The Glebe 1914/09 (Vol. 2, No. 2): Poems by George W. Cronyn

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Editor
ALFRED KREYMBORG

Published by
ALBERT AND CHARLES BONI
96 FIFTH AVENUE
New York City

POEMS

POEMS

GEORGE W. CRONYN

NEW YORK
ALBERT AND CHARLES BONI
96 FIFTH AVENUE
1914

Copyright, 1914
By
Albert and Charles Boni

To touch the sleeping lids of Beauty

Drawing thru finger-tips her dream—a birth

Of hell and heaven for a nobler earth;

This is the poet’s duty.

To sleep with stars, to dream a flower,

From passing shadows pluck profound relation,

With a divine wonder at its emanation;

This is the poet’s power.

DIONYSUS ELEUTHERIOS

THE PRAYER

Like a cat beside a pool

More than half afraid of it,

Fishing gingerly I sit

Here beside this pool of wit—

Dumb as any fool!

Chirrups humor in the grass;

Winds of tickling laughter pass,

And the world grows wise forsooth,

Lets gleam amused tooth

Seeing in this water-glass

Jests that swim the depths of truth,

And like fins of fishes shiver

It to fretful quirk and quiver.

Ripples break and bubbles rise

Catching smiles from out the skies

In their globed eyes.

Surely, surely there was never

Such a pleasant river!

Only I am out of tune

Like an icicle in June,

Or a monster from the moon.

Dionysus, hear my prayer!

Spreading arms to the mute air,

I entreat thee, fashion me

One with this gay company,

One in mirth and one in song

Dartling their minds among.

Loosener of lips and heart,

Draw my sullen mouth apart.

Give a gleam to guide me by

As a phare in a night-sky—

Grace of tongue and warmth of eye;

Give me of thy fire and dew;

Give me flash of mimic art—

Spice of Godhead in this brew

To pierce my fellows thru and thru.

Oh, thou vintal Deity,

Loose my limbs that they may fly

With this reckless revelry!

Sick of sober ways am I;

In this tumult I alone

Am a satyr turned to stone;

Satyr—satyr—not a man!

Gifts I ask not of Apollo—

Wine is good and grief is hollow;

I would follow after Pan;

I would follow, follow, follow

After Pan!

Or if he wander ways too quiet,

Shepherd ways of warmth and ease,

Let me taste a wilder riot

In thy mysteries—

Let me quaff it, laugh it, cry it!

Give me, give me, give me these—

Fleet foot after those that flee,

Hot veins amorous to seize

Maenads maddened by the wine,

Wound with hair and wreathed with vine,

Maenads stained with purple lees—

Give me, give me, give me these.

Only this I ask of thee

Dionysus, Dionysus, son of Semele!

THE ANSWER

Lo! the God of purple pleasure

Heard and hearkened to his prayer,

Reft the swathed bands that bound him,

From his cloak of Self unwound him,

Filled him with supernal seizure

That his humor’s jewelled treasure

Leaped and sparkled in the air—

Till the night was bright around him.

Never such a jestful fit

Dreamt he in his wildest wishes!

Never from the pool of wit

Had he drawn such shining fishes!

Humid flame glowed in each eye

And his face had changed its vesture,

And his arms moved with strange gesture

Apt in every mimicry.

With the spell of Fire and Dew

He pierced his fellows thru and thru.

Surely Dithyrambus pressed him!

Surely the Great God possessed him!

And the mystic sisters too,

Oeno, Spermo, and Elais,

(Who knoweth what their way is?)

Surely they caressed him!

He whose tongue of old was frozen—

As he quaffs, with this potation

Deep and deeper inspiration

Seems to grow a Prophet—chosen,

For he speaks by divination!

Never were such fancies woven

From the carded thoughts of mortal.

Some are mazed, and some deride him,

“Lo, his wits have gone astray,

What a fool he is!” they say.

Others whisper (those beside him)

“He hath crossed another portal—

He is one whose foot is cloven.

Do ye hear wild creatures beat

Lifted hoof and naked feet

On the quiet woodland sod?

Do ye mark what mood that strain is?

Hints it not the Shepherd God

With his pipings shrill and sweet—

Snubnose, Sweetwine, old Silenus,

All his creatures shy and fleet?”

Deeper, deeper, Fire and Dew

Drains he of the Wine-God’s brew

Craving furthest essence—thus

Heareth now another voice

Terrible and new,

Luring—appalling,

“Iachus! Iachus! Iachus!

Wine! Wine! Wine! Rejoice!”

Thru the forest calling.

And the sky is red and golden

And the red, red stars are falling,

Falling to the earth in showers.

