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Best Famous Conrad Aiken Poems

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by Conrad Aiken | |

Chance Meetings

In the mazes of loitering people, the watchful and furtive, 
The shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves, 
In the drowse of the sunlight, among the low voices, 
I suddenly face you, 
  
Your dark eyes return for a space from her who is with you, 
They shine into mine with a sunlit desire, 
They say an 'I love you, what star do you live on?' 
They smile and then darken, 
  
And silent, I answer 'You too--I have known you,--I love you!--' 
And the shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves 
Interlace with low voices and footsteps and sunlight 
To divide us forever.


by Conrad Aiken | |

The House Of Dust: Part 03: 13: The half-shut doors through which we heard that music

 The half-shut doors through which we heard that music
Are softly closed.
Horns mutter down to silence.
The stars whirl out, the night grows deep.
Darkness settles upon us.
A vague refrain Drowsily teases at the drowsy brain.
In numberless rooms we stretch ourselves and sleep.
Where have we been? What savage chaos of music Whirls in our dreams?—We suddenly rise in darkness, Open our eyes, cry out, and sleep once more.
We dream we are numberless sea-waves languidly foaming A warm white moonlit shore; Or clouds blown windily over a sky at midnight, Or chords of music scattered in hurrying darkness, Or a singing sound of rain .
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We open our eyes and stare at the coiling darkness, And enter our dreams again.


by Conrad Aiken | |

Turns And Movies: Duvals Birds

 The parrot, screeching, flew out into the darkness, 
Circled three times above the upturned faces 
With a great whir of brilliant outspread wings, 
And then returned to stagger on her finger.
She bowed and smiled, eliciting applause.
.
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The property man hated her dirty birds.
But it had taken years—yes, years—to train them, To shoulder flags, strike bells by tweaking strings, Or climb sedately little flights of stairs.
When they were stubborn, she tapped them with a wand, And her eyes glittered a little under the eyebrows.
The red one flapped and flapped on a swinging wire; The little white ones winked round yellow eyes.


by Conrad Aiken | |

Turns And Movies: Violet Moore And Bert Moore

 He thinks her little feet should pass 
Where dandelions star thickly grass; 
Her hands should lift in sunlit air 
Sea-wind should tangle up her hair.
Green leaves, he says, have never heard A sweeter ragtime mockingbird, Nor has the moon-man ever seen, Or man in the spotlight, leering green, Such a beguiling, smiling queen.
Her eyes, he says, are stars at dusk, Her mouth as sweet as red-rose musk; And when she dances his young heart swells With flutes and viols and silver bells; His brain is dizzy, his senses swim, When she slants her ragtime eyes at him.
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Moonlight shadows, he bids her see, Move no more silently than she.
It was this way, he says, she came, Into his cold heart, bearing flame.
And now that his heart is all on fire Will she refuse his heart's desire?— And O! has the Moon Man ever seen (Or the spotlight devil, leering green) A sweeter shadow upon a screen?


by Conrad Aiken | |

The House Of Dust: Introduction

 THE HOUSE OF DUST
A Symphony

BY
CONRAD AIKEN

To Jessie

NOTE

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Parts of this poem have been printed in "The North American Review, Others, Poetry, Youth, Coterie, The Yale Review".
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I am indebted to Lafcadio Hearn for the episode called "The Screen Maiden" in Part II.
This text comes from the source available at Project Gutenberg, originally prepared by Judy Boss of Omaha, NE.


by Conrad Aiken | |

Music I Heard

 Music I heard with you was more than music, 
And bread I broke with you was more than bread; 
Now that I am without you, all is desolate; 
All that was once so beautiful is dead.
Your hands once touched this table and this silver, And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved, And yet your touch upon them will not pass.
For it was in my heart that you moved among them, And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes; And in my heart they will remember always, —They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.


by Conrad Aiken | |

All Lovely Things

 All lovely things will have an ending, 
All lovely things will fade and die, 
And youth, that's now so bravely spending, 
Will beg a penny by and by.
Fine ladies soon are all forgotten, And goldenrod is dust when dead, The sweetest flesh and flowers are rotten And cobwebs tent the brightest head.
Come back, true love! Sweet youth, return!— But time goes on, and will, unheeding, Though hands will reach, and eyes will yearn, And the wild days set true hearts bleeding.
Come back, true love! Sweet youth, remain!— But goldenrod and daisies wither, And over them blows autumn rain, They pass, they pass, and know not whither.


by Conrad Aiken | |

The House Of Dust: Part 01: 08: The white fog creeps from the cold sea over the city

 The white fog creeps from the cold sea over the city,
Over the pale grey tumbled towers,—
And settles among the roofs, the pale grey walls.
Along damp sinuous streets it crawls, Curls like a dream among the motionless trees And seems to freeze.
The fog slips ghostlike into a thousand rooms, Whirls over sleeping faces, Spins in an atomy dance round misty street lamps; And blows in cloudy waves over open spaces .
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And one from his high window, looking down, Peers at the cloud-white town, And thinks its island towers are like a dream .
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It seems an enormous sleeper, within whose brain Laborious shadows revolve and break and gleam.