True Confession

1
Today, recovering from influenza,
I begin, having nothing worse to do,
This autobiography that ends a
Half of my life I'm glad I'm through.
O Love, what a bloody hullaballoo
I look back at, shaken and sober,
When that intemperate life I view
From this temperate October.
To nineteen hundred and forty-seven
I pay the deepest of respects,
For during this year I was given
Some insight into the other sex.
I was a victim, till forty-six,
Of the rosy bed with bitches in it;


Trespassers

When Love and I drew softly nigh
And gazed in modest Chloe's eye
We saw reflected there in part
The lovely mansion of her heart,
A sight so fair that, quite bereft
Of sense and shame, we had but left
One wish, that we by foul or fair
Might enter in and tarry there.

But when, with vagabondish art,
We nearer crept to Chloe's heart
That we might steal therein, we found
Her heart with barbed wires enwound;
And crawling through those cruel rings
My garments caught, Love caught his wings.


Training

Not this week nor this month dare I lie down
In languour under lime trees or smooth smile.
Love must not kiss my face pale that is brown.

My lips, parting, shall drink space, mile by mile;
Strong meats be all my hunger; my renown
Be the clean beauty of speed and pride of style.

Cold winds encountered on the racing Down
Shall thrill my heated bareness; but awhile
None else may meet me till I wear my crown.


Touched by an Angel

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are


To Willie and Henrietta

If two may read aright
These rhymes of old delight
And house and garden play,
You too, my cousins, and you only, may.

You in a garden green
With me were king and queen,
Were hunter, soldier, tar,
And all the thousand things that children are.

Now in the elders' seat
We rest with quiet feet,
And from the window-bay
We watch the children, our successors, play.

"Time was," the golden head
Irrevocably said;
But time which one can bind,


To Wang Lun

Li Po takes a boat and is about to depart
When suddenly he hears the sound of footsteps
and singing on the shore.

The water in the Peach Blossom pool is
a thousand feet deep
But not as deep as Wang Lun's parting love for me

(translated by Liu Wu-Chi)


Too Late

Had we but met in other days,
Had we but loved in other ways,
Another light and hope had shone
On your life and my own.

In sweet but hopeless reveries
I fancy how your wistful eyes
Had saved me, had I known their power
In fate's imperious hour;

How loving you, beloved of God,
And following you, the path I trod
Had led me, through your love and prayers,
To God's love unawares:

And how our beings joined as one
Had passed through checkered shade and sun,


Tonight I can write the saddest lines

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example,'The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.


Tonight I Can Write

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, 'The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.


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