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.
The unloosening of hands
—The unloosening of little hands—
About the heart.
The welling up of tears:
Old habits, old deaths, good-bye!
You are sacred ground under my on-faring,
I shall tread so lightly that you will not feel my leave-taking?
Yet the breath of a new world—the ever promised-land—exalts my nostrils.
I am on the war-path towards peace:
The peace of single choice.
Evolutions open your arcana,
Shower down your nearest spears of truth,
Great fear throbs in me, fear that leads me on,
I have shut my eyes long enough
—Shut eyes grow blind!—
Clinging to just one little human life!
Limiting, repressing all it would not share,
I who had an easy world to give
In the first heart-beats of my hope—
Yet now, with forty years, has come another youth
—A youth in which I recognize myself!
—Myself, how long you’ve lingered, waited, strayed—
Beauty seems an empty shell—out-worn.
Great longing of my sea, break forth, be uncontained!…
Count not your shipwrecks—every spar may save.
So I, not cruelly, not impetuously,
But with keen, shrewd resolve—rise up.
Why do I rise on timid stealthy feet?
In the dark to take leave of the dark,
To kiss the eyes of night farewell,
And turn love’s withered face full on the dawn.
May the dawn learn through me,
Not tint and play with empty shadows here,
But raise the arch of triumph of its day.
… I hear a sound as of a world on flame.
My past a burning city?
Shall I look round?
—Salt of my earth: all my tears crystalized!
You’d call me back into the phantom house?
—O, Psyche holding high your awkward lamp,
O, Psyche, loved in darkness, see the day!
To feel the stab of beauty at the heart!
To drink, with lifted throat,
The silent throb and music of the stars,
The first kiss of the spring on spell-bound trees,
To stretch out arms to hold and soothe the world,
—A love too vast in aught to be contained,
Helpless and great: a poets youthfulness,…
Alone, might all this emptiness be you!
While blue and khaki share the heroes mud,
And women tend in white or weep in grey,
Though all expressiveness seems over-dressed,
Yet some must wear the colours of their hearts
Upon their sleeves, like troubadours, of old;
And sing, and sometimes write their singing down.
… To “chase them from republics” were as vain
As to disturb the hurdy-gurdy man.
Let him go grinding music as he likes;
You see him turn his wheel, but need not hear
The tune he’s playing in the noisy street?…
(Some have an organ, some an axe to grind,
While others seek how best to bury hatchets.)
We all are poets in our different ways
And may your dreams be harmless as my own.