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Best Famous Betrayal Poems

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12
Written by Anne Sexton | Create an image from this poem

The Break Away

 Your daisies have come
on the day of my divorce:
the courtroom a cement box,
a gas chamber for the infectious Jew in me
and a perhaps land, a possibly promised land
for the Jew in me,
but still a betrayal room for the till-death-do-us—
and yet a death, as in the unlocking of scissors
that makes the now separate parts useless,
even to cut each other up as we did yearly
under the crayoned-in sun.
The courtroom keeps squashing our lives as they break into two cans ready for recycling, flattened tin humans and a tin law, even for my twenty-five years of hanging on by my teeth as I once saw at Ringling Brothers.
The gray room: Judge, lawyer, witness and me and invisible Skeezix, and all the other torn enduring the bewilderments of their division.
Your daisies have come on the day of my divorce.
They arrive like round yellow fish, sucking with love at the coral of our love.
Yet they wait, in their short time, like little utero half-borns, half killed, thin and bone soft.
They breathe the air that stands for twenty-five illicit days, the sun crawling inside the sheets, the moon spinning like a tornado in the washbowl, and we orchestrated them both, calling ourselves TWO CAMP DIRECTORS.
There was a song, our song on your cassette, that played over and over and baptised the prodigals.
It spoke the unspeakable, as the rain will on an attic roof, letting the animal join its soul as we kneeled before a miracle-- forgetting its knife.
The daisies confer in the old-married kitchen papered with blue and green chefs who call out pies, cookies, yummy, at the charcoal and cigarette smoke they wear like a yellowy salve.
The daisies absorb it all-- the twenty-five-year-old sanctioned love (If one could call such handfuls of fists and immobile arms that!) and on this day my world rips itself up while the country unfastens along with its perjuring king and his court.
It unfastens into an abortion of belief, as in me-- the legal rift-- as on might do with the daisies but does not for they stand for a love undergoihng open heart surgery that might take if one prayed tough enough.
And yet I demand, even in prayer, that I am not a thief, a mugger of need, and that your heart survive on its own, belonging only to itself, whole, entirely whole, and workable in its dark cavern under your ribs.
I pray it will know truth, if truth catches in its cup and yet I pray, as a child would, that the surgery take.
I dream it is taking.
Next I dream the love is swallowing itself.
Next I dream the love is made of glass, glass coming through the telephone that is breaking slowly, day by day, into my ear.
Next I dream that I put on the love like a lifejacket and we float, jacket and I, we bounce on that priest-blue.
We are as light as a cat's ear and it is safe, safe far too long! And I awaken quickly and go to the opposite window and peer down at the moon in the pond and know that beauty has walked over my head, into this bedroom and out, flowing out through the window screen, dropping deep into the water to hide.
I will observe the daisies fade and dry up wuntil they become flour, snowing themselves onto the table beside the drone of the refrigerator, beside the radio playing Frankie (as often as FM will allow) snowing lightly, a tremor sinking from the ceiling-- as twenty-five years split from my side like a growth that I sliced off like a melanoma.
It is six P.
M.
as I water these tiny weeds and their little half-life, their numbered days that raged like a secret radio, recalling love that I picked up innocently, yet guiltily, as my five-year-old daughter picked gum off the sidewalk and it became suddenly an elastic miracle.