And the fresh blood-scents embolden

Gold and sable leopards, sleeping,

To come crawling, writhing, leaping,

Over gold and purple flowers.

And the autumn sun is swollen

With the sweetness he has stolen

From the wine, and he is wine, wine-red.

Come ye now with wreathed head,

Come ye now

With ivy bound on your white brow,

And forgotten, forgotten be the hours!

Forgotten and forgotten! Ah the night has fled away,

And the wine is spilt, and the stars are gray,

For the old cold dawn abashes

All the torches turned to ashes,

But the feasters—where are they?

Fled, the sound of pipes at last;

Fled, the panting, goat-shank’d clan,

And the maenad rout have passed,

And the echoes caught and cast

Died where they began.

Never, never, never

A more sombre river

From such springs of laughter ran!

And the lucid pool of wit—

What a scum has clouded it!

Past each stately Parian column

Day comes, gaunt and pale and shrunken

And her step is very solemn.

On the veined marble sunken,

Reft of breath of Deity,

Prone there, lies the Priest—the Chosen,

Huddled, bestial, bleared and drunken—

Like a body that is frozen

(That such things should be!)

Shape of shapeless mockery

He had tasted all one can;

He had heard the pipes of Pan;

He had followed in thy van

Dionysus, Dionysus, son of Semele—

Satyr?—not a satyr he—a man!

THE TRAIL BY NIGHT

No human foot-print here before my own!

And it is strange to come so far—alone—

So far into this frozen forest world

Of moonlight and of shadow and deep snow,

And things I do not know,

That strike the civil vestments from my soul—

As if all law-born years were backward hurled

Toward some dim and other pole—

Some brute primordial reign

Whose voice was terror and whose life was pain.

On—up the trail I go;

Beneath my feet cold streams of moonlight glow,

And in the silver-sifted dark strange, naked fancies grow,

While the vast pines in vista, round by round,

Move with an unearthly sound,

And every tree with its white hair is crowned.

On—up—I go,

And as thru ancient Gothic arches seen

I glimpse the valley far below

That glistens with a fine fantastic sheen.

On—up—I pass,

Nor reck the night-wrought spells about me thrown,

Heedless—sucked dry of thought or will

Save to peer curious into this magician’s glass,

And see the forest dreams thru forest moonlight blown.

On—up I plunge—until

Bending, discern before me, with a thrill

The signs where some wild beast has gone.

Who knows but that within the silence here

The cedar shadows gloom about a deer,

That stands with body lithe and slim

Struck to a statue by surprise?

Who knows but that, upon some snowy limb

A lynx, lean-bellied, pricks his tufted ear

And watches me with evil, amber eyes?

*   *   *

Surely beyond the stars my man-world lies—

For close to me unhallowed mountains rise

And fill my heart with fear!

SONG IN WINTER

Burning stars in a frosty sky,

Thread-bare winds from the hollow west,

“Give us a garment of beauty!” they cry,

“For the waters of truth our throats are dry,

And phantoms of chaos uncover the bones of our breast,

Leaving us little rest.”

Bitter stars in a frozen sky,

Tattered winds from the lonely west,

Haggard beggars of hours that die—

(Begging the gift of a golden lie!)

Is it with you as with us, no rest, no rest—

Is it with you no rest?

The lacy chequer of aerial boughs

That winter weaves with delicate wizardry.

*   *   *

Far away—who knows how far?—

Against the flaming calm of winter twilight,

I hear the voice of speed—muffled and hoarse,

Sounding across the hills.

*   *   *

Locomotive, locomotive,

Over the hills at night,

Running on your far-away groove

With the husky pant of things that move

And cannot turn to left or right,

Of things that toil and things that pass

In the murk of smoke and the stench of gas,

Serf of the monstrous city,

What pity—oh what pity

For the dearth of your delight,

Locomotive, locomotive,

Over the hills at night!

CLOUDS

Whence do you come, oh silken shapes,

Across the silver sky?

We come from where the wind blows

And the young stars die.

Why do you move so fast, so fast

Across the white moon’s breast?

The cruel wind is at our heels

And we may not rest.

Are you not weary, fleeing shapes,

That never cease to flee?

The forkéd trees’ chained shadows are

Less weary than we.

Whither do you go, O shadow-shapes

Across the ghastly sky?

We go to where the wind blows

And the old stars die.

My head is circl’d with fire—

And I think of the failing of one’s desire—

And I hear outside the pitiful dropping of rain;

Which is the greater pain?

I yearn for the birth of the brain—

Be it child of blood and pain,

(I pray to endure the pain)—

My heart—lo! my heart is afire

With hue as of purple or Tyre—

With hope of Promethean fire—

And oh God! God! God! the desire

For what only the Gods attain!

