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Best Famous Lascelles Abercrombie Poems

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Written by Lascelles Abercrombie | Create an image from this poem

Emblems of Love

She

ONLY to be twin elements of joy
In this extravagance of Being, Love,
Were our divided natures shaped in twain;
And to this hour the whole world must consent.
Is it not very marvellous, our lives Can only come to this out of a long Strange sundering, with the years of the world between us? He Shall life do more than God? for hath not God Striven with himself, when into known delight His unaccomplisht joy he would put forth,— This mystery of a world sign of his striving? Else wherefore this, a thing to break the mind With labouring in the wonder of it, that here Being—the world and we—is suffered to be!— But, lying on thy breast one notable day, Sudden exceeding agony of love Made my mind a trance of infinite knowledge.
I was not: yet I saw the will of God As light unfashion’d, unendurable flame, Interminable, not to be supposed; And there was no more creature except light,— The dreadful burning of the lonely God’s Unutter’d joy.
And then, past telling, came Shuddering and division in the light: Therein, like trembling, was desire to know Its own perfect beauty; and it became A cloven fire, a double flaming, each Adorable to each; against itself Waging a burning love, which was the world;— A moment satisfied in that love-strife I knew the world!—And when I fell from there, Then knew I also what this life would do In being twin,—in being man and woman! For it would do even as its endless Master, Making the world, had done; yea, with itself Would strive, and for the strife would into sex Be cloven, double burning, made thereby Desirable to itself.
Contrivèd joy Is sex in life; and by no other thing Than by a perfect sundering, could life Change the dark stream of unappointed joy To perfect praise of itself, the glee that loves And worships its own Being.
This is ours! Yet only for that we have been so long Sundered desire: thence is our life all praise.
— But we, well knowing by our strength of joy There is no sundering more, how far we love From those sad lives that know a half-love only, Alone thereby knowing themselves for ever Sealed in division of love, and therefore made To pour their strength always into their love’s Fierceness, as green wood bleeds its hissing sap Into red heat of a fire! Not so do we: The cloven anger, life, hath left to wage Its flame against itself, here turned to one Self-adoration.
—Ah, what comes of this? The joy falters a moment, with closed wings Wearying in its upward journey, ere Again it goes on high, bearing its song, Its delight breathing and its vigour beating The highest height of the air above the world.
She What hast thou done to me!—I would have soul, Before I knew thee, Love, a captive held By flesh.
Now, inly delighted with desire, My body knows itself to be nought else But thy heart’s worship of me; and my soul Therein is sunlight held by warm gold air.
Nay, all my body is become a song Upon the breath of spirit, a love-song.
He And mine is all like one rapt faculty, As it were listening to the love in thee, My whole mortality trembling to take Thy body like heard singing of thy spirit.
She Surely by this, Beloved, we must know Our love is perfect here,—that not as holds The common dullard thought, we are things lost In an amazement that is all unware; But wonderfully knowing what we are! Lo, now that body is the song whereof Spirit is mood, knoweth not our delight? Knoweth not beautifully now our love, That Life, here to this festival bid come Clad in his splendour of worldly day and night, Filled and empower’d by heavenly lust, is all The glad imagination of the Spirit? He Were it not so, Love could not be at all: Nought could be, but a yearning to fulfil Desire of beauty, by vain reaching forth Of sense to hold and understand the vision Made by impassion’d body,—vision of thee! But music mixt with music are, in love, Bodily senses; and as flame hath light, Spirit this nature hath imagined round it, No way concealed therein, when love comes near, Nor in the perfect wedding of desires Suffering any hindrance.
She Ah, but now, Now am I given love’s eternal secret! Yea, thou and I who speak, are but the joy Of our for ever mated spirits; but now The wisdom of my gladness even through Spirit Looks, divinely elate.
Who hath for joy Our Spirits? Who hath imagined them Round him in fashion’d radiance of desire, As into light of these exulting bodies Flaming Spirit is uttered? He Yea, here the end Of love’s astonishment! Now know we Spirit, And Who, for ease of joy, contriveth Spirit.
Now all life’s loveliness and power we have Dissolved in this one moment, and our burning Carries all shining upward, till in us Life is not life, but the desire of God, Himself desiring and himself accepting.
Now what was prophecy in us is made Fulfilment: we are the hour and we are the joy, We in our marvellousness of single knowledge, Of Spirit breaking down the room of fate And drawing into his light the greeting fire Of God,—God known in ecstasy of love Wedding himself to utterance of himself
Written by Lascelles Abercrombie | Create an image from this poem

