A Soul in Prison

(The Doubter lays aside his book.)

"Answered a score of times." Oh, looked for teacher,
is this all you will teach me? I in the dark
reaching my hand for you to help me forth
to the happy sunshine where you stand, "Oh shame,
to be in the dark there, prisoned!" answer you;
"there are ledges somewhere there by which strong feet
might scale to daylight: I would lift you out
with just a touch, but that your need's so slight;
for there are ledges." And I grope and strain,


A Man Young And Old II. Human Dignity

Like the moon her kindness is,
If kindness I may call
What has no comprehension in't,
But is the same for all
As though my sorrow were a scene
Upon a painted wall.

So like a bit of stone I lie
Under a broken tree.
I could recover if I shrieked
My heart's agony
To passing bird, but I am dumb
From human dignity.


A Match

If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf,
Our lives would grow together
In sad or singing weather,
Blown fields or flowerful closes,
Green pasture or gray grief;
If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf.

If I were what the words are,
And love were like the tune,
With double sound and single
Delight our lips would mingle,
With kisses glad as birds are
That get sweet rain at noon;
If I were what the words are,
And love were like the tune.


A Song Of Suicide

I

Deeming that I were better dead,
"How shall I kill myself?" I said.
Thus mooning by the river Seine
I sought extinction without pain,
When on a bridge I saw a flash
Of lingerie and heard a splash . . .
So as I am a swimmer stout
I plunged and pulled the poor wretch out.
II
The female that I saved? Ah yes,
To yield the Morgue of one corpse the less,
Apart from all heroic action,
Gave me a moral satisfaction.
was she an old and withered hag,
Too tired of life to long to lag?


A Lovers' Quarrel

We two were lovers, the Sea and I;
We plighted our troth ‘neath a summer sky.

And all through the riotous ardent weather
We dreamed, and loved, and rejoiced together.
* * *
At times my lover would rage and storm.
I said: ‘No matter, his heart is warm.’

Whatever his humour, I loved his ways,
And so we lived though the golden days.

I know not the manner it came about,
But in the autumn we two fell out.

Yet this I know – ‘twas the fault of the Sea,


A Grey Mood

As we hurry away to the end, my friend,
Of this sad little farce called existence,
We are sure that the future will bring one thing,
And that is the grave in the distance.
And so when our lives run along all wrong,
And nothing seems real or certain,
We can comfort ourselves with the thought (or not)
Of that spectre behind the curtain.

But we haven’t much time to repine or whine,
Or to wound or jostle each other;
And the hour for us each is to-day, I say,
If we mean to assist a brother.


A Lover's Complaint

FROM off a hill whose concave womb reworded
A plaintful story from a sistering vale,
My spirits to attend this double voice accorded,
And down I laid to list the sad-tuned tale;
Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale,
Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain,
Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.

Upon her head a platted hive of straw,
Which fortified her visage from the sun,
Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw
The carcass of beauty spent and done:


A Sonnet Upon The Pitiful Burning Of The Globe Playhouse In

Now sit thee down, Melpomene,
Wrapp'd in a sea-coal robe,
And tell the doleful tragedy
That late was play'd at Globe;
For no man that can sing and say
But was scar'd on St. Peter's Day.
Oh sorrow, pitiful sorrow, and yet all this is true.

All you that please to understand,
Come listen to my story,
To see Death with his raking brand
'Mongst such an auditory;
Regarding neither Cardinal's might,
Nor yet the rugged face of Henry the Eight.


A Song Of Despair

The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!

Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.
Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.

In you the wars and the flights accumulated.
From you the wings of the song birds rose.

You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!


A Son Was Born To A Poor Peasant

A son was born to a poor peasant.
A foul old woman stepped inside
The hut, with trembling bony fingers
Clawing her tangled locks aside.

And when the midwife wasn't looking,
Across towards that babe she reached.
And with her gnarled, misshapen fingers
His cheek she very lightly touched.

Mumbling weird words and slowly tapping
Her crooked stick, she went away.
Nobody knew what charm she'd woven,
And so the years went duly by -

The secret spell came to fulfilment:


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