The Project Gutenberg EBook of New Poems, by D. H. Lawrence

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Title: New Poems

Author: D. H. Lawrence

Release Date: September 22, 2007 [EBook #22726]

Language: English

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NEW POEMS

By D. H. Lawrence

London: Martin Seeker

1918



TO

AMY LOWELL






CONTENTS

APPREHENSION

COMING AWAKE

FROM A COLLEGE WINDOW

FLAPPER

BIRDCAGE WALK

LETTER FROM TOWN: THE

FLAT SUBURBS, S.W., IN THE

THIEF IN THE NIGHT

LETTER FROM TOWN: ON A

SUBURBS ON A HAZY DAY

HYDE PARK AT NIGHT, BEFORE

GIPSY

TWO-FOLD

UNDER THE OAK

SIGH NO MORE

LOVE STORM

PARLIAMENT HILL IN THE

PICCADILLY CIRCUS AT NIGHT

TARANTELLA

IN CHURCH

PIANO

EMBANKMENT AT NIGHT,

PHANTASMAGORIA

NEXT MORNING

PALIMPSEST OF TWILIGHT

EMBANKMENT AT NIGHT,

WINTER IN THE BOULEVARD

SCHOOL ON THE OUTSKIRTS

SICKNESS

EVERLASTING FLOWERS

THE NORTH COUNTRY

BITTERNESS OF DEATH

SEVEN SEALS

READING A LETTER

TWENTY YEARS AGO

INTIME

TWO WIVES

HEIMWEH

DEBACLE

NARCISSUS

AUTUMN SUNSHINE

ON THAT DAY








APPREHENSION

AND all hours long, the town
       Roars like a beast in a cave
     That is wounded there
     And like to drown;
       While days rush, wave after wave
     On its lair.

     An invisible woe unseals
       The flood, so it passes beyond
     All bounds: the great old city
     Recumbent roars as it feels
       The foamy paw of the pond
     Reach from immensity.

     But all that it can do
       Now, as the tide rises,
     Is to listen and hear the grim
     Waves crash like thunder through
       The splintered streets, hear noises
     Roll hollow in the interim.








COMING AWAKE

WHEN I woke, the lake-lights were quivering on the
          wall,
     The sunshine swam in a shoal across and across,
     And a hairy, big bee hung over the primulas
     In the window, his body black fur, and the sound
          of him cross.

     There was something I ought to remember: and
          yet
     I did not remember. Why should I? The run-
          ning lights
     And the airy primulas, oblivious
     Of the impending bee—they were fair enough
          sights.








FROM A COLLEGE WINDOW

THE glimmer of the limes, sun-heavy, sleeping,
        Goes trembling past me up the College wall.
     Below, the lawn, in soft blue shade is keeping,
        The daisy-froth quiescent, softly in thrall.

     Beyond the leaves that overhang the street,
       Along the flagged, clean pavement summer-white,
     Passes the world with shadows at their feet
        Going left and right.

     Remote, although I hear the beggar's cough,
        See the woman's twinkling fingers tend him a
           coin,
     I sit absolved, assured I am better off
        Beyond a world I never want to join.








FLAPPER

LOVE has crept out of her sealÚd heart
       As a field-bee, black and amber,
       Breaks from the winter-cell, to clamber
     Up the warm grass where the sunbeams start.

     Mischief has come in her dawning eyes,
       And a glint of coloured iris brings
       Such as lies along the folded wings
     Of the bee before he flies.

     Who, with a ruffling, careful breath,
       Has opened the wings of the wild young sprite?
       Has fluttered her spirit to stumbling flight
     In her eyes, as a young bee stumbleth?

     Love makes the burden of her voice.
       The hum of his heavy, staggering wings
       Sets quivering with wisdom the common
           things
     That she says, and her words rejoice.








BIRDCAGE WALK

WHEN the wind blows her veil
       And uncovers her laughter
     I cease, I turn pale.
     When the wind blows her veil
     From the woes I bewail
       Of love and hereafter:
     When the wind blows her veil
     I cease, I turn pale.








LETTER FROM TOWN: THE

ALMOND TREE

YOU promised to send me some violets. Did you
          forget?
       White ones and blue ones from under the orchard
          hedge?
       Sweet dark purple, and white ones mixed for a
          pledge
     Of our early love that hardly has opened yet.

     Here there's an almond tree—you have never seen
       Such a one in the north—it flowers on the street,
          and I stand
       Every day by the fence to look up for the flowers
          that expand
     At rest in the blue, and wonder at what they mean.

     Under the almond tree, the happy lands
       Provence, Japan, and Italy repose,
       And passing feet are chatter and clapping of
          those
     Who play around us, country girls clapping their
          hands.

     You, my love, the foremost, in a flowered gown,
       All your unbearable tenderness, you with the
          laughter
       Startled upon your eyes now so wide with here-
          after,
     You with loose hands of abandonment hanging
          down.








FLAT SUBURBS, S.W., IN THE

MORNING

THE new red houses spring like plants
           In level rows
     Of reddish herbage that bristles and slants
           Its square shadows.

     The pink young houses show one side bright
           Flatly assuming the sun,
     And one side shadow, half in sight,
           Half-hiding the pavement-run;

     Where hastening creatures pass intent
           On their level way,
     Threading like ants that can never relent
           And have nothing to say.

