At midnight tears
Run in your ears.
Now that I know
How passion warms little
Of flesh in the mould,
And treasure is brittle,--
I'll lie here and learn
How, over their ground
Trees make a long shadow
And a light sound.
A child draws the outline of a body.
She draws what she can, but it is white all through,
she cannot fill in what she knows is there.
Within the unsupported line, she knows
that life is missing; she has cut
one background from another.
Like a child,
she turns to her mother.
And you draw the heart
against the emptiness she has created.
I burned my life, that I may find
A passion wholly of the mind,
Thought divorced from eye and bone
Ecstasy come to breath alone.
I broke my life, to seek relief
From the flawed light of love and grief.
With mounting beat the utter fire
Charred existence and desire.
It died low, ceased its sudden thresh.
I had found unmysterious flesh--
Not the mind's avid substance--still
Passionate beyond the will.
All night the cocks crew, under a moon like day,
And I, in the cage of sleep, on a stranger's breast,
Shed tears, like a task not to be put away---
In the false light, false grief in my happy bed,
A labor of tears, set against joy's undoing.
I would not wake at your word, I had tears to say.
I clung to the bars of the dream and they were said,
And pain's derisive hand had given me rest
From the night giving off flames, and the dark renewing.
She has no need to fear the fall
Of harvest from the laddered reach
Of orchards, nor the tide gone ebbing
From the steep beach.
Nor hold to pain's effrontery
Her body's bulwark, stern and savage,
Nor be a glass, where to forsee
What she has gathered, and what lost,
She will not find to lose again.
She is possessed by time, who once
Was loved by men.
When beauty breaks and falls asunder
I feel no grief for it, but wonder.
When love, like a frail shell, lies broken,
I keep no chip of it for token.
I never had a man for friend
Who did not know that love must end.
I never had a girl for lover
Who could discern when love was over.
What the wise doubt, the fool believes--
Who is it, then, that love deceives?
She has attained the permanence
She dreamed of, where old stones lie sunning.
Untended stalks blow over her
Even and swift, like young men running.
Always in the heart she loved
Others had lived, -- she heard their laughter.
She lies where none has lain before,
Where certainly none will follow after.
What body can be ploughed,
Sown, and broken yearly?
But she would not die, she vowed,
But she has, nearly.
Sing, heart sing;
Call and carol clearly.
And, since she could not die,
Care would be a feather,
A film over the eye
Of two that lie together.
Fly, song, fly,
Break your little tether.
So from strength concealed
She makes her pretty boast:
Plain is a furrow healed
And she may love you most.
Cry, song, cry,
And hear your crying lost.
I have a dream
to fill the golden sheath
of a remembered day.
heavy and massed and blue
as the vapor of opium.
fired in sulphurous mist.
quiescent as a gray seal.
and the emerging sun
spurting up gold
over Sydney, smoke-pale, rising out of the bay.
But the day is an up-turned cup
and its sun a junk of red iron
guttering in sluggish-green water--
where shall I pour my dream?
Up from the bronze, I saw
Water without a flaw
Rush to its rest in air,
Reach to its rest, and fall.
Bronze of the blackest shade,
An element man-made,
Shaping upright the bare
Clear gouts of water in air.
O, as with arm and hammer,
Still it is good to strive
To beat out the image whole,
To echo the shout and stammer
When full-gushed waters, alive,
Strike on the fountain's bowl
After the air of summer.
In fear of the rich mouth
I kissed the thin,--
Even that was a trap
To snare me in.
Even she, so long
The frail, the scentless,
Is become strong,
And proves relentless.
O, forget her praise,
And how I sought her
Through a hazardous maze
By shafted water.
Men loved wholly beyond wisdom
Have the staff without the banner.
Like a fire in a dry thicket
Rising within women's eyes
Is the love men must return.
Heart, so subtle now, and trembling,
What a marvel to be wise.
To love never in this manner!
To be quiet in the fern
Like a thing gone dead and still,
Listening to the prisoned cricket
Shake its terrible dissembling
Music in the granite hill.
I WOKE to find my pillow wet
With the tears for deeds deep hid in sleep.
I knew no sorrow here, but yet
The tears fell softly through the deep.
Your eyes, your other eyes of dream,
Looked at me through the veil of blank;
I saw their joyous, starlit gleam
Like one who watches rank on rank.
His victor airy legions wind
And pass before his awful throne—
Was there thy loving heart unkind,
Was I thy captive all o’erthrown?
Come, let us tell the weeds in ditches
How we are poor, who once had riches,
And lie out in the sparse and sodden
Pastures that the cows have trodden,
The while an autumn night seals down
The comforts of the wooden town.
Come, let us counsel some cold stranger
How we sought safety, but loved danger.
So, with stiff walls about us, we
Chose this more fragile boundary:
Hills, where light poplars, the firm oak,
Loosen into a little smoke.