The Dream (Ryton Firs)

All round the knoll, on days of quietest air,
Secrets are being told; and if the trees
Speak out — let them make uproar loud as drums —
'Tis secrets still, shouted instead of whisper'd.
There must have been a warning given once: No tree, on pain of withering and sawfly, To reach the slimmest of his snaky toes Into this mounded sward and rumple it; All trees stand back: taboo is on this soil.
— The trees have always scrupulously obeyed.
The grass, that elsewhere grows as best it may Under the larches, countable long nesh blades, Here in clear sky pads the ground thick and close As wool upon a Southdown wether's back; And as in Southdown wool, your hand must sink Up to the wrist before it find the roots.
A bed for summer afternoons, this grass; But in the Spring, not too softly entangling For lively feet to dance on, when the green Flashes with daffodils.
From Marcle way, From Dymock, Kempley, Newent, Bromesberrow, Redmarley, all the meadowland daffodils seem Running in golden tides to Ryton Firs, To make the knot of steep little wooded hills Their brightest show: O bella età de l'oro! Now I breathe you again, my woods of Ryton: Not only golden with your daffodil-fires Lying in pools on the loose dusky ground Beneath the larches, tumbling in broad rivers Down sloping grass under the cherry trees And birches: but among your branches clinging A mist of that Ferrara-gold I first Loved in the easy hours then green with you; And as I stroll about you now, I have Accompanying me — like troops of lads and lasses Chattering and dancing in a shining fortune — Those mornings when your alleys of long light And your brown rosin-scented shadows were Enchanted with the laughter of my boys.
Written by Lascelles Abercrombie | Create an image from this poem

Hymn to Love

 We are thine, O Love, being in thee and made of thee,
As théou, Léove, were the déep thought
And we the speech of the thought; yea, spoken are we,
Thy fires of thought out-spoken: 

But burn’d not through us thy imagining
Like fiérce méood in a séong céaught,
We were as clamour’d words a fool may fling,
Loose words, of meaning broken.
For what more like the brainless speech of a fool,— The lives travelling dark fears, And as a boy throws pebbles in a pool Thrown down abysmal places? Hazardous are the stars, yet is our birth And our journeying time theirs; As words of air, life makes of starry earth Sweet soul-delighted faces; As voices are we in the worldly wind; The great wind of the world’s fate Is turn’d, as air to a shapen sound, to mind And marvellous desires.
But not in the world as voices storm-shatter’d, Not borne down by the wind’s weight; The rushing time rings with our splendid word Like darkness fill’d with fires.
For Love doth use us for a sound of song, And Love’s meaning our life wields, Making our souls like syllables to throng His tunes of exultation.
Down the blind speed of a fatal world we fly, As rain blown along earth’s fields; Yet are we god-desiring liturgy, Sung joys of adoration; Yea, made of chance and all a labouring strife, We go charged with a strong flame; For as a language Love hath seized on life His burning heart to story.
Yea, Love, we are thine, the liturgy of thee, Thy thought’s golden and glad name, The mortal conscience of immortal glee, Love’s zeal in Love’s own glory.
Written by Lascelles Abercrombie | Create an image from this poem

The Voices in the Dream (Ryton Firs)

