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

Two Children

Give me your hand, oh little one!
Like children be we two;
Yet I am old, my day is done
That barely breaks for you.
A baby-basket hard you hold,
With in it cherries four:
You cherish them as men do gold,
And count them o'er.

And then you stumble in your walk;
The cherries scattered lie.
You pick them up with foolish talk
And foolish glad am I,
When you wipe one quite clean of dust
And give it unto me;
So in the baby-basket just

Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Trinity

Why should we faint and fear to live alone,
Since all alone, so Heaven has willed, we die,
Nor e'en the tenderest heart, and next our own,
Knows half the reasons why we smile and sigh?

Each in his hidden sphere of joy or woe
Our hermit spirits dwell, and range apart,
Our eyes see all around in gloom or glow -
Hues of their own, fresh borrowed from the heart.

And well it is for us our GOD should feel
Alone our secret throbbings: so our prayer
May readier spring to Heaven, nor spend its zeal

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;

Transformation

She waited in a rose-hued room;
A wanton-hearted creature she,
But beautiful and bright to see
As some great orchid just in bloom.
Upon wide cushions stretched at ease
She lolled in garments filmy fine,
Which but enhanced each rounded line;
A living picture, framed to please.

A bold electric eye of light
Leered through its ruddy screen of lace
And feasted on her form and face
As some wine-crimsoned roue might.

From wall and niche, nude nymph beguiled
Fair goddess of world-wide fame,

Tortures

Nothing has changed.
The body is susceptible to pain,
it must eat and breathe air and sleep,
it has thin skin and blood right underneath,
an adequate stock of teeth and nails,
its bones are breakable, its joints are stretchable.
In tortures all this is taken into account.

Nothing has changed.
The body shudders as it shuddered
before the founding of Rome and after,
in the twentieth century before and after Christ.
Tortures are as they were, it's just the earth that's grown smaller,

To This Moment a Rebel

To this moment a rebel I throw down my arms,
Great Love, at first sight of Olinda's bright charms.
Make proud and secure by such forces as these,
You may now play the tyrant as soon as you please.

When Innocence, Beauty, and Wit do conspire
To betray, and engage, and inflame my Desire,
Why should I decline what I cannot avoid?
And let pleasing Hope by base Fear be destroyed?

Her innocence cannot contrive to undo me,
Her beauty's inclined, or why should it pursue me?
And Wit has to Pleasure been ever a friend,

To This Moment a Rebel

I

To this moment a rebel I throw down my arms,
Great Love, at first sight of Olinda's bright charms.
Make proud and secure by such forces as these,
You may now play the tyrant as soon as you please.
II
When Innocence, Beauty, and Wit do conspire
To betray, and engage, and inflame my Desire,
Why should I decline what I cannot avoid?
And let pleasing Hope by base Fear be destroyed?
III
Her innocence cannot contrive to undo me,
Her beauty's inclined, or why should it pursue me?

To the Same

Though old in ill, the traitor sure should find
Some secret sting transfix his guilty mind.
Though bribes or favour may protect his fame,
Or fear restrain invectives on his name;
None 'quits himself -- his own impartial thought
Condemns -- and conscience shall record the fault.
Yet more, my friend! your happy state may bear
This disappointment, as below your care.
For what you have, return to Heav'n your thanks;
Few share the prizes, many draw the blanks.
Of breach of promise loudly you complain,

To The Pious Memory Of The Accomplished Young Lady Mrs. Anne Killigrew

Thou youngest virgin-daughter of the skies,
Made in the last promotion of the Blest;
Whose palms, new pluck'd from Paradise,
In spreading branches more sublimely rise,
Rich with immortal green above the rest:
Whether, adopted to some neighbouring star,
Thou roll'st above us, in thy wand'ring race,
Or, in procession fix'd and regular,
Mov'd with the Heavens' majestic pace:
Or, call'd to more superior bliss,
Thou tread'st, with seraphims, the vast abyss.
What ever happy region is thy place,

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