In the white moonlight stand

With every finger on a star, and feel

Infinity as an engulfing wave.

JOY

The cañons are covered with snow,

But the sky doth over them lean

With eyes that are warm and keen

As if he could never know

The gray despair of the snow;

And snow and sky join hands together

To dance a dance of wonderful weather!

A VOICE

A woman spoke to me in the street—

I do not remember how or why—

But a breath blew over the winter sky

And spring came in with silver feet!

ANOTHER

A creature plucked at me in the street

But well I knew the reason why

The red stars sickened in the sky

And Hell gaped open at my feet!

IMPRESSIONS

This is the Gate of the Gray City—wrought

With piled roofs and steeples dimly seen

Thru the gray dusk—pale, wistful flakes of fire

Kindled about its lower fringe—vast murk—

A snuffling monster with an evil eye

That surly pants to work some will unknown,

Blowing white breaths—a semaphore

With lifted arm—a form that swings a light

In arcs, against infinitude of gray,

Uneasy sounds, the clink and clank and groan;

Of things inanimate—the curves of rails

In rhythmical convergence gathered up—

(And gathering up what burdens from afar!)

Monotony—monotony—despair!

This is the Gate of the Gray City.

Whatever our immitigable end,

The earth’s our home and prison thru whose windows

Our wistful scrutinizing minds traverse

The sky’s dissolving continents, exult

In melancholy mountains or, shackled,

Envy the inconstant sea that seems

An uncontaminated god, alone, complete

In mighty passion and the scorn of time.

*   *   *

I love the skyward-spiring tree

For its supreme unconsciousness of me.

So let us seek the lands that the Gods love,

The soil unsown, the isles of sumptuous store;

Where fallow fields yield yearly fee of grain,

And vines unpruned produce perennial bloom,

And olive slips engender faithfully,

And dark figs deck their trees; the cavernous oaks

Bleed honey’d drops, and from high hills descend

The nimble waters with melodious feet.

PRELUDE TO A PHANTASY

I will tell thee of Far-Away, of Far-Away, of Far-Away,

I will tell thee of Far-Away

The home of wandering dreams;

For they come out of Far-Away

To show us how to love and play,

And when they’ve wandered for a day

Must return, it seems.

There’s more than gold in Far-Away, in Far-Away, in Far-Away,

There’s more than gold in Far-Away,

There’s more than jewelled gleams.

There’s more than smiles in Far-Away,

And coronals of laughter gay;

There’s crystal tears that bloom alway

Beside forgotten streams.

We’ll gather gold from Far-Away, from Far-Away, from Far-Away,

We’ll gather gold from Far-Away,

We’ll steal the jewelled gleams.

We’ll hunt for smiles from Far-Away;

Following laughter by the way,

But we must for another day

Leave the tears it seems.

We’ll find the road to Far-Away, to Far-Away, to Far-Away,

We’ll know the road to Far-Away

By the feet of dreams;

For they come out of Far-Away

To love a little and to play,

And when they’ve wandered for a day

Must return it seems.

RUNNING WATER

Oh you who stand by the river in a gown of willow-green,

I will make you an eager song of my heart to-night;

I will find me a feather of a singing bird that has seen

And touched the blue targe of the sky in its flight.

I will make me a quill of it, and dip in my heart and write!

I would not make you a threnody of sorrow that has been,

For you are no more than an eager child who demand

Magical tales of me, of lacquered Arabian sheen;

I will speak very softly then with your hand

In mine, a rose petal, the things that you understand.

On the waxen and beautiful tablet that is your heart

With a singing quill and the stain of my heart I will write;

I will write with the simplest words and the simplest art

All the splendors that glow so by night—

Of the Genie and the Bottle, and carpets of orient flight.

And you who are more than a princess in your gown of yellow-green

With your bird-like and trembling heart will understand

All the luxurious sorrows and loves that have been

Written on parchment at a king’s demand—

And the simple words of them will flutter like birds in your hand.

EPITHALAMION

The pale dawn went down unto the sea,

Past the gray ships in the offing.

The salt wind found her blowing hair

And closed his wings and nested there,

And the salt sea hungered for her rare

Sweet body and forgot his scoffing.

The pale dawn went down unto the sea

When all the world was sleeping;

She lifted veils and veils of air

Until her eager limbs were bare,

And the salt sea shook his manéd hair,

And the curl’d waves came to her, leaping.

MARSH-LANDS

Sure in this spongy and luxuriant retreat—

This lovely lyric little marsh

Which nothing hath of fierce or harsh,

Unhappy fancies to evoke,

Where all life is most delicately attuned to sweet

Melodious living, here we’ll meet

Naiads dainty and discreet

With other watery folk

And watch the twinkle of their iridescent feet.