Follow my heart, my dancing feet,
Dance as blithe as my heart can beat.
Only can dancing understand What a heavenly way we pass Treading the green and golden land, Daffodillies and grass.
I had a song, too, on my road, But mine was in my eyes; For Malvern Hills were with me all the way, Singing loveliest visible melodies Blue as a south-sea bay; And ruddy as wine of France Breadths of new-turn'd ploughland under them glowed.
'Twas my heart then must dance To dwell in my delight; No need to sing when all in song my sight Moved over hills so musically made And with such colour played.
— And only yesterday it was I saw Veil'd in streamers of grey wavering smoke My shapely Malvern Hills.
That was the last hail-storm to trouble spring: He came in gloomy haste, Pusht in front of the white clouds quietly basking, In such a hurry he tript against the hills And stumbling forward spilt over his shoulders All his black baggage held, Streaking downpour of hail.
Then fled dismayed, and the sun in golden glee And the high white clouds laught down his dusky ghost.
For all that's left of winter Is moisture in the ground.
When I came down the valley last, the sun Just thawed the grass and made me gentle turf, But still the frost was bony underneath.
Now moles take burrowing jaunts abroad, and ply Their shovelling hands in earth As nimbly as the strokes Of a swimmer in a long dive under water.
The meadows in the sun are twice as green For all the scatter of fresh red mounded earth, The mischief of the moles: No dullish red, Glostershire earth new-delved In April! And I think shows fairest where These rummaging small rogues have been at work.
If you will look the way the sunlight slants Making the grass one great green gem of light, Bright earth, crimson and even Scarlet, everywhere tracks The rambling underground affairs of moles: Though 'tis but kestrel-bay Looking against the sun.
But here's the happiest light can lie on ground, Grass sloping under trees Alive with yellow shine of daffodils! If quicksilver were gold, And troubled pools of it shaking in the sun It were not such a fancy of bickering gleam As Ryton daffodils when the air but stirs.
And all the miles and miles of meadowland The spring makes golden ways, Lead here, for here the gold Grows brightest for our eyes, And for our hearts lovelier even than love.
So here, each spring, our daffodil festival.
How smooth and quick the year Spins me the seasons round! How many days have slid across my mind Since we had snow pitying the frozen ground! Then winter sunshine cheered The bitter skies; the snow, Reluctantly obeying lofty winds, Drew off in shining clouds, Wishing it still might love With its white mercy the cold earth beneath.
But when the beautiful ground Lights upward all the air, Noon thaws the frozen eaves, And makes the rime on post and paling steam Silvery blue smoke in the golden day.
And soon from loaded trees in noiseless woods The snows slip thudding down, Scattering in their trail Bright icy sparkles through the glittering air; And the fir-branches, patiently bent so long, Sigh as they lift themselves to rights again.
Then warm moist hours steal in, Such as can draw the year's First fragrance from the sap of cherry wood Or from the leaves of budless violets; And travellers in lanes Catch the hot tawny smell Reynard's damp fur left as he sneakt marauding Across from gap to gap: And in the larch woods on the highest boughs The long-eared owls like grey cats sitting still Peer down to quiz the passengers below.
Light has killed the winter and all dark dreams.
Now winds live all in light, Light has come down to earth and blossoms here, And we have golden minds.
From out the long shade of a road high-bankt, I came on shelving fields; And from my feet cascading, Streaming down the land, Flickering lavish of daffodils flowed and fell; Like sunlight on a water thrill'd with haste, Such clear pale quivering flame, But a flame even more marvellously yellow.
And all the way to Ryton here I walkt Ankle-deep in light.
It was as if the world had just begun; And in a mind new-made Of shadowless delight My spirit drank my flashing senses in, And gloried to be made Of young mortality.
No darker joy than this Golden amazement now Shall dare intrude into our dazzling lives: Stain were it now to know Mists of sweet warmth and deep delicious colour, Those lovable accomplices that come Befriending languid hours.
Written by Lascelles Abercrombie | Create an image from this poem

