Bexhill, 1866

Now, when the catkins of the hazel swing
Wither'd above the leafy nook wherein
The chaffinch breasts her five blue speckled eggs,
All round the thorn grows fragrant, white with may,
And underneath the fresh wild hyacinthbed
Shimmers like water in the whispering wind;
Now, on this sweet still gloaming of the spring,
Within my cottage by the sea, I sit,
Thinking of yonder city where I dwelt,
Wherein I sicken'd, and whereof I learn'
So much that dwells like music on my brain,
A melancholy happiness is mine!

Tommy Corrigan

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 swimmers wrestled on the spar

201

Two swimmers wrestled on the spar—
Until the morning sun—
When One—turned smiling to the land—
Oh God! the Other One!

The stray ships—passing—
Spied a face—
Upon the waters borne—
With eyes in death—still begging raised—
And hands—beseeching—thrown!

Two Sons

I HAVE two sons, wife—
Two, and yet the same;
One his wild way runs, wife,
Bringing us to shame.
The one is bearded, sunburnt, grim, and fights across the sea,
The other is a little child who sits upon your knee.

One is fierce and cold, wife,
As the wayward deep;
Him no arms could hold, wife,
Him no breast could keep.
He has tried our hearts for many a year, not broken them; for he
Is still the sinless little one that sits upon your knee.

Two Seasons

I

The stars were wild that summer evening
As on the low lake shore stood you and I
And every time I caught your flashing eye
Or heard your voice discourse on anything
It seemed a star went burning down the sky.

I looked into your heart that dying summer
And found your silent woman's heart grown wild
Whereupon you turned to me and smiled
Saying you felt afraid but that you were
Weary of being mute and undefiled

II

Two Portraits

You say, as one who shapes a life,
That you will never be a wife,

And, laughing lightly, ask my aid
To paint your future as a maid.

This is the portrait; and I take
The softest colors for your sake:

The springtime of your soul is dead,
And forty years have bent your head;

The lines are firmer round your mouth,
But still its smile is like the South.

Your eyes, grown deeper, are not sad,
Yet never more than gravely glad;

And the old charm still lurks within
The cloven dimple of your chin.

True Love

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.

True Enjoyment

Vainly wouldst thou, to gain a heart,

Heap up a maiden's lap with gold;
The joys of love thou must impart,

Wouldst thou e'er see those joys unfold.
The voices of the throng gold buys,

No single heart 'twill win for thee;
Wouldst thou a maiden make thy prize,

Thyself alone the bribe must be.

If by no sacred tie thou'rt bound,

Oh youth, thou must thyself restrain!
Well may true liberty be found,

Tho' man may seem to wear a chain.
Let one alone inflame thee e'er,

Trilogy Of Passion 01 To Werther

Once more, then, much-wept shadow, thou dost dare

Boldly to face the day's clear light,
To meet me on fresh blooming meadows fair,

And dost not tremble at my sight.
Those happy times appear return'd once more.

When on one field we quaff'd refreshing dew,
And, when the day's unwelcome toils were o'er,

The farewell sunbeams bless'd our ravish'd view;
Fate bade thee go,--to linger here was mine,--
Going the first, the smaller loss was thine.

Twilight on Sandusky Marsh

Low in the west the moon's slim crescent swings.
Across the marsh the vesper breezes bear
The sounds of gloaming; from far cornfields fare
The chittering blackbirds, whose ingathering brings
The silken flutter of a myriad wings.
The wild duck's cry floats down the thickening air
As of one hunted, full of fear and care.
Sad twilight comes with dubious whisperings.
How changed from that exultant world which lay
In the wide smile of noon! The evening's shiver
Means the day's death; its thronging whispers blend

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