Upon a reed’s high silver point

Which early dews anoint,

The Red-wing lights and poises, swaying,

With throaty and delicious whistle playing

Pan-music in the mellow morning light.

It is like running water’s flow

A bit unearthly, and celestial quite—

A golden tremolo;

And satin robes of air half veil him from our sight.

The gay marsh-marigold

Delights its small sun to unfold;

And many a bulbous goblin thing,

Ugly and grave,

Into the dull mud burrowing

Draws from some secret treasure-cave

And to the sunlight heaves

Green breadth—great leaves

To build a vessel floating on an inland wave.

We’ll be as busy as the clouds, with naught to do,

And we will wonder at the curious striping,

In saffron glimpses, of more distant pools

Which the wind cools

With deep reflected blue.

And we will listen now to Hyla’s piping—

A thin small sprite

That one may never see

Calling to the sky his clear delight

Filled with insatiate and unbounded ecstasy.

SPRING FANCY

There is an orchard, old and rare,

(I cannot tell you where!)

With green doors opening to the sun;

And the sky-children gather there

To watch the blossoms, one by one,

Falling wistfully thru the air

From the trees’ dishevelled hair.

The sky-children shake their wings

With flutterings and gurglings—

And love the light and kiss the sun,

Nor heed the blossoms that have blown

From the fruit-wives’ ancient hair

Earthward thru the glowing air,

Wistfully—one by one.

SONG

A Flicker, a Robin, a Song-sparrow

Have come from Arcady.

The Flicker was an imp that shouted in a tree;

The Robin was a winged laugh that Spring set free;

The Song-sparrow was a liquid arrow

That pierced to the heart of me.

PLAYING

Three little girls and one little boy

Out in the first warm sunshine;

The wind blows in and the wind blows out

Voices cool as moonshine.

Six tin cans and a pile of dirt

And the air smiles like a mother—

The wind blows in and the wind blows out

As they play with each other.

Sparrows on the fence and clothes on the line

And somewhere someone’s laughter—

The wind blows in and the wind blows out

And it could not blow much softer!

Three little girls and one little boy

Out in the first warm weather—

The wind blows in and the wind blows out

While they play together.

SONG

Hi! hi! hi!

On this green morning

My soul is as taut as a greenwood-bow,

Feeling the sap in it mounting so,

Needs but a jog to loose without warning

An arrow into the infinite sky—

Hi! hi! hi!

On this green morning!

A BUST BY RODIN, KNOWN AS CERES

With rhythmic feet and garments flowing free

Draw near, draw near, bring largesse in full hand;

Move as to music of the saraband

Stately, before this Woman-deity.

Woman’s—these billows of thick hair that roll

Down the billowing breasts of her, and close

Shadows of pain and mirth in firm repose—

This delicate mask drawn tight across a soul!

A Goddess—Ultima Thule in her eye;

For the sad wisdom of its steady gaze,

Fixed on far, wintry fields and frozen ways,

Goes out to larger things than you or I:

The Titan-sap makes gods of the spring hours,

And Earth renews its children and its flowers!

THE FLOWER’S WAY

I have stood long in the night

Under a star;

I have stood still with shadowy head

And arrowy leaves outspread

Under its trembling light

Where green things are.

I have crept close to the grass

Where the beetles dart,

And the humming-bird and the dragon-fly

Were visions in the sky,

And the mendicant bees that pass

Rifled my heart.

I have lain long in the day

Under the sun,

With my burning face in the arms of the wind,

And my petals unconfin’d

And my virginal robes a-sway—

Thus joy is won!

THE TREE’S WAY

The high trees are honest folk;

They do not stand so much aloof

Up under heaven’s roof,

Altho they are earth’s fairest cloak.

Their lives are very calm and slow;

They wait for coming things to come,

They wait, they rest, they ponder some

Purpose forgotten long ago

Like quiet folk;

And sometimes I am moved to stroke

Hand-greeting as I pass them near,

And often I am sure I hear

An answer from these stately folk!

CHILDREN

What a garden of surprise

Out beyond my window lies!

Fancy, when the night is there

Gentle trees with drooping hair

Rocking, rocking cradle-wise

Little stars with yellow eyes!

VERSES TO A LITTLE CHILD
(From Hofmannsthal)

Your feet have been fashioned as roses

To seek the lands of the rainbow—

The rainbow-kingdoms are open.

There, haunting the taciturn tree-tops

Millennial prophecies linger,

The inexhaustible waters

Abide there forever and aye.

Beside the immeasurable forest

From wooden bowl brimming will you then

Apportion your milk with a hop-toad?