For me it was love found like a diamond where carrots grow-- the glint of diamond on a plane wing, meaning: DANGER! THICK ICE! but the good crunch of that orange, the diamond, the carrot, both with four million years of resurrecting dirt, and the love, although Adam did not know the word, the love of Adam obeying his sudden gift.
You, who sought me for nine years, in stories made up in front of your naked mirror or walking through rooms of fog women, you trying to forget the mother who built guilt with the lumber of a locked door as she sobbed her soured mild and fed you loss through the keyhole, you who wrote out your own birth and built it with your own poems, your own lumber, your own keyhole, into the trunk and leaves of your manhood, you, who fell into my words, years before you fell into me (the other, both the Camp Director and the camper), you who baited your hook with wide-awake dreams, and calls and letters and once a luncheon, and twice a reading by me for you.
But I wouldn't! Yet this year, yanking off all past years, I took the bait and was pulled upward, upward, into the sky and was held by the sun-- the quick wonder of its yellow lap-- and became a woman who learned her own shin and dug into her soul and found it full, and you became a man who learned his won skin and dug into his manhood, his humanhood and found you were as real as a baker or a seer and we became a home, up into the elbows of each other's soul, without knowing-- an invisible purchase-- that inhabits our house forever.
We were blessed by the House-Die by the altar of the color T.
V.
and somehow managed to make a tiny marriage, a tiny marriage called belief, as in the child's belief in the tooth fairy, so close to absolute, so daft within a year or two.
The daisies have come for the last time.
And I who have, each year of my life, spoken to the tooth fairy, believing in her, even when I was her, am helpless to stop your daisies from dying, although your voice cries into the telephone: Marry me! Marry me! and my voice speaks onto these keys tonight: The love is in dark trouble! The love is starting to die, right now-- we are in the process of it.
The empty process of it.
I see two deaths, and the two men plod toward the mortuary of my heart, and though I willed one away in court today and I whisper dreams and birthdays into the other, they both die like waves breaking over me and I am drowning a little, but always swimming among the pillows and stones of the breakwater.
And though your daisies are an unwanted death, I wade through the smell of their cancer and recognize the prognosis, its cartful of loss-- I say now, you gave what you could.
It was quite a ferris wheel to spin on! and the dead city of my marriage seems less important than the fact that the daisies came weekly, over and over, likes kisses that can't stop themselves.
There sit two deaths on November 5th, 1973.
Let one be forgotten-- Bury it! Wall it up! But let me not forget the man of my child-like flowers though he sinks into the fog of Lake Superior, he remains, his fingers the marvel of fourth of July sparklers, his furious ice cream cones of licking, remains to cool my forehead with a washcloth when I sweat into the bathtub of his being.
For the rest that is left: name it gentle, as gentle as radishes inhabiting their short life in the earth, name it gentle, gentle as old friends waving so long at the window, or in the drive, name it gentle as maple wings singing themselves upon the pond outside, as sensuous as the mother-yellow in the pond, that night that it was ours, when our bodies floated and bumped in moon water and the cicadas called out like tongues.
Let such as this be resurrected in all men whenever they mold their days and nights as when for twenty-five days and nights you molded mine and planted the seed that dives into my God and will do so forever no matter how often I sweep the floor.
Written by Philip Levine | Create an image from this poem

