”.
No thousand nights and one between these covers,
No miniatures, enluminures or dyes—
For art is but a prostitute that hovers
To court outsiders—you alone may prize
These pages which your idle hand unties?—
… Leaving art to artists—we, loves lovers,
Keep for out-worn Beauty a disguise.
—(A line traced round a shadow as it dies,
Some semblance of the scattered rose recovers?)—
So making everything seem otherwise:
Associations are our deities!
—And ivy leaves, transparent eggs of plovers
Are fragments of the feast they symbolize.—
Here, visible as sleeping Eros, lies
A book of dreams and broken memories,
A living past for which blind Love has eyes?
Her flute’s clear solo greets the maiden day—
Above the waking of melodious May,
Its notes are like a trellised flight of flowers.
The chirping birds whose orchestra of bills
Accompanies rain—the tea-rose best distills—
And then the smell of earth between the showers!
From garden bright, in drops of crystal gown’d,
I hear the breezes make a leafy sound
Through vibrant buzz of flies that seek the shade—
… And wonder whether—as sweet noon reposes—
The roses make the air, the air the roses
Within the house kept cooler than a glade.
Against the wall, upon the sunny side,
Their fruitful branches fixed and crucified,
The pear-trees stretch out arms in martyred line—
While we that surfeit, nap, as calyx’d bees,
Who murmurs, still pursuing imageries
… «Like Jewish candelabras». (relight mine!)
Rising as to welcome a newcomer
The flute pipes to the first eve of the summer
—Nocturnal nature moves to minor bars—
A golden crescent in a druid’s tree
Reminds her that the forest has a key—
And out she goes to serenade the stars!
A PARISIAN ROOF GARDEN
As I must mount to feed those doves of ours,
Perhaps you too will spend nocturnal hours
Upon your roof
So high aloof
That from its terraced bowers
We catch at clouds and draw a bath from showers.
Before the moon has made all pale the night,
Let’s meet with flute and viol, and supper light:
A yew lamb, minted sauce, a raisined bun,
A melon riper than the melting sun—
A flask of Xeres, that we’ve scarce begun—
Well try the «lunar waltz» while floats afar
Upon the liquid night—night’s nenuphar.
Or else, with senses tuned alike perchance,
Reclining love will make the heavens dance;
And if the enemy from aerial cars
Drops death, we’ll share it vibrant with the stars!
HOW WRITE THE BEAT OF LOVE
HOW WRITE THE BEAT OF LOVE
How write the beat of love, the very throb,
The rhythm of our veins’ deep eloquence?
How fix that darkness-rending final sob,
That perfect swoon of each united sense.
The full-sailed rising of your body’s sweep
—Adrift and safe on joy’s last tidal wave—
Will toss you on the silver sands of sleep,
Forgetful of the ecstacy you gave.
Your breath ebbs restful as the falling tide:
A sea becalmed!… Lay me in valleyed part
Of breasts whose undulating crests subside—
Ah how they marked the high beats of your heart!
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.