From Vashti

 WHAT thing shall be held up to woman's beauty? 
Where are the bounds of it? Yea, what is all 
The world, but an awning scaffolded amid 
The waste perilous Eternity, to lodge 
This Heaven-wander'd princess, woman's beauty? 
The East and West kneel down to thee, the North 
And South; and all for thee their shoulders bear 
The load of fourfold space.
As yellow morn Runs on the slippery waves of the spread sea, Thy feet are on the griefs and joys of men That sheen to be thy causey.
Out of tears Indeed, and blitheness, murder and lust and love, Whatever has been passionate in clay, Thy flesh was tempered.
Behold in thy body The yearnings of all men measured and told, Insatiate endless agonies of desire Given thy flesh, the meaning of thy shape! What beauty is there, but thou makest it? How is earth good to look on, woods and fields, The season's garden, and the courageous hills, All this green raft of earth moored in the seas? The manner of the sun to ride the air, The stars God has imagined for the night? What's this behind them, that we cannot near, Secret still on the point of being blabbed, The ghost in the world that flies from being named? Where do they get their beauty from, all these? They do but glaze a lantern lit for man, And woman's beauty is the flame therein.
Written by Lascelles Abercrombie | Create an image from this poem

Song from Judith 3

 BALKIS was in her marble town, 
And shadow over the world came down.
Whiteness of walls, towers and piers, That all day dazzled eyes to tears, Turned from being white-golden flame, And like the deep-sea blue became.
Balkis into her garden went; Her spirit was in discontent Like a torch in restless air.
Joylessly she wandered there, And saw her city's azure white Lying under the great night, Beautiful as the memory Of a worshipping world would be In the mind of a god, in the hour When he must kill his outward power; And, coming to a pool where trees Grew in double greeneries, Saw herself, as she went by The water, walking beautifully, And saw the stars shine in the glance Of her eyes, and her own fair countenance Passing, pale and wonderful, Across the night that filled the pool.
And cruel was the grief that played With the queen's spirit; and she said: 'What do I here, reigning alone? For to be unloved is to be alone.
There is no man in all my land Dare my longing understand; The whole folk like a peasant bows Lest its look should meet my brows And be harmed by this beauty of mine.
I burn their brains as I were sign Of God's beautiful anger sent To master them with punishment Of beauty that must pour distress On hearts grown dark with ugliness.
But it is I am the punisht one.
Is there no man, is there none, In whom my beauty will but move The lust of a delighted love; In whom some spirit of God so thrives That we may wed our lonely lives.
Is there no man, is there none? '— She said, 'I will go to Solomon.
'
Written by Lascelles Abercrombie | Create an image from this poem

Ryton Firs

The Dream
All round the knoll, on days of quietest air,
Secrets are being told; and if the trees
Speak out — let them make uproar loud as drums — 
'Tis secrets still, shouted instead of whisper'd.

There must have been a warning given once:
No tree, on pain of withering and sawfly,
To reach the slimmest of his snaky toes
Into this mounded sward and rumple it;
All trees stand back: taboo is on this soil. — 

The trees have always scrupulously obeyed.
The grass, that elsewhere grows as best it may
Under the larches, countable long nesh blades,
Here in clear sky pads the ground thick and close
As wool upon a Southdown wether's back;
And as in Southdown wool, your hand must sink
Up to the wrist before it find the roots.
A bed for summer afternoons, this grass;
But in the Spring, not too softly entangling
For lively feet to dance on, when the green
Flashes with daffodils. From Marcle way,
From Dymock, Kempley, Newent, Bromesberrow,
Redmarley, all the meadowland daffodils seem
Running in golden tides to Ryton Firs,
To make the knot of steep little wooded hills
Their brightest show: O bella età de l'oro!
Now I breathe you again, my woods of Ryton:
Not only golden with your daffodil-fires
Lying in pools on the loose dusky ground
Beneath the larches, tumbling in broad rivers
Down sloping grass under the cherry trees
And birches: but among your branches clinging
A mist of that Ferrara-gold I first
Loved in the easy hours then green with you;
And as I stroll about you now, I have
Accompanying me — like troops of lads and lasses
Chattering and dancing in a shining fortune — 
Those mornings when your alleys of long light
And your brown rosin-scented shadows were
Enchanted with the laughter of my boys.

The Voices in the Dream
Follow my heart, my dancing feet,
Dance as blithe as my heart can beat.
Only can dancing understand
What a heavenly way we pass
Treading the green and golden land,
Daffodillies and grass.