The Negatives

 On March 1, 1958, four deserters from the French Army of North Africa, 
August Rein, Henri Bruette, Jack Dauville, & Thomas Delain, robbed a 
government pay station at Orleansville.
Because of the subsequent confession of Dauville the other three were captured or shot.
Dauville was given his freedom and returned to the land of his birth, the U.
S.
A.
AUGUST REIN: from a last camp near St.
Remy I dig in the soft earth all afternoon, spacing the holes a foot or so from the wall.
Tonight we eat potatoes, tomorrow rice and carrots.
The earth here is like the earth nowhere, ancient with wood rot.
How can anything come forth, I wonder; and the days are all alike, if there is more than one day.
If there is more of this I will not endure.
I have grown so used to being watched I can no longer sleep without my watcher.
The thing I fought against, the dark cape, crimsoned with terror that I so hated comforts me now.
Thomas is dead; insanity, prison, cowardice, or slow inner capitulation has found us all, and all men turn from us, knowing our pain is not theirs or caused by them.
HENRI BRUETTE: from a hospital in Algiers Dear Suzanne: this letter will not reach you because I can't write it; I have no pencil, no paper, only the blunt end of my anger.
My dear, if I had words how could I report the imperfect failure for which I began to die? I might begin by saying that it was for clarity, though I did not find it in terror: dubiously entered each act, unsure of who I was and what I did, touching my face for fear I was another inside my head I played back pictures of my childhood, of my wife even, for it was in her I found myself beaten, safe, and furthest from the present.
It is her face I see now though all I say is meant for you, her face in the slow agony of sexual release.
I cannot see you.
The dark wall ribbed with spittle on which I play my childhood brings me to this bed, mastered by what I was, betrayed by those I trusted.
The one word my mouth must open to is why.
JACK DAUVILLE: from a hotel in Tampa, Florida From Orleansville we drove south until we reached the hills, then east until the road stopped.
I was nervous and couldn't eat.
Thomas took over, told us when to think and when to ****.
We turned north and reached Blida by first dawn and the City by morning, having dumped our weapons beside an empty road.
We were free.
We parted, and to this hour I haven't seen them, except in photographs: the black hair and torn features of Thomas Delain captured a moment before his death on the pages of the world, smeared in the act.
I tortured myself with their betrayal: alone I hurled them into freedom, inner freedom which I can't find nor ever will until they are dead.
In my mind Delain stands against the wall precise in detail, steadied for the betrayal.
"La France C'Est Moi," he cried, but the irony was lost.
Since I returned to the U.
S.
nothing goes well.
I stay up too late, don't sleep, and am losing weight.
Thomas, I say, is dead, but what use telling myself what I won't believe.
The hotel quiets early at night, the aged brace themselves for another sleep, and offshore the sea quickens its pace.
I am suddenly old, caught in a strange country for which no man would die.
THOMAS DELAIN: from a journal found on his person At night wakened by the freight trains boring through the suburbs of Lyon, I watched first light corrode the darkness, disturb what little wildlife was left in the alleys: birds moved from branch to branch, and the dogs leapt at the garbage.
Winter numbed even the hearts of the young who had only their hearts.
We heard the war coming; the long wait was over, and we moved along the crowded roads south not looking for what lost loves fell by the roadsides.
To flee at all cost, that was my youth.
Here in the African night wakened by what I do not know and shivering in the heat, listen as the men fight with sleep.
Loosed from their weapons they cry out, frightened and young, who have never been children.
Once merely to be strong, to live, was moral.
Within these uniforms we accept the evil we were chosen to deliver, and no act human or benign can free us from ourselves.
Wait, sleep, blind soldiers of a blind will, and listen for that old command dreaming of authority.
Written by Anne Sexton | Create an image from this poem

Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty)