So festive a banqueting almost

Entices the stars to their fall!

By borders of measureless waters

Soon you will discover a playmate,

A dolphin engaging and kind.

He’ll leap to dry-land at your bidding,

And if he shall fail you sometimes

The tender, innumerable zephyrs

Will still your tempestuous sobbing.

You’ll find in the rainbow-kingdom

The ancient exalted traditions

Forever and ever unchanged.

The sun with mysterious power

Has fashioned your feet as the roses

To enter his measureless kingdom.

NIGHT-FLOWERS

This night hath no disease;

It knows not wrecks nor wars

Nor deaths of human minds.

The feet of the sweet winds

Break all the river’s peace

Into marmoreal bars.

The tops of moonlit trees

Have blossomed with white stars,

And perfumes that one finds

In old Arabian jars

Had never blooms like these!

THE NIGHT

Sorrows confide their secrets; joys lead lives

Of lonely splendor. Mankind tells all things

To me, knowing I will not ever speak.

DISILLUSION

The night was like a jewell’d crown—

(Could jewels be so soft a thing!)

For stars and wind were in the town

And by the highways entering,

Plucked there as on a viol string,

Until—somewhere—a woman’s scream—

Sharply shattered the dream!

Silence within

The upper twilight of a temple lies

Asleep, with pendant plumes—a dreaming god—

And dreams the pageantry of things—and dreams

The gifts that he has given with his hands—

The gifts that he has taken with his hands—

And dreams his own eternity.

*   *   *

I am one that loves

The stars of labyrinthine night whom the shrill dawn

Devours, the quietude of ultimate slopes

Thoughtful of twilight, peering moons that shed

Unrisen glamours thru the umbrageous wood

With gnome and goblin rife, and the light spray

Of gray spring rains enveloping the hills.

SONG

Would I were a bird

To nest in a cover

Of leaves that hover

’Twixt earth and heaven

Where no sound is heard—

Only the uneven

Brush of winds that slumber

With no thought to cumber;

Would I were a bird!

Would I were a wave

To rise for a moment

From the ocean’s foment,

To puff my lips asunder

Blowing bubbles brave,

To dream and to wonder

Of the depths below me

And the winds that blow me—

Would I were a wave!

Bird, canst thou fashion

Song of things that grieve thee?

Wave hast thou passion

For things that will deceive thee?

Bird and wave I leave ye!

RONDEAU

A Sunday-calm, ornate, profound,

Enchanting sense, subduing sound,

Enjoins its ritual to prepare;

The day is bland with unctuous prayer

That leaps to heaven at a bound.

And bells ope throats in mellow round

Of sweet antiphonal resound,

And virtue glistens everywhere—

A Sunday-calm.

Draw breath! Away to virgin ground!

But where the fields are flower-crowned

The cattle with self-conscious stare

Chide my undeprecative air,—

Good heavens! Can they too have found

A Sunday-calm?

SUNSET BURIAL

The trees upheaven filigrane fingers of desire

To touch a ruby-throated cloud-face fanned

By a bronze breath and globous mouth of fire;

Beneath, the rigid gravestones stand,

Each one a cadaver that cannot close its hand.

FAIRY SONG

I can live in a golden fruit

Whose core is hung with honey;

I can swing on golden wing

In elfin ceremony—

But oh! for the power

To open as a flower

When the air is sunny!

A YOUNG GIRL’S LOVE

The season is less stubborn now;

Over the youngling world we see

A white sky full of scudding blue,

A white wind that runneth as a child

Touching most delicately the new

Sweet buds, and having touched and smiled,

Goes to seek out some pale anemone,

And wreathe with maiden flowers her fragile brow.

A YOUNG MAN’S LOVE

If I were your sister I’d lie with you the night-long

To feel your bosom’s beating;

If I were your brother I’d wake you with a day-song

And give a kiss as greeting;

If I were your mother I’d hold you as a shut flower

When the dark comes creeping;

If I were your father I’d enter at the dawn-hour

To look upon you, sleeping.

What is there left over

For me, who am your lover?

SONG

A cup full of star-shine

That glowed as an ember,

(Oh, star of my delight!)

With smiles I do remember

And words forgotten quite,

A cup full of star-shine

I drank with you to-night.

A cup full of sea-sound

That was as summer thunder—

(Oh sea of my delight!)

With love that lay under

Seven heavens bright,

A cup full of sea-sound

I drank with you to-night.

SONG
(After an old English tune)

I will bring thee a silver crown.

I will bring thee an ell of vair,

Cloth of gold and ermine rare

To make thee a gown.

Thou hast brought me a marble frown.