     Bare stems of street-lamps stiffly stand
           At random, desolate twigs,
     To testify to a blight on the land
           That has stripped their sprigs.








THIEF IN THE NIGHT

LAST night a thief came to me
       And struck at me with something dark.
     I cried, but no one could hear me,
       I lay dumb and stark.

     When I awoke this morning
       I could find no trace;
     Perhaps 'twas a dream of warning,
       For I've lost my peace.








LETTER FROM TOWN: ON A

GREY EVENING IN MARCH

THE clouds are pushing in grey reluctance slowly
          northward to you,
     While north of them all, at the farthest ends,
          stands one bright-bosomed, aglance
     With fire as it guards the wild north cloud-coasts,
          red-fire seas running through
     The rocks where ravens flying to windward melt
          as a well-shot lance.

     You should be out by the orchard, where violets
          secretly darken the earth,
     Or there in the woods of the twilight, with
          northern wind-flowers shaken astir.
     Think of me here in the library, trying and trying
          a song that is worth
     Tears and swords to my heart, arrows no armour
          will turn or deter.

     You tell me the lambs have come, they lie like
          daisies white in the grass
     Of the dark-green hills; new calves in shed;
          peewits turn after the plough—
     It is well for you. For me the navvies work in the
          road where I pass
     And I want to smite in anger the barren rock of
          each waterless brow.

     Like the sough of a wind that is caught up high in
          the mesh of the budding trees,
     A sudden car goes sweeping past, and I strain my
          soul to hear
     The voice of the furtive triumphant engine as it
          rushes past like a breeze,
     To hear on its mocking triumphance unwitting
          the after-echo of fear.








SUBURBS ON A HAZY DAY

     O STIFFLY shapen houses that change not,
       What conjuror's cloth was thrown across you,
          and raised
     To show you thus transfigured, changed,
       Your stuff all gone, your menace almost rased?

     Such resolute shapes, so harshly set
       In hollow blocks and cubes deformed, and heaped
     In void and null profusion, how is this?
       In what strong aqua regia now are you steeped?

     That you lose the brick-stuff out of you
       And hover like a presentment, fading faint
     And vanquished, evaporate away
       To leave but only the merest possible taint!








HYDE PARK AT NIGHT, BEFORE

THE WAR

     Clerks.
WE have shut the doors behind us, and the velvet
         flowers of night
     Lean about us scattering their pollen grains of
         golden light.

     Now at last we lift our faces, and our faces come
         aflower
     To the night that takes us willing, liberates us to the
         hour.

     Now at last the ink and dudgeon passes from our
         fervent eyes
     And out of the chambered weariness wanders a
         spirit abroad on its enterprise.

         Not too near and not too far
         Out of the stress of the crowd
         Music screams as elephants scream
         When they lift their trunks and scream aloud
         For joy of the night when masters are
                Asleep and adream.

         So here I hide in the Shalimar
         With a wanton princess slender and proud,
         And we swoon with kisses, swoon till we seem
         Two streaming peacocks gone in a cloud
         Of golden dust, with star after star
                On our stream.








GIPSY

     I, THE man with the red scarf,
        Will give thee what I have, this last week's earn-
             ings.
     Take them, and buy thee a silver ring
        And wed me, to ease my yearnings.

     For the rest, when thou art wedded
        I'll wet my brow for thee
     With sweat, I'll enter a house for thy sake,
        Thou shalt shut doors on me.








TWO-FOLD

     How gorgeous that shock of red lilies, and larkspur
         cleaving
     All with a flash of blue!—when will she be leaving
     Her room, where the night still hangs like a half-
         folded bat,
     And passion unbearable seethes in the darkness, like
         must in a vat.








UNDER THE OAK

     You, if you were sensible,
     When I tell you the stars flash signals, each one
        dreadful,
     You would not turn and answer me
     "The night is wonderful."

     Even you, if you knew
     How this darkness soaks me through and through,
        and infuses
     Unholy fear in my vapour, you would pause to dis-
        tinguish
     What hurts, from what amuses.

     For I tell you
     Beneath this powerful tree, my whole soul's fluid
     Oozes away from me as a sacrifice steam
     At the knife of a Druid.

     Again I tell you, I bleed, I am bound with withies,
     My life runs out.
     I tell you my blood runs out on the floor of this oak,
     Gout upon gout.

     Above me springs the blood-born mistletoe
     In the shady smoke.
     But who are you, twittering to and fro
     Beneath the oak?

     What thing better are you, what worse?
     What have you to do with the mysteries
     Of this ancient place, of my ancient curse?
     What place have you in my histories?








SIGH NO MORE

THE cuckoo and the coo-dove's ceaseless calling,
                    Calling,
     Of a meaningless monotony is palling
     All my morning's pleasure in the sun-fleck-scattered
          wood.
     May-blossom and blue bird's-eye flowers falling,
                    Falling
     In a litter through the elm-tree shade are scrawling
     Messages of true-love down the dust of the high-
          road.
     I do not like to hear the gentle grieving,
                    Grieving
     Of the she-dove in the blossom, still believing
     Love will yet again return to her and make all good.

     When I know that there must ever be deceiving,
                    Deceiving
     Of the mournful constant heart, that while she's
          weaving
     Her woes, her lover woos and sings within another
          wood.

