Sunday, October 24, 2010

Two Truths


'Darling,' he said, 'I never meant
...To hurt you;' and his eyes were wet.
'I would not hurt you for the world:
...Am I to blame if I forget?'

'Forgive my selfish tears!' she cried,
...'Forgive! I knew that it was not
Because you meant to hurt me, sweet---
...I knew it was that you forgot!'

But all the same, deep in her heart
...Rankled this thought, and rankles yet,---
'When love is at its best, one loves
...So much that he cannot forget.'

Friday, October 8, 2010



The meadow and the mountain with desire
Gazed on each other, till a fierce unrest
Surged 'neath the meadow's seemingly calm breast,
And all the mountain's fissures ran with fire.
A mighty river rolled between them there.
What could the mountain do but gaze and burn?
What could the meadow do but look and yearn,
And gem its bosom to conceal despair?
Their seething passion agitated space,
Till lo! the lands a sudden earthquake shook,
The river fled: the meadow leaped, and took
The leaning mountain in a close embrace.



No more alone sleeping, no more alone waking,
Thy dreams divided, thy prayers in twain;
Thy merry sisters tonight forsaking,
Never shall we see, maiden, again.
Never shall we see thee, thine eyes glancing,
Flashing with laughter and wild in glee,
Under the mistletoe kissing and dancing,
Wantonly free.
There shall come a matron walking sedately,
Low-voiced, gentle, wise in reply.
Tell me, O tell me, can I love her greatly?
All for her sake must the maiden die!

The Gift


What can I give you, my lord, my lover,
You who have given the world to me,
Showed me the light and the joy that cover
The wild sweet earth and the restless sea?
All that I have are gifts for your giving-
If I gave them again, you would find them old,
And your soul would weary of always living
Before the mirror my life would hold.
What shall I give you, my lord, my lover?
The gift that breaks the heart in me:
I bid you awake at dawn and discover
I have gone my way and left you free.

The Farmer's Bride


Three Summers since I chose a maid,
Too young maybe - but more's to do
    At harvest-time than bide and woo.
    When us was wed she turned afraid
Of love and me and all things human;
Like the shut of a winter's day.
Her smile went out, and 'twasn't a woman--
    More like a little, frightened fay.
    One night, in the Fall, she runned away.

"Out 'mong the sheep, her be," they said,
'Should properly have been abed;
    But sure enough she wasn't there
    Lying awake with her wide brown stare.
So over seven-acre field and up-along across the down
We chased her, flying like a hare
Before our lanterns. To Church-Town
All in a shiver and a scare
    We caught her, fetched her home at last
    And turned the key upon her, fast.

She does the work about the house
As well as most, but like a mouse:
    Happy enough to chat and play
    With birds and rabbits and such as they,
So long as men-folk stay away.
"Not near, not near!" her eyes beseech
When one of us comes within reach.
The women say that beasts in stall
    Look round like children at her call.
    I've hardly heard her speak at all.

Shy as a leveret, swift as he,
Straight and slight as a young larch tree,
Sweet as the first wild violets, she,
To her wild self. But what to me?

The short days shorten and the oaks are brown,
The blue smoke rises to the low gray sky,
    One leaf in the still air falls slowly down,
    A magpie's spotted feathers lie
On the black earth spread white with rime,
The berries redden up to Christmas-time.
What's Christmas-time without there be
    Some other in the house than we!

She sleeps up in the attic there
Alone, poor maid. 'Tis but a stair
Betwixt us. Oh, my God! - the down,
The soft young down of her; the brown,
The brown of her - her eyes, her hair, her hair!

Monday, October 4, 2010

To Cupid


Child, with many a childish wile,
Timid look, and blushing smile,
Downy wings to steal the way,
Guilded bow, and quiver gay,
Who in thy simple mien would trace
The tyrant of the human race?

Who is he whose flinty heart
Hath not felt the flying dart?
Who is he that from the wound
Hath not pain and pleasure found?
Who is he that hath not shed
Curse and blessing on thy head?



Love, a child, is ever crying,
Please him, and he straight is flying;
Give him, he there more is craving,
Never satisfied with having.

His desires have no measure,
Endless folly is his treasure;
What he promiseth he breaketh;
Trust not one word that he speaketh.

He vows nothing but false matter,
And to cozen you he'll flatter;
Let him gain the hand, he'll leave you,
And still glory to deceive you.

He will triumph in your wailing,
And yet cause be of your failing;
These his virtues are, and slighter
Are his gifts, his favours lighter.

Feathers are as firm in staying,
Wolves no fiercer in their preying.
As a child then leave him crying,
Nor seek him, so giv'n to flying.

(From) Aspects of Love


Love? We should smother it
And push it up the chimney-
He said, half meaning it.
We know now what he intended
For finding love at their door
On a cold night, people-if they are wise-
Will push it up the chimny into the smoke before
It wails at them with such clenched desire
As will bring into the quiet house
The significant ecstatic loss.