Thou hast brought me a cold, cold stare,

Heart of lead and wry despair,

And a mad-man’s swown.

I will bring thee a leaden crown,

Cloth of Raines in thirty-fold!

I will bring thee a bed on the wold

To lay thee down.

Thou hast brought me out of the town

To the earth upturned where the bell is tolled—

Fires of hell and the river’s cold

My sorrows drown!

TRISTAN AND ISOLDE

The sea is here, it hath not any shore,

Nor moves with moving of wind-driven waves

Which, undulant and writhing—naked slaves

To the uneasy wanderer of heaven’s floor,

Bow sullen backs beneath their master’s store

He brought with viewless hands from broken graves—

The sea is here, and in its silent caves

Moves not, tho the wind clamors more and more.

The sea is here, an infinite undertone;

But lo! upon its surface I descry

Two floating bubbles, wonderfully blown

Toward each other, flame-like from the sky—

Meet—melt with lyric splendor into one—

Then, wind-prick’d, vanish—o’er the Sea, a cry!

PALINURUS

Starlight: with deep and quiet breathing slept

The southern sea. The white-wing’d ship that bore

The good Aeneas from his Dido’s shore

Ghostlike, with rippling furrows, onward crept,

And only faithful Palinurus kept

The midnight watch—but ah, the magic bough,

The opiate dew that dript upon his brow,

The vacant post, the friends who waking wept.

The gods demand their victims; who shall know

What failures Time and Circumstance compel?

Yet, if such doom were mine, I would ’twere so

That they would mark my absence thus: “How well

Even unto the last he struggled, lo!

He tore the rudder with him when he fell!”

THE DERELICT

I cannot remember whither I was bound—

I cannot remember why I was found

Moving without a sound

Moving in mystery—

Derelict, derelict,

Over the sea!

I too carry a cargo in my hold,

Underneath sea-water and green with mold—

I cannot remember how old!

For terrible it is to be

Derelict, derelict,

Over the sea!

Feebler ships weather bravely into port;

Running a course that is safe and short—

My voyage is another sort;

No master guideth me—

Derelict, derelict,

Over the sea!

Nights have shadow’d me with phantom stride—

Stars have peer’d at me, eerie-eyed—

Goblin lights and magic tide

Keep me company,

Derelict, derelict,

Over the sea!

Setting suns have rowell’d me with crimson’d heel—

Winds have flung laughter, peal after peal—

But they shall not know that I feel

Mute in my agony—

Derelict, derelict,

Over the sea!

Rudderless, by ways uncharted blown—

Some day shall waken to find me gone—

What matter? I have drifted alone

Ever—alone—yet free—

Derelict, derelict,

Over the sea!

THE SQUIRE OF DAMES TO HIS LADY

Why should our meeting borrow

A sense of shame or sorrow

That each must go his way?

Love liketh no fetter

Therefore our roads were better

If you go yours to-morrow,

And I go mine to-day.

I hold you for a minute—

You’d catch the hour and pin it—

But if I held you longer

Would you have more assurance

In days of richer durance,

Life with more rapture in it,

Passion more wise and stronger?

The Daughter of Illusion

Hath made our love seem fusion

Of two strange things in one—

But loving hath not taught her

That strange as fire to water,

Love becomes bleak intrusion

When all the glamor’s gone.

You say I’ve brought you sorrow

And pay not debts I borrow—

But mirth is what’s to pay!

So part our paths in laughter,

And, since your heart is softer,

You go your way to-morrow—

And I’ll go mine to-day.

GAS-LIGHT HEROICS

With this night’s carousal

We will close the portal

On our poor espousal—

Sacrament and housel

For a love too mortal!

With this gay delaying

We’ll delay yet longer—

Care not what the saying

Of the World—that braying

Evil tattle-monger!

Pleasure has as thunder

Scorched and jangled thru me;

Now I’ll sit and wonder

At the day-star yonder

And your face, grown gloomy.

You are known as “Lily”

And they mock your gender;

Is it but a silly

Fancy, you seem stilly

Lily-souled and tender?

Underneath the bitter

Mockery of color,

Underneath the titter

Is there something fitter?

Something finer, fuller?

Something (can I hear it

In your secret eyes?)

When I come too near it

Like a frightened spirit

Running from the skies?

Girl, you know that glow meant

Dawn’s thin lips of scarlet—

Bubble of life’s foment

Stay your soul a moment!

. . . . . .

Bah! You’re drunk, you harlot!

MISTS

I

I am most weary of this fatuous me

That doth obtrude a niddering death’s head

At a blithe feast of Springtide jollity,

Of revelling buds and flowers unsurfeited.