     Oh, boisterous the cuckoo shouts, forestalling,
                    Stalling
     A progress down the intricate enthralling
     By-paths where the wanton-headed flowers doff
          their hood.

     And like a laughter leads me onward, heaving,
                    Heaving
     A sigh among the shadows, thus retrieving
     A decent short regret for that which once was very
          good.








LOVE STORM

MANY roses in the wind
     Are tapping at the window-sash.
     A hawk is in the sky; his wings
     Slowly begin to plash.

     The roses with the west wind rapping
     Are torn away, and a splash
     Of red goes down the billowing air.

     Still hangs the hawk, with the whole sky moving
     Past him—only a wing-beat proving
     The will that holds him there.

     The daisies in the grass are bending,
     The hawk has dropped, the wind is spending
     All the roses, and unending
     Rustle of leaves washes out the rending
     Cry of a bird.

     A red rose goes on the wind.—Ascending
     The hawk his wind-swept way is wending
     Easily down the sky. The daisies, sending
     Strange white signals, seem intending
     To show the place whence the scream was heard.

     But, oh, my heart, what birds are piping!
     A silver wind is hastily wiping
     The face of the youngest rose.

     And oh, my heart, cease apprehending!
     The hawk is gone, a rose is tapping
     The window-sash as the west-wind blows.

     Knock, knock, 'tis no more than a red rose rapping,
     And fear is a plash of wings.
     What, then, if a scarlet rose goes flapping
     Down the bright-grey ruin of things!








PARLIAMENT HILL IN THE

EVENING

THE houses fade in a melt of mist
       Blotching the thick, soiled air
     With reddish places that still resist
       The Night's slow care.

     The hopeless, wintry twilight fades,
       The city corrodes out of sight
     As the body corrodes when death invades
       That citadel of delight.

     Now verdigris smoulderings softly spread
       Through the shroud of the town, as slow
     Night-lights hither and thither shed
       Their ghastly glow.








PICCADILLY CIRCUS AT NIGHT

     Street-Walkers.
WHEN into the night the yellow light is roused like
        dust above the towns,
     Or like a mist the moon has kissed from off a pool in
        the midst of the downs,

     Our faces flower for a little hour pale and uncertain
        along the street,
     Daisies that waken all mistaken white-spread in ex-
        pectancy to meet

     The luminous mist which the poor things wist was
        dawn arriving across the sky,
     When dawn is far behind the star the dust-lit town
        has driven so high.

     All the birds are folded in a silent ball of sleep,
        All the flowers are faded from the asphalt isle in
           the sea,
     Only we hard-faced creatures go round and round,
           and keep
        The shores of this innermost ocean alive and
           illusory.

     Wanton sparrows that twittered when morning
           looked in at their eyes
        And the Cyprian's pavement-roses are gone, and
           now it is we
     Flowers of illusion who shine in our gauds, make a
           Paradise
        On the shores of this ceaseless ocean, gay birds of
           the town-dark sea.








TARANTELLA

SAD as he sits on the white sea-stone
     And the suave sea chuckles, and turns to the moon,
     And the moon significant smiles at the cliffs and
        the boulders.
     He sits like a shade by the flood alone
     While I dance a tarantella on the rocks, and the
        croon
     Of my mockery mocks at him over the waves'
        bright shoulders.

     What can I do but dance alone,
     Dance to the sliding sea and the moon,
     For the moon on my breast and the air on my limbs
        and the foam on my feet?
     For surely this earnest man has none
     Of the night in his soul, and none of the tune
     Of the waters within him; only the world's old
        wisdom to bleat.

     I wish a wild sea-fellow would come down the
        glittering shingle,
     A soulless neckar, with winking seas in his eyes
     And falling waves in his arms, and the lost soul's kiss
     On his lips: I long to be soulless, I tingle
     To touch the sea in the last surprise
     Of fiery coldness, to be gone in a lost soul's bliss.








IN CHURCH

IN the choir the boys are singing the hymn.
             The morning light on their lips
     Moves in silver-moist flashes, in musical trim.

     Sudden outside the high window, one crow
             Hangs in the air
     And lights on a withered oak-tree's top of woe.

     One bird, one blot, folded and still at the top
             Of the withered tree!—in the grail
     Of crystal heaven falls one full black drop.

     Like a soft full drop of darkness it seems to sway
             In the tender wine
     Of our Sabbath, suffusing our sacred day.








PIANO

     Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
     Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
     A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the
         tingling strings
     And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who
         smiles as she sings.

     In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
     Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
     To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter
         outside
     And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano
         our guide.

     So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
     With the great black piano appassionato. The
         glamour
     Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
     Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a
         child for the past.








EMBANKMENT AT NIGHT,

BEFORE THE WAR

     Charity.
BY the river
     In the black wet night as the furtive rain slinks
         down,
     Dropping and starting from sleep
     Alone on a seat
     A woman crouches.

     I must go back to her.

     I want to give her
     Some money. Her hand slips out of the breast of
         her gown
     Asleep. My fingers creep
     Carefully over the sweet
     Thumb-mound, into the palm's deep pouches.

     So, the gift!

     God, how she starts!
     And looks at me, and looks in the palm of her hand!
     And again at me!
     I turn and run
     Down the Embankment, run for my life.

     But why?—why?