 Consider
a girl who keeps slipping off,
arms limp as old carrots,
into the hypnotist's trance,
into a spirit world
speaking with the gift of tongues.
She is stuck in the time machine, suddenly two years old sucking her thumb, as inward as a snail, learning to talk again.
She's on a voyage.
She is swimming further and further back, up like a salmon, struggling into her mother's pocketbook.
Little doll child, come here to Papa.
Sit on my knee.
I have kisses for the back of your neck.
A penny for your thoughts, Princess.
I will hunt them like an emerald.
Come be my snooky and I will give you a root.
That kind of voyage, rank as a honeysuckle.
Once a king had a christening for his daughter Briar Rose and because he had only twelve gold plates he asked only twelve fairies to the grand event.
The thirteenth fairy, her fingers as long and thing as straws, her eyes burnt by cigarettes, her uterus an empty teacup, arrived with an evil gift.
She made this prophecy: The princess shall prick herself on a spinning wheel in her fifteenth year and then fall down dead.
Kaputt! The court fell silent.
The king looked like Munch's Scream Fairies' prophecies, in times like those, held water.
However the twelfth fairy had a certain kind of eraser and thus she mitigated the curse changing that death into a hundred-year sleep.
The king ordered every spinning wheel exterminated and exorcised.
Briar Rose grew to be a goddess and each night the king bit the hem of her gown to keep her safe.
He fastened the moon up with a safety pin to give her perpetual light He forced every male in the court to scour his tongue with Bab-o lest they poison the air she dwelt in.
Thus she dwelt in his odor.
Rank as honeysuckle.
On her fifteenth birthday she pricked her finger on a charred spinning wheel and the clocks stopped.
Yes indeed.
She went to sleep.
The king and queen went to sleep, the courtiers, the flies on the wall.
The fire in the hearth grew still and the roast meat stopped crackling.
The trees turned into metal and the dog became china.
They all lay in a trance, each a catatonic stuck in a time machine.
Even the frogs were zombies.
Only a bunch of briar roses grew forming a great wall of tacks around the castle.
Many princes tried to get through the brambles for they had heard much of Briar Rose but they had not scoured their tongues so they were held by the thorns and thus were crucified.
In due time a hundred years passed and a prince got through.
The briars parted as if for Moses and the prince found the tableau intact.
He kissed Briar Rose and she woke up crying: Daddy! Daddy! Presto! She's out of prison! She married the prince and all went well except for the fear -- the fear of sleep.
Briar Rose was an insomniac.
.
.
She could not nap or lie in sleep without the court chemist mixing her some knock-out drops and never in the prince's presence.
If if is to come, she said, sleep must take me unawares while I am laughing or dancing so that I do not know that brutal place where I lie down with cattle prods, the hole in my cheek open.
Further, I must not dream for when I do I see the table set and a faltering crone at my place, her eyes burnt by cigarettes as she eats betrayal like a slice of meat.
I must not sleep for while I'm asleep I'm ninety and think I'm dying.
Death rattles in my throat like a marble.
I wear tubes like earrings.
I lie as still as a bar of iron.
You can stick a needle through my kneecap and I won't flinch.
I'm all shot up with Novocain.
This trance girl is yours to do with.
You could lay her in a grave, an awful package, and shovel dirt on her face and she'd never call back: Hello there! But if you kissed her on the mouth her eyes would spring open and she'd call out: Daddy! Daddy! Presto! She's out of prison.
There was a theft.
That much I am told.
I was abandoned.
That much I know.
I was forced backward.
I was forced forward.
I was passed hand to hand like a bowl of fruit.
Each night I am nailed into place and forget who I am.
Daddy? That's another kind of prison.
It's not the prince at all, but my father drunkeningly bends over my bed, circling the abyss like a shark, my father thick upon me like some sleeping jellyfish.
What voyage is this, little girl? This coming out of prison? God help -- this life after death?
Written by Frank O'Hara | Create an image from this poem

Death

1

If half of me is skewered
by grey crested birds
in the middle of the vines of my promise
and the very fact that I'm a poet
suffers my eyes
to be filled with vermilion tears 


2

how much greater danger
from occasion and pain is my vitality
yielding like a tree on fire!--
for every day is another view
of the tentative past
grown secure in its foundry of shimmering
that's not even historical;it's just me.
3 And the other half of me where I master the root of my every idiosyncrasy and fit my ribs like a glove 4 is that me who accepts betrayal in the abstract as if it were insight? and draws its knuckles across the much-lined eyes in the most knowing manner of our time? 5 The wind that smiles through the wires isn't vague enough for an assertion of a personal nature it's not for me 6 I'm not dead.
Nothing remains let alone "to be said " except that when I fall backwards I am trying something new and shall succeed as in the past.
Written by Joy Harjo | Create an image from this poem

