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Best Famous Amy Levy Poems

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by Amy Levy | |

In the Nower

 To J.
De P.
Deep in the grass outstretched I lie, Motionless on the hill; Above me is a cloudless sky, Around me all is still: There is no breath, no sound, no stir, The drowsy peace to break: I close my tired eyes--it were So simple not to wake.


by Amy Levy | |

June

 Last June I saw your face three times;
Three times I touched your hand;
Now, as before, May month is o'er,
And June is in the land.
O many Junes shall come and go, Flow'r-footed o'er the mead; O many Junes for me, to whom Is length of days decreed.
There shall be sunlight, scent of rose; Warm mist of summer rain; Only this change--I shall not look Upon your face again.


by Amy Levy | |

Oh Is It Love?

 O is it Love or is it Fame,
This thing for which I sigh?
Or has it then no earthly name
For men to call it by?

I know not what can ease my pains,
Nor what it is I wish;
The passion at my heart-strings strains
Like a tiger in a leash.


by Amy Levy | |

On the Threshold

 O God, my dream! I dreamed that you were dead;
Your mother hung above the couch and wept
Whereon you lay all white, and garlanded
With blooms of waxen whiteness.
I had crept Up to your chamber-door, which stood ajar, And in the doorway watched you from afar, Nor dared advance to kiss your lips and brow.
I had no part nor lot in you, as now; Death had not broken between us the old bar; Nor torn from out my heart the old, cold sense Of your misprision and my impotence.


by Amy Levy | |

The Two Terrors

 Two terrors fright my soul by night and day:
The first is Life, and with her come the years;
A weary, winding train of maidens they,
With forward-fronting eyes, too sad for tears;
Upon whose kindred faces, blank and grey,
The shadow of a kindred woe appears.
Death is the second terror; who shall say What form beneath the shrouding mantle nears? Which way she turn, my soul finds no relief, My smitten soul may not be comforted; Alternately she swings from grief to grief, And, poised between them, sways from dread to dread.
For there she dreads because she knows; and here, Because she knows not, only faints with fear.


by Amy Levy | |

On the Wye in May

 Now is the perfect moment of the year.
Half naked branches, half a mist of green, Vivid and delicate the slopes appear; The cool, soft air is neither fierce nor keen, And in the temperate sun we feel no fear; Of all the hours which shall be and have been, It is the briefest as it is most dear, It is the dearest as the shortest seen.
O it was best, belovèd, at the first.
-- Our hands met gently, and our meeting sight Was steady; on our senses scarce had burst The faint, fresh fragrance of the new delight.
.
.
I seek that clime, unknown, without a name, Where first and best and last shall be the same.


by Amy Levy | |

Out of Town

 Out of town the sky was bright and blue,
Never fog-cloud, lowering, thick, was seen to frown;
Nature dons a garb of gayer hue,
Out of town.
Spotless lay the snow on field and down, Pure and keen the air above it blew; All wore peace and beauty for a crown.
London sky, marred by smoke, veiled from view, London snow, trodden thin, dingy brown, Whence that strange unrest at thoughts of you Out of town?


by Amy Levy | |

A Cross-Road Epitaph

 "Am Kreuzweg wird begraben
Wer selber brachte sich um.
" When first the world grew dark to me I call'd on God, yet came not he.
Whereon, as wearier wax'd my lot, On Love I call'd, but Love came not.
When a worse evil did befall, Death, on thee only did I call.


by Amy Levy | |

A Dirge

 "Mein Herz, mein Herz ist traurig
Doch lustig leuchtet der Mai"


There's May amid the meadows,
There's May amid the trees;
Her May-time note the cuckoo
Sends forth upon the breeze.
Above the rippling river May swallows skim and dart; November and December Keep watch within my heart.
The spring breathes in the breezes, The woods with wood-notes ring, And all the budding hedgerows Are fragrant of the spring.
In secret, silent places The live green things upstart; Ice-bound, ice-crown'd dwells winter For ever in my heart.
Upon the bridge I linger, Near where the lime-trees grow; Above, swart birds are circling, Beneath, the stream runs slow.
A stripling and a maiden Come wand'ring up the way; His eyes are glad with springtime, Her face is fair with May.
Of warmth the sun and sweetness All nature takes a part; The ice of all the ages Weighs down upon my heart.


by Amy Levy | |

A Farewell

 (After Heine.
) The sad rain falls from Heaven, A sad bird pipes and sings ; I am sitting here at my window And watching the spires of "King's.
" O fairest of all fair places, Sweetest of all sweet towns! With the birds, and the greyness and greenness, And the men in caps and gowns.
All they that dwell within thee, To leave are ever loth, For one man gets friends, and another Gets honour, and one gets both.
The sad rain falls from Heaven; My heart is great with woe-- I have neither a friend nor honour, Yet I am sorry to go.


by Amy Levy | |

A London Plane-Tree

 Green is the plane-tree in the square,
The other trees are brown;
They droop and pine for country air;
The plane-tree loves the town.
Here from my garret-pane, I mark The plane-tree bud and blow, Shed her recuperative bark, And spread her shade below.
Among her branches, in and out, The city breezes play; The dun fog wraps her round about; Above, the smoke curls grey.
Others the country take for choice, And hold the town in scorn; But she has listened to the voice On city breezes borne.