     Because of my heart's
     Beating like sobs, I come to myself, and stand
     In the street spilled over splendidly
     With wet, flat lights. What I've done
     I know not, my soul is in strife.

     The touch was on the quick. I want to forget.








PHANTASMAGORIA

RIGID sleeps the house in darkness, I alone
     Like a thing unwarrantable cross the hall
     And climb the stairs to find the group of doors
     Standing angel-stern and tall.

     I want my own room's shelter. But what is this
     Throng of startled beings suddenly thrown
     In confusion against my entry? Is it only the trees'
     Large shadows from the outside street lamp blown?

     Phantom to phantom leaning; strange women weep
     Aloud, suddenly on my mind
     Startling a fear unspeakable, as the shuddering wind
     Breaks and sobs in the blind.

     So like to women, tall strange women weeping!
     Why continually do they cross the bed?
     Why does my soul contract with unnatural fear?
     I am listening! Is anything said?

     Ever the long black figures swoop by the bed;
     They seem to be beckoning, rushing away, and
         beckoning.
     Whither then, whither, what is it, say
     What is the reckoning.

     Tall black Bacchae of midnight, why then, why
     Do you rush to assail me?
     Do I intrude on your rites nocturnal?
     What should it avail me?

     Is there some great Iacchos of these slopes
     Suburban dismal?
     Have I profaned some female mystery, orgies
     Black and phantasmal?








NEXT MORNING

     How have I wandered here to this vaulted room
     In the house of life?—the floor was ruffled with gold
     Last evening, and she who was softly in bloom,
     Glimmered as flowers that in perfume at twilight
         unfold

     For the flush of the night; whereas now the gloom
     Of every dirty, must-besprinkled mould,
     And damp old web of misery's heirloom
     Deadens this day's grey-dropping arras-fold.

     And what is this that floats on the undermist
     Of the mirror towards the dusty grate, as if feeling
     Unsightly its way to the warmth?—this thing with
         a list
     To the left? this ghost like a candle swealing?

     Pale-blurred, with two round black drops, as if it
         missed
     Itself among everything else, here hungrily stealing
     Upon me!—my own reflection!—explicit gist
     Of my presence there in the mirror that leans from
         the ceiling!

     Then will somebody square this shade with the
         being I know
     I was last night, when my soul rang clear as a bell
     And happy as rain in summer? Why should it be
         so?
     What is there gone against me, why am I in hell?








PALIMPSEST OF TWILIGHT

DARKNESS comes out of the earth
       And swallows dip into the pallor of the west;
     From the hay comes the clamour of children's
          mirth;
     Wanes the old palimpsest.

     The night-stock oozes scent,
       And a moon-blue moth goes flittering by:
     All that the worldly day has meant
       Wastes like a lie.

     The children have forsaken their play;
       A single star in a veil of light
     Glimmers: litter of day
       Is gone from sight.








EMBANKMENT AT NIGHT,

BEFORE THE WAR

     Outcasts.
THE night rain, dripping unseen,
     Comes endlessly kissing my face and my hands.

     The river, slipping between
     Lamps, is rayed with golden bands
     Half way down its heaving sides;
     Revealed where it hides.

     Under the bridge
     Great electric cars
     Sing through, and each with a floor-light racing
         along at its side.
     Far off, oh, midge after midge
     Drifts over the gulf that bars
     The night with silence, crossing the lamp-touched
         tide.

     At Charing Cross, here, beneath the bridge
     Sleep in a row the outcasts,
     Packed in a line with their heads against the wall.
     Their feet, in a broken ridge
     Stretch out on the way, and a lout casts
     A look as he stands on the edge of this naked stall.

     Beasts that sleep will cover
     Their faces in their flank; so these
     Have huddled rags or limbs on the naked sleep.
     Save, as the tram-cars hover
     Past with the noise of a breeze
     And gleam as of sunshine crossing the low black heap,

     Two naked faces are seen
     Bare and asleep,
     Two pale clots swept and swept by the light of the
         cars.
     Foam-clots showing between
     The long, low tidal-heap,
     The mud-weed opening two pale, shadowless stars.

     Over the pallor of only two faces
     Passes the gallivant beam of the trams;
     Shows in only two sad places
     The white bare bone of our shams.

     A little, bearded man, pale, peaked in sleeping,
     With a face like a chickweed flower.
     And a heavy woman, sleeping still keeping
     Callous and dour.

     Over the pallor of only two places
     Tossed on the low, black, ruffled heap
     Passes the light of the tram as it races
     Out of the deep.

     Eloquent limbs
     In disarray
     Sleep-suave limbs of a youth with long, smooth
         thighs
     Hutched up for warmth; the muddy rims
     Of trousers fray
     On the thin bare shins of a man who uneasily lies.

     The balls of five red toes
     As red and dirty, bare
     Young birds forsaken and left in a nest of mud—
     Newspaper sheets enclose
     Some limbs like parcels, and tear
     When the sleeper stirs or turns on the ebb of the
         flood—

     One heaped mound
     Of a woman's knees
     As she thrusts them upward under the ruffled skirt—
     And a curious dearth of sound
     In the presence of these
     Wastrels that sleep on the flagstones without any
         hurt.

     Over two shadowless, shameless faces
     Stark on the heap
     Travels the light as it tilts in its paces
     Gone in one leap.