Deer Dancer

 Nearly everyone had left that bar in the middle of winter except the
hardcore.
It was the coldest night of the year, every place shut down, but not us.
Of course we noticed when she came in.
We were Indian ruins.
She was the end of beauty.
No one knew her, the stranger whose tribe we recognized, her family related to deer, if that's who she was, a people accustomed to hearing songs in pine trees, and making them hearts.
The woman inside the woman who was to dance naked in the bar of misfits blew deer magic.
Henry jack, who could not survive a sober day, thought she was Buffalo Calf Woman come back, passed out, his head by the toilet.
All night he dreamed a dream he could not say.
The next day he borrowed money, went home, and sent back the money I lent.
Now that's a miracle.
Some people see vision in a burned tortilla, some in the face of a woman.
This is the bar of broken survivors, the club of the shotgun, knife wound, of poison by culture.
We who were taught not to stare drank our beer.
The players gossiped down their cues.
Someone put a quarter in the jukebox to relive despair.
Richard's wife dove to kill her.
We had to keep her still, while Richard secretly bought the beauty a drink.
How do I say it?In this language there are no words for how the real world collapses.
I could say it in my own and the sacred mounds would come into focus, but I couldn't take it in this dingy envelope.
So I look at the stars in this strange city, frozen to the back of the sky, the only promises that ever make sense.
My brother-in-law hung out with white people, went to law school with a perfect record, quit.
Says you can keep your laws, your words.
And practiced law on the street with his hands.
He jimmied to the proverbial dream girl, the face of the moon, while the players racked a new game.
He bragged to us, he told her magic words and that when she broke, became human.
But we all heard his voice crack: What's a girl like you doing in a place like this? That's what I'd like to know, what are we all doing in a place like this? You would know she could hear only what she wanted to; don't we all?Left the drink of betrayal Richard bought her, at the bar.
What was she on?We all wanted some.
Put a quarter in the juke.
We all take risks stepping into thin air.
Our ceremonies didn't predict this.
or we expected more.
I had to tell you this, for the baby inside the girl sealed up with a lick of hope and swimming into the praise of nations.
This is not a rooming house, but a dream of winter falls and the deer who portrayed the relatives of strangers.
The way back is deer breath on icy windows.
The next dance none of us predicted.
She borrowed a chair for the stairway to heaven and stood on a table of names.
And danced in the room of children without shoes.
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille With four hungry children and a crop in the field.
And then she took off her clothes.
She shook loose memory, waltzed with the empty lover we'd all become.
She was the myth slipped down through dreamtime.
The promise of feast we all knew was coming.
The deer who crossed through knots of a curse to find us.
She was no slouch, and neither were we, watching.
The music ended.
And so does the story.
I wasn't there.
But I imagined her like this, not a stained red dress with tape on her heels but the deer who entered our dream in white dawn, breathed mist into pine trees, her fawn a blessing of meat, the ancestors who never left.
Written by A S J Tessimond | Create an image from this poem

Betrayal

 If a man says half himself in the light, adroit
Way a tune shakes into equilibrium,
Or approximates to a note that never comes:

Says half himself in the way two pencil-lines
Flow to each other and softly separate,
In the resolute way plane lifts and leaps from plane:

Who knows what intimacies our eyes may shout,
What evident secrets daily foreheads flaunt,
What panes of glass conceal our beating hearts?
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