I am most weary of this chained thought

That hath forgotten where its mansions are—

And lost the dew its seven-spher’d courses caught

Wandering in plunged dark from star to star.

I am most weary of my stagnant soul

That neither thirsts, nor hungers, nor is stirred

By the gigantic thunders that have rolled

From the white, hurtling lightning of a word.

I am most weary, love; so let thy face—

The sponge that sops my gaze, myself erase.

II

Oft in the groping night I am afraid,

For this, mine opaque organism, seems

A glass, a mere reflex of trooping dreams—

A polished boss where images parade.

And to see these doth make my senses cold—

This globe become a visionary face—

This little spinning soul of me—in space—

I dare not think of what that space may hold!

Such thoughts are as the charnel mists that rise

From feverish and mortuary ground

Thru which one sees the country all around—

Yet near, the dead—and far away, the skies.

But at the thought of you my life expands

Until it holds all life within its hands!

SCEPTIC

I

This hour has shut us like a tent

From all but night; we two, alone,

So close, so poignantly alert, have grown,

That trivial speech, from silence rent,

Breaks off—a useless instrument.

For all the opening world is ours,

And you, tho scarce a woman yet,

Your eyes with feasts of lights and vintage set,

Hold all the dewy wealth of flowers,

And gold of Babylonian towers.

Our lives will alter if we move—

It were so easy now to rise

And tell my unimpassioned soul it lies—

And claim youth’s heritage of love,

Let bald life prove what it may prove!

It were so easy to conceive

Your lack my lack would compensate—

And by one stroke undo the knot of fate;

It were so easy to believe

The lies that such a thing could weave!

Or shall I stumble through the night

Biting my lips to hold the tears

Because your incommunicable years

Must spend their summer of delight

Without my reach—beyond my sight?

The house is still; the midnight seems

Inscrutable—no answer there.

Oh God!—to break this tension of despair.

Between us the calm lamplight streams—

“Good night!” and “Pleasant dreams!”—yes—dreams.

II

I would I had lain with my love to-night;

Her eyes trembled for her body said,

“I have smoothed a pillow and made a bed”—

But I smiled against it

And turned away my head

To come into the cold starlight.

I would I had lain with my love to-night,

For I know how flowers are shed,

And the cynical scintillant stars are dead—

Dead, dead utterly!

Yet I turned away my head

To come into the cold starlight.

I would I had lain with my love to-night!

Oh, indolent Gods, we too can tread

On the silent spirits, the uncomforted!

She did not reproach me,

Tho I turned away my head

And came into the starlight.

III

Love (as a cloud on the sea

Hung between poles of blue)

Hangs in the heart of me

Between the eyes of you.

Love, as a cloud on the sea,

Claims the tears of two.

Love (as a wind in a tree

Shaking its tower of green)

Shakes all the heart of me

And leaves no peace between.

Love, as the wind the tree

Tears with hands unseen.

Love (as a storm on the sea

Shatters the sleep of the wave)

Shatters the heart of me

With desires that grope and crave.

Love, as the storm the sea,

Boasts not me his slave.

IV

You, flower-named, and as a flower arrayed,

Open to all the wandering airs that pass,

Opened to me—yet I drew back afraid,

Craven to the blood that would have preyed

And the sly viper coiling in the grass.

V

Love, when you smiled and beckoned

My cold thought stood aloof and reckoned

Some heights above you.

But now you have turned and gone

Smiling, fugitive as dawn,

I know (oh fool!) I love you.

VI

Love, with her queen’s face and child lips

Walked at my side; her hair about her head

Streamed, with riotous and exuberant spread

Like sails and cordage of sea-breasting ships,

And as the tides, her mirthful glints and dips

Tugged at my anchor’d calmness—then she said,

Chilling to gravity, “You are lead.”

It was as when the bright blade cruelly slips,

For in my soul that hid its vain desires

Under closed hatch, I knew the stifled fires

Devoured in silence, as stealthy serpents writhe

Their folds about their prey; and seemed to hear

The passing of some irrevocable year,

And faint for whistle of a monstrous scythe.

VII

Pain of widest range—

The intimate grown strange.

ARMA VIRUMQUE CANO

And so the good Aeneas went away.

It was not dawn, and yet the sleepless sea

Felt as a mother, the still unborn day.

The stars were brighter than they ought to be.

A milky foam curled from the vessel’s breast

Whose long blades lifted to each lifting crest.

Happy were the sailors to be aboard once more,

And the laughing sea answered to their shouts afar off shore.

Dido the Queen

Knew he was gone.

No need to have seen

From the casement withdrawn;

No need to be told;

Her heart had guessed

By the aching unrest

And empty breast—

Empty and cold.

Oh, plain her Maidens at their spinning,

Love has end that had beginning.