I had a song, too, on my road,
But mine was in my eyes;
For Malvern Hills were with me all the way,
Singing loveliest visible melodies
Blue as a south-sea bay;
And ruddy as wine of France
Breadths of new-turn'd ploughland under them glowed.
'Twas my heart then must dance
To dwell in my delight;
No need to sing when all in song my sight
Moved over hills so musically made
And with such colour played. — 
And only yesterday it was I saw
Veil'd in streamers of grey wavering smoke
My shapely Malvern Hills.
That was the last hail-storm to trouble spring:
He came in gloomy haste,
Pusht in front of the white clouds quietly basking,
In such a hurry he tript against the hills 
And stumbling forward spilt over his shoulders 
All his black baggage held,
Streaking downpour of hail.
Then fled dismayed, and the sun in golden glee
And the high white clouds laught down his dusky ghost.

For all that's left of winter
Is moisture in the ground.
When I came down the valley last, the sun
Just thawed the grass and made me gentle turf,
But still the frost was bony underneath.
Now moles take burrowing jaunts abroad, and ply
Their shovelling hands in earth
As nimbly as the strokes
Of a swimmer in a long dive under water.
The meadows in the sun are twice as green
For all the scatter of fresh red mounded earth,
The mischief of the moles:
No dullish red, Glostershire earth new-delved
In April! And I think shows fairest where
These rummaging small rogues have been at work.
If you will look the way the sunlight slants
Making the grass one great green gem of light,
Bright earth, crimson and even
Scarlet, everywhere tracks
The rambling underground affairs of moles:
Though 'tis but kestrel-bay
Looking against the sun.

But here's the happiest light can lie on ground,
Grass sloping under trees
Alive with yellow shine of daffodils!
If quicksilver were gold,
And troubled pools of it shaking in the sun
It were not such a fancy of bickering gleam
As Ryton daffodils when the air but stirs.
And all the miles and miles of meadowland
The spring makes golden ways,
Lead here, for here the gold
Grows brightest for our eyes,
And for our hearts lovelier even than love.
So here, each spring, our daffodil festival.

How smooth and quick the year
Spins me the seasons round!
How many days have slid across my mind
Since we had snow pitying the frozen ground!
Then winter sunshine cheered
The bitter skies; the snow,
Reluctantly obeying lofty winds,
Drew off in shining clouds,
Wishing it still might love
With its white mercy the cold earth beneath.
But when the beautiful ground
Lights upward all the air,
Noon thaws the frozen eaves,
And makes the rime on post and paling steam
Silvery blue smoke in the golden day.
And soon from loaded trees in noiseless woods
The snows slip thudding down,
Scattering in their trail
Bright icy sparkles through the glittering air;
And the fir-branches, patiently bent so long,
Sigh as they lift themselves to rights again.
Then warm moist hours steal in,
Such as can draw the year's
First fragrance from the sap of cherry wood
Or from the leaves of budless violets;
And travellers in lanes
Catch the hot tawny smell 
Reynard's damp fur left as he sneakt marauding 

Across from gap to gap:
And in the larch woods on the highest boughs
The long-eared owls like grey cats sitting still
Peer down to quiz the passengers below.

Light has killed the winter and all dark dreams.
Now winds live all in light,
Light has come down to earth and blossoms here,
And we have golden minds.
From out the long shade of a road high-bankt,
I came on shelving fields;
And from my feet cascading,
Streaming down the land,
Flickering lavish of daffodils flowed and fell;
Like sunlight on a water thrill'd with haste,
Such clear pale quivering flame,
But a flame even more marvellously yellow.
And all the way to Ryton here I walkt
Ankle-deep in light.
It was as if the world had just begun;
And in a mind new-made
Of shadowless delight
My spirit drank my flashing senses in,
And gloried to be made
Of young mortality.
No darker joy than this
Golden amazement now
Shall dare intrude into our dazzling lives:
Stain were it now to know
Mists of sweet warmth and deep delicious colour,
Those lovable accomplices that come
Befriending languid hours.