     At the feet of the sleepers, watching,
     Stand those that wait
     For a place to lie down; and still as they stand,
         they sleep,
     Wearily catching
     The flood's slow gait
     Like men who are drowned, but float erect in the
         deep.

     Oh, the singing mansions,
     Golden-lighted tall
     Trams that pass, blown ruddily down the night!
     The bridge on its stanchions
     Stoops like a pall
     To this human blight.

     On the outer pavement, slowly,
     Theatre people pass,
     Holding aloft their umbrellas that flash and are
         bright
     Like flowers of infernal moly
     Over nocturnal grass
     Wetly bobbing and drifting away on our sight.

     And still by the rotten
     Row of shattered feet,
     Outcasts keep guard.
     Forgotten,
     Forgetting, till fate shall delete
     One from the ward.

     The factories on the Surrey side
     Are beautifully laid in black on a gold-grey sky.
     The river's invisible tide
     Threads and thrills like ore that is wealth to the eye.

     And great gold midges
     Cross the chasm
     At the bridges
     Above intertwined plasm.








WINTER IN THE BOULEVARD

THE frost has settled down upon the trees
     And ruthlessly strangled off the fantasies
     Of leaves that have gone unnoticed, swept like old
     Romantic stories now no more to be told.

     The trees down the boulevard stand naked in
         thought,
     Their abundant summery wordage silenced, caught
     In the grim undertow; naked the trees confront
     Implacable winter's long, cross-questioning brunt.

     Has some hand balanced more leaves in the depths
         of the twigs?
     Some dim little efforts placed in the threads of the
         birch?—
     It is only the sparrows, like dead black leaves on
         the sprigs,
     Sitting huddled against the cerulean, one flesh with
         their perch.

     The clear, cold sky coldly bethinks itself.
     Like vivid thought the air spins bright, and all
     Trees, birds, and earth, arrested in the after-thought
     Awaiting the sentence out from the welkin brought.








SCHOOL ON THE OUTSKIRTS

     How different, in the middle of snows, the great
          school rises red!
       A red rock silent and shadowless, clung round
          with clusters of shouting lads,
     Some few dark-cleaving the doorway, souls that
          cling as the souls of the dead
       In stupor persist at the gates of life, obstinate
          dark monads.

     This new red rock in a waste of white rises against
          the day
       With shelter now, and with blandishment, since
          the winds have had their way
     And laid the desert horrific of silence and snow on
          the world of mankind,
       School now is the rock in this weary land the winter
          burns and makes blind.








SICKNESS

WAVING slowly before me, pushed into the dark,
     Unseen my hands explore the silence, drawing the
         bark
     Of my body slowly behind.

     Nothing to meet my fingers but the fleece of night
     Invisible blinding my face and my eyes! What if
         in their flight
     My hands should touch the door!

     What if I suddenly stumble, and push the door
     Open, and a great grey dawn swirls over my feet,
         before
     I can draw back!

     What if unwitting I set the door of eternity wide
     And am swept away in the horrible dawn, am gone
         down the tide
     Of eternal hereafter!

     Catch my hands, my darling, between your breasts.
     Take them away from their venture, before fate
         wrests
     The meaning out of them.








EVERLASTING FLOWERS

WHO do you think stands watching
       The snow-tops shining rosy
     In heaven, now that the darkness
       Takes all but the tallest posy?

     Who then sees the two-winged
       Boat down there, all alone
     And asleep on the snow's last shadow,
       Like a moth on a stone?

     The olive-leaves, light as gad-flies,
       Have all gone dark, gone black.
     And now in the dark my soul to you
       Turns back.

     To you, my little darling,
       To you, out of Italy.
     For what is loveliness, my love,
       Save you have it with me!

     So, there's an oxen wagon
       Comes darkly into sight:
     A man with a lantern, swinging
       A little light.

     What does he see, my darling
       Here by the darkened lake?
     Here, in the sloping shadow
       The mountains make?

     He says not a word, but passes,
       Staring at what he sees.
     What ghost of us both do you think he saw
       Under the olive trees?

     All the things that are lovely—
       The things you never knew—
     I wanted to gather them one by one
       And bring them to you.

     But never now, my darling
       Can I gather the mountain-tips
     From the twilight like half-shut lilies
       To hold to your lips.

     And never the two-winged vessel
       That sleeps below on the lake
     Can I catch like a moth between my hands
       For you to take.

     But hush, I am not regretting:
       It is far more perfect now.
     I'll whisper the ghostly truth to the world
       And tell them how

     I know you here in the darkness,
       How you sit in the throne of my eyes
     At peace, and look out of the windows
       In glad surprise.








THE NORTH COUNTRY

IN another country, black poplars shake them-
         selves over a pond,
     And rooks and the rising smoke-waves scatter and
         wheel from the works beyond;
     The air is dark with north and with sulphur, the
         grass is a darker green,
     And people darkly invested with purple move
        palpable through the scene.

     Soundlessly down across the counties, out of the
         resonant gloom
     That wraps the north in stupor and purple travels
         the deep, slow boom
     Of the man-life north-imprisoned, shut in the hum
         of the purpled steel
     As it spins to sleep on its motion, drugged dense in
         the sleep of the wheel.