As the course was traced Aeneas paced,

His thoughts uprising like a flock of birds;

And one flew west, to the new the unknown nest,

And one that was wing’d with flaming words—

Something the Queen had uttered, tender—sweet,—

Fluttered back and died—just at her feet.

Ho! chants a Rower, straining at the sweep,

Leave the landsman to his pillow, the sailor to the deep.

All night the Queen

In fever burned;

A dream returned

Long ago seen:

A dream of ships,

Of one who came

Out of a flame

And cried her name

And kissed her lips.

Somewhere in the dawn Someone’s singing:

“Lo! what gifts love’s hands are bringing!”

Jet-black, the palms like sculptured fountains loomed

Above the lovers; one star blazed all night.

Beyond the river was the sea that boomed.

Their barge was lit with lightnings of delight.

Of this, the good Aeneas too had dreamed

While the unshaken towers of Ilium gleamed.

Ah! cry the sailors, “whom we loved must wait.

There’s no turning back from the open track to the gates of fate.”

The cicadas drone;

Desert winds blow

As oarsmen row

Their Queen alone

Down the river.

Alone, she cried

Alone! to the tide.

And the sea replied

Forever!

La, croon the Women, nimbly weaving,

“Whose heart do we hear grieving?”

Months bring all wanderings to a close.

The fleet years flee; Aeneas wisely wed,

Often, when wind and sea strike mighty blows,

Wakening from dreams half ecstasy, half dread,

That come upon him from another life,

Touches the calm breast of his sleeping wife.

Hum, the Night Watch mutters, leaning on his spear,

“’Tis a strange world to be in and to have no fear.”

The sea at last

Brings pain to end.

The desert vast

Becomes her friend.

Her people fear it:

“The Queen,” they say,

“Grows day by day

Paler, but still gay—

As a spirit.”

Oh, they murmur, “Queen Dido goes away

To where the dark river runs, sunless and gray.”

A HYMN TO DIONYSUS IN SPRING

Yellow the sands of the shores of Elis, and over the creaming

Foam-flakes that flutter and curl on the edge of the dreaming

Mediterranean, Jupiter arches his azure dome.

Here to the somnolent sands the Aeolian women have come,

The dreamers, all languid with silence of spring-tide dreaming,

And they stand with their hair unbound and their feet in the foam.

The heart of the morning beats with a swooning, amorous beating,

And the nymph-cool waters and brazen sunshine meeting,

Mingle where indolent spring-tide ripples shimmer and burn;

Out to the dim horizon the eyes of the dreamers yearn,

And like flutes are the low, soft voices that chant thus, entreating

The God, Dionysus, to rise from the sea and return.

“Bitter thy roving hath been, O Hunter, and stricken with madness,

And thy winter frenzy hath torn us with torment of sadness—

Horror of blood in the mouth and of murderous lusts that bring

Shadows a-couch in the forest from under us shuddering.

We are sick of the feverish nights that have stolen our gladness—

Ah! we are weary of winter and fain of the Spring!”

“Thy foes, O Hunter, have goaded thy soul, but their goading is over,

For every unfolding leaf is a shield for thy cover

And every grass-blade upraises a spear that is scimitar-keen,

Gladly the flowers will weave thee a mantle to wander unseen.

Slim as a willow-wand, Ariadne awaits thee, her lover,

And her heart is full of the dreams that are cool and green.”

“Hyé, the Dew, thy mother, sorrows because of thy going,

And the film-pale, rain-sweet Hyades fleeing and flowing,

Dissolved from the rainbow and river to rise in the sap of the tree,

Leave never their dolorous grieving, lamenting in quest of thee.

And the succulent vine and the spirit of all things growing

Cry ‘Dionysus, return! Oh, return from the sea!’”

“Wilt thou forsake us forever, unheeding our sedulous plaining?

See’st not the clusters of pale green globes, crescent and straining

Sunwards, that long for thy hand to engarb them with royal attire?

Hear us, O Wine-God; return to us! Kindle once more Desire!”

So chant the Aeolian women till the light be waning

While the foam breaks over their feet in soft folds of fire.

The robes of the sun are red, and close to the earth he dozes;

The long day lingers, then slowly and silently closes

The shadowy orient gates, climbing upward stair by stair,

Raising her evening face to the stars in the spring-tide air.

Lo! the sea is aglow and aflame with the odor of roses!

Lo! a glimpse of the God with the sun in his yellow hair!

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Hell
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Grocer Shops and Souls
The Democrat With apologies to Mr. Galsworthy
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Clear, with Light Variable Winds
Fool’s Moneybags
The Crucified Dionysus Alexander S. Kaun
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