Translated from Geibel

O say, thou wild, thou oft deceived heart,
What mean these noisy throbbings in my breast?
After thy long, unutterable woe
Wouldst thou not rest?

Fall'n from Life's tree the sweet rose-blossom lies,
And fragrant youth has fled. What made to seem
This earth as fair to thee as Paradise,
Was all a dream.

The blossom fell, the thorn was left to me;
Deep from the wound the blood-drops ever flow,
All that I have are yearnings, wild desires,
And wrath and woe.


Two Sonnets

I

Just as I wonder at the twofold screen
Of twisted innocence that you would plait
For eyes that uncourageously await
The coming of a kingdom that has been,
So do I wonder what God’s love can mean
To you that all so strangely estimate
The purpose and the consequent estate
Of one short shuddering step to the Unseen.

No, I have not your backward faith to shrink
Lone-faring from the doorway of God’s home
To find Him in the names of buried men;
Nor your ingenious recreance to think


True Pleasures

Lord, my soul with pleasure springs
When Jesu's name I hear:
And when God the Spirit brings
The word of promise near:
Beauties too, in holiness,
Still delighted I perceive;
Nor have words that can express
The joys Thy precepts give.

Clothed in sanctity and grace,
How sweet it is to see
Those who love Thee as they pass,
Or when they wait on Thee.
Pleasant too to sit and tell
What we owe to love Divine;
Till our bosoms grateful swell,
And eyes begin to shine.


Twice

I took my heart in my hand
(O my love, O my love),
I said: Let me fall or stand,
Let me live or die,
But this once hear me speak-
(O my love, O my love)-
Yet a woman's words are weak;
You should speak, not I.

You took my heart in your hand
With a friendly smile,
With a critical eye you scanned,
Then set it down,
And said: It is still unripe,
Better wait a while;
Wait while the skylarks pipe,
Till the corn grows brown

As you set it down it broke-


Twas Lovenot me

394

'Twas Love—not me—
Oh punish—pray—
The Real one died for Thee—
Just Him—not me—

Such Guilt—to love Thee—most!
Doom it beyond the Rest—
Forgive it—last—
'Twas base as Jesus—most!

Let Justice not mistake—
We Two—looked so alike—
Which was the Guilty Sake—
'Twas Love's—Now Strike!


Twin-Growth

I would not wish thee other than thou art;
I love thee, love, so well in every part,
That had I power to change thee
In form or face or mind,
I could not find
The heart to re-arrange thee.

For we were made to suit each other, sweet,
Apart, uneven, but when join'd, complete,
With powers and failings matching
In each as strictly well
As in some shell
The sharp teeth interlatching.

And so I would not have thee change, for fear
The valves might ope and gape a little, dear.


Twenty-First. Night. Monday

Twenty-first. Night. Monday.
Silhouette of the capitol in darkness.
Some good-for-nothing -- who knows why--
made up the tale that love exists on earth.

People believe it, maybe from laziness
or boredom, and live accordingly:
they wait eagerly for meetings, fear parting,
and when they sing, they sing about love.

But the secret reveals itself to some,
and on them silence settles down...
I found this out by accident
and now it seems I'm sick all the time.


Twelve Years

The line
that remained, that
became true: . . . your
house in Paris -- become
the alterpiece of your hands.

Breathed through thrice,
shone through thrice.
...................

It's turning dumb, turning deaf
behind our eyes.
I see the poison flower
in all manner of words and shapes.

Go. Come.
Love blots out its name: to
you it ascribes itself.


translated by Michael Hamburger


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