     Out of the sleep, from the gloom of motion, sound-
         lessly, somnambule
     Moans and booms the soul of a people imprisoned,
         asleep in the rule
     Of the strong machine that runs mesmeric, booming
         the spell of its word
     Upon them and moving them helpless, mechanic,
         their will to its will deferred.

     Yet all the while comes the droning inaudible, out
         of the violet air,
     The moaning of sleep-bound beings in travail that
         toil and are will-less there
     In the spell-bound north, convulsive now with a
         dream near morning, strong
     With violent achings heaving to burst the sleep
         that is now not long.








BITTERNESS OF DEATH

     I
AH, stern, cold man,
     How can you lie so relentless hard
     While I wash you with weeping water!
     Do you set your face against the daughter
     Of life? Can you never discard
     Your curt pride's ban?

     You masquerader!
     How can you shame to act this part
     Of unswerving indifference to me?
     You want at last, ah me!
     To break my heart
     Evader!

     You know your mouth
     Was always sooner to soften
     Even than your eyes.
     Now shut it lies
     Relentless, however often
     I kiss it in drouth.

     It has no breath
     Nor any relaxing. Where,
     Where are you, what have you done?
     What is this mouth of stone?
     How did you dare
     Take cover in death!

II

     Once you could see,
     The white moon show like a breast revealed
     By the slipping shawl of stars.
     Could see the small stars tremble
     As the heart beneath did wield
     Systole, diastole.

     All the lovely macrocosm
     Was woman once to you,
     Bride to your groom.
     No tree in bloom
     But it leaned you a new
     White bosom.

     And always and ever
     Soft as a summering tree
     Unfolds from the sky, for your good,
     Unfolded womanhood;
     Shedding you down as a tree
     Sheds its flowers on a river.

     I saw your brows
     Set like rocks beside a sea of gloom,
     And I shed my very soul down into your
        thought;
     Like flowers I fell, to be caught
     On the comforted pool, like bloom
     That leaves the boughs.

III

     Oh, masquerader,
     With a hard face white-enamelled,
     What are you now?
     Do you care no longer how
     My heart is trammelled,
     Evader?

     Is this you, after all,
     Metallic, obdurate
     With bowels of steel?
     Did you never feel?—
     Cold, insensate,
     Mechanical!

     Ah, no!—you multiform,
     You that I loved, you wonderful,
     You who darkened and shone,
     You were many men in one;
     But never this null
     This never-warm!

     Is this the sum of you?
     Is it all nought?
     Cold, metal-cold?
     Are you all told
     Here, iron-wrought?
     Is this what's become of you?








SEVEN SEALS

SINCE this is the last night I keep you home,
     Come, I will consecrate you for the journey.

     Rather I had you would not go. Nay come,
     I will not again reproach you. Lie back
     And let me love you a long time ere you go.
     For you are sullen-hearted still, and lack
     The will to love me. But even so
     I will set a seal upon you from my lip,
     Will set a guard of honour at each door,
     Seal up each channel out of which might slip
     Your love for me.

                      I kiss your mouth. Ah, love,
     Could I but seal its ruddy, shining spring
     Of passion, parch it up, destroy, remove
     Its softly-stirring crimson welling-up
     Of kisses! Oh, help me, God! Here at the source
     I'd lie for ever drinking and drawing in
     Your fountains, as heaven drinks from out their
         course
     The floods.

                      I close your ears with kisses
     And seal your nostrils; and round your neck you'll
         wear—
     Nay, let me work—a delicate chain of kisses.
     Like beads they go around, and not one misses
     To touch its fellow on either side.

                      And there
     Full mid-between the champaign of your breast
     I place a great and burning seal of love
     Like a dark rose, a mystery of rest
     On the slow bubbling of your rhythmic heart.

     Nay, I persist, and very faith shall keep
     You integral to me. Each door, each mystic port
     Of egress from you I will seal and steep
     In perfect chrism.
               Now it is done. The mort
     Will sound in heaven before it is undone.

     But let me finish what I have begun
     And shirt you now invulnerable in the mail
     Of iron kisses, kisses linked like steel.
     Put greaves upon your thighs and knees, and frail
     Webbing of steel on your feet. So you shall feel
     Ensheathed invulnerable with me, with seven
     Great seals upon your outgoings, and woven
     Chain of my mystic will wrapped perfectly
     Upon you, wrapped in indomitable me.








READING A LETTER

SHE sits on the recreation ground
       Under an oak whose yellow buds dot the pale
          blue sky.
     The young grass twinkles in the wind, and the sound
       Of the wind in the knotted buds in a canopy.

     So sitting under the knotted canopy
       Of the wind, she is lifted and carried away as in
         a balloon
     Across the insensible void, till she stoops to see
       The sandy desert beneath her, the dreary platoon.

     She knows the waste all dry beneath her, in one
          place
       Stirring with earth-coloured life, ever turning and
          stirring.
     But never the motion has a human face
       Nor sound, save intermittent machinery whirring.

     And so again, on the recreation ground
       She alights a stranger, wondering, unused to the
          scene;
     Suffering at sight of the children playing around,
       Hurt at the chalk-coloured tulips, and the even-
          ing-green.








TWENTY YEARS AGO

ROUND the house were lilacs and strawberries
       And foal-foots spangling the paths,
     And far away on the sand-hills, dewberries
       Caught dust from the sea's long swaths.