by Amy Levy | |

A Prayer

 Since that I may not have
Love on this side the grave,
Let me imagine Love.
Since not mine is the bliss Of 'claspt hands and lips that kiss,' Let me in dreams it prove.
What tho' as the years roll No soul shall melt to my soul, Let me conceive such thing; Tho' never shall entwine Loving arms around mine Let dreams caresses bring.
To live--it is my doom-- Lonely as in a tomb, This cross on me was laid; My God, I know not why; Here in the dark I lie, Lonely, yet not afraid.
It has seemed good to Thee Still to withhold the key Which opes the way to men; I am shut in alone, I make not any moan, Thy ways are past my ken.
Yet grant me this, to find The sweetness in my mind Which I must still forego; Great God which art above, Grant me to image Love,-- The bliss without the woe.


by Amy Levy | |

A Reminiscence

 It is so long gone by, and yet
How clearly now I see it all!
The glimmer of your cigarette,
The little chamber, narrow and tall.
Perseus; your picture in its frame; (How near they seem and yet how far!) The blaze of kindled logs; the flame Of tulips in a mighty jar.
Florence and spring-time: surely each Glad things unto the spirit saith.
Why did you lead me in your speech To these dark mysteries of death?


by Amy Levy | |

A Wall Flower

 I lounge in the doorway and languish in vain
While Tom, Dick and Harry are dancing with Jane


My spirit rises to the music's beat;
There is a leaden fiend lurks in my feet!
To move unto your motion, Love, were sweet.
Somewhere, I think, some other where, not here, In other ages, on another sphere, I danced with you, and you with me, my dear.
In perfect motion did our bodies sway, To perfect music that was heard alway; Woe's me, that am so dull of foot to-day! To move unto your motion, Love, were sweet; My spirit rises to the music's beat-- But, ah, the leaden demon in my feet!


by Amy Levy | |

At a Dinner Party

 With fruit and flowers the board is deckt,
The wine and laughter flow;
I'll not complain--could one expect
So dull a world to know?

You look across the fruit and flowers,
My glance your glances find.
-- It is our secret, only ours, Since all the world is blind.


by Amy Levy | |

At Dawn

 In the night I dreamed of you;
All the place was filled
With your presence; in my heart
The strife was stilled.
All night I have dreamed of you; Now the morn is grey.
-- How shall I arise and face The empty day?


by Amy Levy | |

Ballade of a Special Edition

 He comes; I hear him up the street--
Bird of ill omen, flapping wide
The pinion of a printed sheet,
His hoarse note scares the eventide.
Of slaughter, theft, and suicide He is the herald and the friend; Now he vociferates with pride-- A double murder in Mile End! A hanging to his soul is sweet; His gloating fancy's fain to bide Where human-freighted vessels meet, And misdirected trains collide.
With Shocking Accidents supplied, He tramps the town from end to end.
How often have we heard it cried-- A double murder in Mile End.
War loves he; victory or defeat, So there be loss on either side.
His tale of horrors incomplete, Imagination's aid is tried.
Since no distinguished man has died, And since the Fates, relenting, send No great catastrophe, he's spied This double murder in Mile End.
Fiend, get thee gone! no more repeat Those sounds which do mine ears offend.
It is apocryphal, you cheat, Your double murder in Mile End.


by Amy Levy | |

Ballade of an Omnibus

 "To see my love suffices me.
" --Ballades in Blue China.
Some men to carriages aspire; On some the costly hansoms wait; Some seek a fly, on job or hire; Some mount the trotting steed, elate.
I envy not the rich and great, A wandering minstrel, poor and free, I am contented with my fate -- An omnibus suffices me.
In winter days of rain and mire I find within a corner strait; The 'busmen know me and my lyre From Brompton to the Bull-and-Gate.
When summer comes, I mount in state The topmost summit, whence I see Crœsus look up, compassionate -- An omnibus suffices me.
I mark, untroubled by desire, Lucullus' phaeton and its freight.
The scene whereof I cannot tire, The human tale of love and hate, The city pageant, early and late Unfolds itself, rolls by, to be A pleasure deep and delicate.
An omnibus suffices me.
Princess, your splendour you require, I, my simplicity; agree Neither to rate lower nor higher.
An omnibus suffices me.


by Amy Levy | |

Between the Showers

 Between the showers I went my way,
The glistening street was bright with flowers;
It seemed that March had turned to May
Between the showers.
Above the shining roofs and towers The blue broke forth athwart the grey; Birds carolled in their leafless bowers.
Hither and tither, swift and gay, The people chased the changeful hours; And you, you passed and smiled that day, Between the showers.


by Amy Levy | |

Borderland

 Am I waking, am I sleeping?
As the first faint dawn comes creeping
Thro' the pane, I am aware
Of an unseen presence hovering,
Round, above, in the dusky air:
A downy bird, with an odorous wing,
That fans my forehead, and sheds perfume,
As sweet as love, as soft as death,
Drowsy-slow through the summer-gloom.
My heart in some dream-rapture saith, It is she.
Half in a swoon, I spread my arms in slow delight.
-- O prolong, prolong the night, For the nights are short in June!