Troth with the Dead

The moon is broken in twain, and half a moon
Before me lies on the still, pale floor of the sky;
The other half of the broken coin of troth
Is buried away in the dark, where the still dead lie.
They buried her half in the grave when they laid her away;
I had pushed it gently in among the thick of her hair
Where it gathered towards the plait, on that very last day;
And like a moon in secret it is shining there.

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.

Transition

Too long and quickly have I lived to vow
The woe that stretches me shall never wane,
Too often seen the end of endless pain
To swear that peace no more shall cool my brow.
I know, I know- again the shriveled bough
Will burgeon sweetly in the gentle rain,
And these hard lands be quivering with grain-
I tell you only: it is Winter now.

Tourists

In a strange town in a far land
They met amid a throng;
They stared, they could not understand
How life was sudden song.
As brown eyes looked in eyes of grey
Just for a moment's space,
Twin spirits met with sweet dismay
In that strange place.

Two Words

'God' is composed of letters three,
But if you put an 'l'
Before the last it seems to me
A synonym for Hell.
For all of envy, greed and hate
The human heart can hold
Respond unto the devil's bait
Of Gold.

Two Women

I know two women, and one is chaste
And cold as the snows on a winters waste,
Stainless ever I act and thought
(As a man, born dumb, in speech errs not) .
But she has malice toward her kind,
A cruel tongue and a jealous mind.
Void of pity and full of greed,
She judges the world by her narrow creed;
A brewer of quarrels, a breeder of hate,
Yet she holds the key to ‘Society’s’ Gate.

Two Truths

Darling,' he said, 'I never meant
To hurt you;' and his eyes were wet.
'I would not hurt you for the world:
Am I to blame if I forget?'

'Forgive my selfish tears!' she cried,
'Forgive! I knew that it was not
Because you meant to hurt me, sweet-
I knew it was that you forgot!'

But all the same, deep in her heart
Rankled this thought, and rankles yet,-
'When love is at its best, one loves
So much that he cannot forget.'

Two Sunsets

In the fair morning of his life,
When his pure heart lay in his breast,
Panting, with all that wild unrest
To plunge into the great world's strife

That fills young hearts with mad desire,
He saw a sunset. Red and gold
The burning billows surged and rolled,
And upward tossed their caps of fire.

He looked. And as he looked the sight
Sent from his soul through breast and brain
Such intense joy, it hurt like pain.
His heart seemed bursting with delight.

Two Songs From a Play

I

I saw a staring virgin stand
Where holy Dionysus died,
And tear the heart out of his side.
And lay the heart upon her hand
And bear that beating heart away;
Of Magnus Annus at the spring,
As though God's death were but a play.

Another Troy must rise and set,
Another lineage feed the crow,
Another Argo's painted prow
Drive to a flashier bauble yet.
The Roman Empire stood appalled:
It dropped the reins of peace and war
When that fierce virgin and her Star
Out of the fabulous darkness called.

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