     Up the wolds the woods were walking,
       And nuts fell out of their hair.
     At the gate the nets hung, balking
       The star-lit rush of a hare.

     In the autumn fields, the stubble
       Tinkled the music of gleaning.
     At a mother's knees, the trouble
       Lost all its meaning.

     Yea, what good beginnings
       To this sad end!
     Have we had our innings?
       God forfend!








INTIME

RETURNING, I find her just the same,
     At just the same old delicate game.

     Still she says: "Nay, loose no flame
     To lick me up and do me harm!
     Be all yourself!—for oh, the charm
     Of your heart of fire in which I look!
     Oh, better there than in any book
     Glow and enact the dramas and dreams
     I love for ever!—there it seems
     You are lovelier than life itself, till desire
     Comes licking through the bars of your lips
     And over my face the stray fire slips,
     Leaving a burn and an ugly smart
     That will have the oil of illusion. Oh, heart
     Of fire and beauty, loose no more
     Your reptile flames of lust; ah, store
     Your passion in the basket of your soul,
     Be all yourself, one bonny, burning coal
     That stays with steady joy of its own fire.
     But do not seek to take me by desire.
     Oh, do not seek to thrust on me your fire!
     For in the firing all my porcelain
     Of flesh does crackle and shiver and break in pain,
     My ivory and marble black with stain,
     My veil of sensitive mystery rent in twain,
     My altars sullied, I, bereft, remain
     A priestess execrable, taken in vain—"

                              So the refrain
     Sings itself over, and so the game
     Re-starts itself wherein I am kept
     Like a glowing brazier faintly blue of flame
     So that the delicate love-adept
     Can warm her hands and invite her soul,
     Sprinkling incense and salt of words
     And kisses pale, and sipping the toll
     Of incense-smoke that rises like birds.

     Yet I've forgotten in playing this game,
     Things I have known that shall have no name;
     Forgetting the place from which I came
     I watch her ward away the flame,
     Yet warm herself at the fire—then blame
     Me that I flicker in the basket;
     Me that I glow not with content
     To have my substance so subtly spent;
     Me that I interrupt her game.
     I ought to be proud that she should ask it
     Of me to be her fire-opal—.

                              It is well
     Since I am here for so short a spell
     Not to interrupt her?—Why should I
     Break in by making any reply!








TWO WIVES

     I
INTO the shadow-white chamber silts the white
     Flux of another dawn. The wind that all night
     Long has waited restless, suddenly wafts
     A whirl like snow from the plum-trees and the pear,
     Till petals heaped between the window-shafts
                 In a drift die there.

     A nurse in white, at the dawning, flower-foamed
        pane
     Draws down the blinds, whose shadows scarcely
        stain
     The white rugs on the floor, nor the silent bed
     That rides the room like a frozen berg, its crest
     Finally ridged with the austere line of the dead
                 Stretched out at rest.

     Less than a year the fourfold feet had pressed
     The peaceful floor, when fell the sword on their rest.
     Yet soon, too soon, she had him home again
     With wounds between them, and suffering like a
        guest
     That will not go. Now suddenly going, the pain
                 Leaves an empty breast.

II

     A tall woman, with her long white gown aflow
     As she strode her limbs amongst it, once more
     She hastened towards the room. Did she know
     As she listened in silence outside the silent door?
     Entering, she saw him in outline, raised on a pyre
                 Awaiting the fire.

     Upraised on the bed, with feet erect as a bow,
     Like the prow of a boat, his head laid back like the
        stern
     Of a ship that stands in a shadowy sea of snow
     With frozen rigging, she saw him; she drooped like
        a fern
     Refolding, she slipped to the floor as a ghost-white
        peony slips
                 When the thread clips.

     Soft she lay as a shed flower fallen, nor heard
     The ominous entry, nor saw the other love,
     The dark, the grave-eyed mistress who thus dared
     At such an hour to lay her claim, above
     A stricken wife, so sunk in oblivion, bowed
                 With misery, no more proud.

III

     The stranger's hair was shorn like a lad's dark poll
     And pale her ivory face: her eyes would fail
     In silence when she looked: for all the whole
     Darkness of failure was in them, without avail.
     Dark in indomitable failure, she who had lost
                 Now claimed the host,

     She softly passed the sorrowful flower shed
     In blonde and white on the floor, nor even turned
     Her head aside, but straight towards the bed
     Moved with slow feet, and her eyes' flame steadily
        burned.
     She looked at him as he lay with banded cheek,
                 And she started to speak

     Softly: "I knew it would come to this," she said,
     "I knew that some day, soon, I should find you thus.
     So I did not fight you. You went your way instead
     Of coming mine—and of the two of us
     I died the first, I, in the after-life
                 Am now your wife."

IV

     "'Twas I whose fingers did draw up the young
     Plant of your body: to me you looked e'er sprung
     The secret of the moon within your eyes!
     My mouth you met before your fine red mouth
     Was set to song—and never your song denies
                 My love, till you went south."

     "'Twas I who placed the bloom of manhood on
     Your youthful smoothness: I fleeced where fleece
        was none
     Your fervent limbs with flickers and tendrils of new
     Knowledge; I set your heart to its stronger beat;
     I put my strength upon you, and I threw
                 My life at your feet."

