We sing in the branches,
The birds of night, born brittle
In broken words and melancholic memes,
As holy as the body in a dream
Woven in, set upon a tree,
Old and scorned, played out like a fiddle
With worn out strings, a holy see
That’s thrown upon the body in a dream
Windows open and close down here—
We listen with fear but cannot hear
And feel we’re being seen
In silence as the body in a dream
Until, at last, the knock that rocks the door,
With words that whisper no more—
You talk of riders on the flat, of nerve and pluck and pace --
Not one in fifty has the nerve to ride a steeplechase.
It's right enough, while horses pull and take their faces strong,
To rush a flier to the front and bring the field along;
Bur what about the last half-mile, with horses blown and beat --
When every jump means all you know to keep him on his feet.
When any slip means sudden death -- with wife and child to keep --
It needs some nerve to draw the whip and flog him at the leap --
Two Wishes XI
In the silence of the night Death descended from God toward the earth. He hovered above a city and pierced the dwellings with his eyes. He say the spirits floating on wings of dreams, and the people who were surrendered to the Slumber.
When the moon fell below the horizon and the city became black, Death walked silently among the houses -- careful to touch nothing -- until he reached a palace. He entered through the bolted gates undisturbed, and stood by the rich man's bed; and as Death touched his forehead, the sleeper's eyes opened, showing great fright.
"Why are your songs all wild and bitter sad
As funeral dirges with the orphans' cries?
Each night since first the world was made hath had
A sequent day to laugh it down the skies.
Chant us a glee to make our hearts rejoice,
Or seal in silence this unmanly moan."
My friend, I have no power to rule my voice --
A spirit lifts me where I lie alone,
And thrills me into song by its own laws;
That which I feel, but seldom know, indeed
Tempering the melody it could not cause.
Twilight and I Went Hand in Hand
Twilight and I went hand in hand,
As lovers walk in shining Mays,
O'er musky, memory-haunted ways,
Across a lonely harvest-land,
Where west winds chanted in the wheat
An old, old vesper wondrous sweet.
Oh, Twilight was a comrade rare
For gypsy heath or templed grove,
In her gray vesture, shadow-wove;
I saw the darkness of her hair
Faint-mirrored in a field-pool dim,
As we stood tip-toe on its rim.
We went as lightly as on wings
Through many a scented chamber fair,
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.
Tutto e Sciolto
A birdless heaven, seadusk, one lone star
Piercing the west,
As thou, fond heart, love's time, so faint, so far,
The clear young eyes' soft look, the candid brow,
The fragrant hair,
Falling as through the silence falleth now
Dusk of the air.
Why then, remembering those shy
Sweet lures, repine
When the dear love she yielded with a sigh
Was all but thine?
Try To Remember Some Details
Try to remember some details. Remember the clothing
of the one you love
so that on the day of loss you'll be able to say: last seen
wearing such-and-such, brown jacket, white hat.
Try to remember some details. For they have no face
and their soul is hidden and their crying
is the same as their laughter,
and their silence and their shouting rise to one height
and their body temperature is between 98 and 104 degrees
and they have no life outside this narrow space
and they have no graven image, no likeness, no memory
In silence the heart raves.It utters words
Meaningless, that never had
A meaning.I was ten, skinny, red-headed,
Freckled.In a big black Buick,
Driven by a big grown boy, with a necktie, she sat
In front of the drugstore, sipping something
Through a straw. There is nothing like
Beauty. It stops your heart.It
Thickens your blood.It stops your breath.It
Makes you feel dirty.You need a hot bath.
I leaned against a telephone pole, and watched.
I thought I would die if she saw me.
Creator, Saviour, strengthening Guide,
Now on Thy mercy's ocean wide
Far out of sight we seem to glide.
Help us, each hour, with steadier eye
To search the deepening mystery,
The wonders of Thy sea and sky.
The blessed Angels look and long
To praise Thee with a worthier song,
And yet our silence does Thee wrong. -
Along the Church's central space
The sacred weeks, with unfelt pace,
Hath borne us on from grace to grace.
As travellers on some woodland height,