Manhattan Streets I Saunter'd Pondering

 1
MANHATTAN’S streets I saunter’d, pondering, 
On time, space, reality—on such as these, and abreast with them, prudence.
2 After all, the last explanation remains to be made about prudence; Little and large alike drop quietly aside from the prudence that suits immortality.
The Soul is of itself; All verges to it—all has reference to what ensues; All that a person does, says, thinks, is of consequence; Not a move can a man or woman make, that affects him or her in a day, month, any part of the direct life-time, or the hour of death, but the same affects him or her onward afterward through the indirect life-time.
3 The indirect is just as much as the direct, The spirit receives from the body just as much as it gives to the body, if not more.
Not one word or deed—not venereal sore, discoloration, privacy of the onanist, putridity of gluttons or rum-drinkers, peculation, cunning, betrayal, murder, seduction, prostitution, but has results beyond death, as really as before death.
4 Charity and personal force are the only investments worth anything.
No specification is necessary—all that a male or female does, that is vigorous, benevolent, clean, is so much profit to him or her, in the unshakable order of the universe, and through the whole scope of it forever.
5 Who has been wise, receives interest, Savage, felon, President, judge, farmer, sailor, mechanic, literat, young, old, it is the same, The interest will come round—all will come round.
Singly, wholly, to affect now, affected their time, will forever affect all of the past, and all of the present, and all of the future, All the brave actions of war and peace, All help given to relatives, strangers, the poor, old, sorrowful, young children, widows, the sick, and to shunn’d persons, All furtherance of fugitives, and of the escape of slaves, All self-denial that stood steady and aloof on wrecks, and saw others fill the seats of the boats, All offering of substance or life for the good old cause, or for a friend’s sake, or opinion’s sake, All pains of enthusiasts, scoff’d at by their neighbors, All the limitless sweet love and precious suffering of mothers, All honest men baffled in strifes recorded or unrecorded, All the grandeur and good of ancient nations whose fragments we inherit, All the good of the dozens of ancient nations unknown to us by name, date, location, All that was ever manfully begun, whether it succeeded or no, All suggestions of the divine mind of man, or the divinity of his mouth, or the shaping of his great hands; All that is well thought or said this day on any part of the globe—or on any of the wandering stars, or on any of the fix’d stars, by those there as we are here; All that is henceforth to be thought or done by you, whoever you are, or by any one; These inure, have inured, shall inure, to the identities from which they sprang, or shall spring.
6 Did you guess anything lived only its moment? The world does not so exist—no parts palpable or impalpable so exist; No consummation exists without being from some long previous consummation—and that from some other, Without the farthest conceivable one coming a bit nearer the beginning than any.
7 Whatever satisfies Souls is true; Prudence entirely satisfies the craving and glut of Souls; Itself only finally satisfies the Soul; The Soul has that measureless pride which revolts from every lesson but its own.
8 Now I give you an inkling; Now I breathe the word of the prudence that walks abreast with time, space, reality, That answers the pride which refuses every lesson but its own.
What is prudence, is indivisible, Declines to separate one part of life from every part, Divides not the righteous from the unrighteous, or the living from the dead, Matches every thought or act by its correlative, Knows no possible forgiveness, or deputed atonement, Knows that the young man who composedly peril’d his life and lost it, has done exceedingly well for himself without doubt, That he who never peril’d his life, but retains it to old age in riches and ease, has probably achiev’d nothing for himself worth mentioning; Knows that only that person has really learn’d, who has learn’d to prefer results, Who favors Body and Soul the same, Who perceives the indirect assuredly following the direct, Who in his spirit in any emergency whatever neither hurries or, avoids death.
Written by William Stafford | Create an image from this poem

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

 If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind, a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood storming out to play through the broken dyke.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail, but if one wanders the circus won't find the park, I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy, a remote important region in all who talk: though we could fool each other, we should consider-- lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake, or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep; the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe-- should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
Written by Francis Thompson | Create an image from this poem