     "But I whom the years had reared to be your bride,
     Who for years was sun for your shivering, shade for
        your sweat,
     Who for one strange year was as a bride to you—you
        set me aside
     With all the old, sweet things of our youth;—and
        never yet
     Have I ceased to grieve that I was not great enough
                 To defeat your baser stuff."

     V

     "But you are given back again to me
     Who have kept intact for you your virginity.
     Who for the rest of life walk out of care,
     Indifferent here of myself, since I am gone
     Where you are gone, and you and I out there
                 Walk now as one."

     "Your widow am I, and only I. I dream
     God bows his head and grants me this supreme
     Pure look of your last dead face, whence now is gone
     The mobility, the panther's gambolling,
     And all your being is given to me, so none
                 Can mock my struggling."

     "And now at last I kiss your perfect face,
     Perfecting now our unfinished, first embrace.
     Your young hushed look that then saw God ablaze
     In every bush, is given you back, and we
     Are met at length to finish our rest of days
                 In a unity."








HEIMWEH

FAR-OFF the lily-statues stand white-ranked in the
         garden at home.
     Would God they were shattered quickly, the cattle
         would tread them out in the loam.
     I wish the elder trees in flower could suddenly heave,
         and burst
     The walls of the house, and nettles puff out from
         the hearth at which I was nursed.

     It stands so still in the hush composed of trees and
         inviolate peace,
     The home of my fathers, the place that is mine, my
         fate and my old increase.
     And now that the skies are falling, the world is
         spouting in fountains of dirt,
     I would give my soul for the homestead to fall with
         me, go with me, both in one hurt.








DEBACLE

THE trees in trouble because of autumn,
       And scarlet berries falling from the bush,
     And all the myriad houseless seeds
       Loosing hold in the wind's insistent push

     Moan softly with autumnal parturition,
       Poor, obscure fruits extruded out of light
     Into the world of shadow, carried down
       Between the bitter knees of the after-night.

     Bushed in an uncouth ardour, coiled at core
       With a knot of life that only bliss can unravel,
     Fall all the fruits most bitterly into earth
       Bitterly into corrosion bitterly travel.

     What is it internecine that is locked,
       By very fierceness into a quiescence
     Within the rage? We shall not know till it burst
       Out of corrosion into new florescence.

     Nay, but how tortured is the frightful seed
       The spark intense within it, all without
     Mordant corrosion gnashing and champing hard
       For ruin on the naked small redoubt.

     Bitter, to fold the issue, and make no sally;
       To have the mystery, but not go forth;
     To bear, but retaliate nothing, given to save
       The spark in storms of corrosion, as seeds from
          the north.

     The sharper, more horrid the pressure, the harder
          the heart
       That saves the blue grain of eternal fire
     Within its quick, committed to hold and wait
       And suffer unheeding, only forbidden to expire.








NARCISSUS

WHERE the minnows trace
     A glinting web quick hid in the gloom of the brook,
     When I think of the place
     And remember the small lad lying intent to look
     Through the shadowy face
     At the little fish thread-threading the watery nook—

     It seems to me
     The woman you are should be nixie, there is a pool
     Where we ought to be.
     You undine-clear and pearly, soullessly cool
     And waterly
     The pool for my limbs to fathom, my soul's last
         school.

     Narcissus
     Ventured so long ago in the deeps of reflection.
     Illyssus
     Broke the bounds and beyond!—Dim recollection
     Of fishes
     Soundlessly moving in heaven's other direction!

     Be
     Undine towards the waters, moving back;
     For me
     A pool! Put off the soul you've got, oh lack
     Your human self immortal; take the watery track.








AUTUMN SUNSHINE

THE sun sets out the autumn crocuses
       And fills them up a pouring measure
       Of death-producing wine, till treasure
     Runs waste down their chalices.

     All, all Persephone's pale cups of mould
       Are on the board, are over-filled;
       The portion to the gods is spilled;
     Now, mortals all, take hold!

     The time is now, the wine-cup full and full
       Of lambent heaven, a pledging-cup;
       Let now all mortal men take up
     The drink, and a long, strong pull.

     Out of the hell-queen's cup, the heaven's pale wine—
       Drink then, invisible heroes, drink.
       Lips to the vessels, never shrink,
     Throats to the heavens incline.

     And take within the wine the god's great oath
       By heaven and earth and hellish stream
       To break this sick and nauseous dream
     We writhe and lust in, both.

     Swear, in the pale wine poured from the cups of the
            queen
       Of hell, to wake and be free
       From this nightmare we writhe in,
     Break out of this foul has-been.








ON THAT DAY

   ON that day
     I shall put roses on roses, and cover your grave
     With multitude of white roses: and since you were
           brave
        One bright red ray.

        So people, passing under
     The ash-trees of the valley-road, will raise
     Their eyes and look at the grave on the hill, in
           wonder,
        Wondering mount, and put the flowers asunder

        To see whose praise
     Is blazoned here so white and so bloodily red.
     Then they will say: "'Tis long since she is dead,
        Who has remembered her after many days?"

        And standing there
     They will consider how you went your ways
     Unnoticed among them, a still queen lost in the
           maze
        Of this earthly affair.

        A queen, they'll say,
     Has slept unnoticed on a forgotten hill.
     Sleeps on unknown, unnoticed there, until
        Dawns my insurgent day.








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