The Hound of Heaven

 I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears
I hid from him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped and shot precipitated Adown titanic glooms of chasme d hears From those strong feet that followed, followed after But with unhurrying chase and unperturbe d pace, Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, They beat, and a Voice beat, More instant than the feet: All things betray thee who betrayest me.
I pleaded, outlaw--wise by many a hearted casement, curtained red, trellised with inter-twining charities, For though I knew His love who followe d, Yet was I sore adread, lest having Him, I should have nought beside.
But if one little casement parted wide, The gust of his approach would clash it to.
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled, And troubled the gold gateways of the stars, Smiting for shelter on their clange d bars, Fretted to dulcet jars and silvern chatter The pale ports of the moon.
I said to Dawn --- be sudden, to Eve --- be soon, With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over From this tremendous Lover.
Float thy vague veil about me lest He see.
I tempted all His servitors but to find My own betrayal in their constancy, In faith to Him, their fickleness to me, Their traitorous trueness and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue, Clung to the whistling mane of every wind, But whether they swept, smoothly fleet, The long savannahs of the blue, Or whether, thunder-driven, They clanged His chariot thwart a heaven, Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn of their feet, Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, Came on the following feet, and a Voice above their beat: Nought shelters thee who wilt not shelter Me.
I sought no more that after which I strayed In face of Man or Maid.
But still within the little childrens' eyes Seems something, something that replies, They at least are for me, surely for me.
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair, With dawning answers there, Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
Come then, ye other children, Nature's Share with me, said I, your delicate fellowship.
Let me greet you lip to lip, Let me twine with you caresses, Wantoning with our Lady Mother's vagrant tresses, Banqueting with her in her wind walled palace, Underneath her azured dai:s, Quaffing, as your taintless way is, From a chalice, lucent weeping out of the dayspring.
So it was done.
I in their delicate fellowship was one.
Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies, I knew all the swift importings on the wilful face of skies, I knew how the clouds arise, Spume d of the wild sea-snortings.
All that's born or dies, Rose and drooped with, Made them shapers of mine own moods, or wailful, or Divine.
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the Even, when she lit her glimmering tapers round the day's dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning's eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather, Heaven and I wept together, and its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine.
Against the red throb of its sunset heart, I laid my own to beat And share commingling heat.
But not by that, by that was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's grey cheek.
For ah! we know what each other says, these things and I; In sound I speak, Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor step-dame, cannot slake my drouth.
Let her, if she would owe me Drop yon blue-bosomed veil of sky And show me the breasts o' her tenderness.
Never did any milk of hers once bless my thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase, with unperturbe d pace Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, And past those noise d feet, a Voice comes yet more fleet: Lo, nought contentst thee who content'st nought Me.
Naked, I wait thy Love's uplifted stroke.
My harness, piece by piece, thou'st hewn from me And smitten me to my knee, I am defenceless, utterly.
I slept methinks, and awoke.
And slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers, I shook the pillaring hours, and pulled my life upon me.
Grimed with smears, I stand amidst the dust o' the mounded years-- My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke, Have puffed and burst like sunstarts on a stream.
Yeah, faileth now even dream the dreamer and the lute, the lutanist.
Even the linked fantasies in whose blossomy twist, I swung the Earth, a trinket at my wrist, Have yielded, cords of all too weak account, For Earth, with heavy grief so overplussed.
Ah! is thy Love indeed a weed, albeit an Amaranthine weed, Suffering no flowers except its own to mount? Ah! must, Designer Infinite, Ah! must thou char the wood 'ere thou canst limn with it ? My freshness spent its wavering shower i' the dust.
And now my heart is as a broken fount, Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever From the dank thoughts that shiver upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is.
What is to be ? The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind ? I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds, Yet ever and anon, a trumpet sounds From the hid battlements of Eternity.
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, Then round the half-glimpse d turrets, slowly wash again.
But not 'ere Him who summoneth I first have seen, enwound With glooming robes purpureal; Cypress crowned.
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether Man's Heart or Life it be that yield thee harvest, Must thy harvest fields be dunged with rotten death ? Now of that long pursuit, Comes at hand the bruit.
That Voice is round me like a bursting Sea: And is thy Earth so marred, Shattered in shard on shard? Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest me.
Strange, piteous, futile thing; Wherefore should any set thee love apart? Seeing none but I makes much of Naught (He said).
And human love needs human meriting --- How hast thou merited, Of all Man's clotted clay, the dingiest clot.
Alack! Thou knowest not How little worthy of any love thou art.
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee, Save me, save only me? All which I took from thee, I did'st but take, Not for thy harms, But just that thou might'st seek it in my arms.
All which thy childs mistake fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at Home.
Rise, clasp my hand, and come.
Halts by me that Footfall.
Is my gloom, after all, Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly? Ah, Fondest, Blindest, Weakest, I am He whom thou seekest.
Thou dravest Love from thee who dravest Me.
Written by John Gould Fletcher | Create an image from this poem

Sleep

 Do you give yourself to me utterly,

Body and no-body, flesh and no-flesh

Not as a fugitive, blindly or bitterly, 

But as a child might, with no other wish?

Yes, utterly.
Then I shall bear you down my estuary, Carry you and ferry you to burial mysteriously, Take you and receive you, Consume you, engulf you, In the huge cave, my belly, lave you With huger waves continually.
And you shall cling and clamber there And slumber there, in that dumb chamber, Beat with my blood's beat, hear my heart move Blindly in bones that ride above you, Delve in my flesh, dissolved and bedded, Through viewless valves embodied so – Till daylight, the expulsion and awakening, The riving and the driving forth, Life with remorseless forceps beckoning – Pangs and betrayal of harsh birth.
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