Thursday, March 31, 2016

In the Night

There always is a noise when it is dark;
It is the noise of silence and the noise
Of blindness.

The noise of silence and the noise of blindness
Do frighten me,
They hold me stark and rigid as a tree!

These frighten me,
These hold me stark and rigid as a tree!
Because at last their tumult is more loud
Than thunder.

Songs From The Clay [1915]

The Goat Paths

The crooked paths go every way
Upon the hill—they wind about
Through the heather in and out
Of the quiet sunniness.
And there the goats, day after day,
Stray in sunny quietness,
Cropping here and cropping there,
As they pause and turn and pass,
Now a bit of heather spray,
Now a mouthful of the grass.

In the deeper sunniness,
In the place where nothing stirs,
Quietly in quietness,
In the quiet of the furze,
For a time they come and lie
Staring on the roving sky.
If you approach they run away,
They leap and stare, away they bound,
With a sudden angry sound,
To the sunny quietude;
Crouching down where nothing stirs
In the silence of the furze,
Couching down again to brood
In the sunny solitude.

If I were as wise as they
I would stray apart and brood,
I would beat a hidden way
Through the quiet heather spray
To a sunny solitude;
And should you come I'd run away,
I would make an angry sound,
I would stare and turn and bound
To the deeper quietude,
To the place where nothing stirs
In the silence of the furze.

In that airy quietness
I would think as long as they;
Through the quiet sunniness
I would stray away to brood
By a hidden beaten way
In a sunny solitude.

I would think until I found
Something I can never find,
Something lying on the ground,
In the bottom of my mind.

Songs From The Clay [1915]

The Satyr

There came a satyr creeping through the wood,
His hair fell on his breast, his legs were slim:
His eyes were laughing wickedly, he stood
And peeped about on every side of him.

He peeped about, he minced upon the ground,
He put a thin hand up to hide a grin:
He doubled up and laughed without a sound;
The very bodiment of happy sin.

The bodiment of sin: timid and wild
And limber as a goat: his pointed feet
Were not at peace an instant: like a child
He danced and glanced, and like a goat was fleet.

He danced, he peeped, but at a sound I made,
A crackling twig, he turned and suddenly
In three great jumps he bounded to the shade,
And disappeared among the greenery.

Songs From The Clay [1915]

The Red-Haired Man

But what is it that I have done to you:
Why did you go away so suddenly:
Is it that I am ugly: is it true
That I am very ugly: did you see
Me peeping like a satyr through a tree:
Was it my ugly face that frightened you?

Was it my ugly face, say, was it so:
Was it my figure, tell me, am I lame:
Do I go hopping like a wounded crow
Under a hedge : come, speak to me, my dame!
Or have you heard of me an evil fame:
Is that the reason why you had to go?

You had to go ! Or did you go for fun,
To see if I would come and search for you?
If it be thus, behold ! the game is done,
For I am seeking, calling, torn in two,
Lost and bewildered ! what am I to do
To bring you back again, my hope, my sun!

My hope, my sun, my only thing of true:
My promise and my treasure, my delight:
My inmost, secret dream that no one knew:
My sun that shines upon me in the night:
My moon that looks at me when day is bright:
What is it, then, that I have done to you?

Songs From The Clay [1915]

Sweet Apple

(After Sappho)

At the end of the bough, at the top of the tree
(As fragrant, as high, and as lovely as thou!),
One sweet apple reddens which all men may see
At the end of the bough.

Swinging full to the view, though the gatherers now
Pass, and evade, overlook busily:
Overlook ! nay, but pluck it!
They cannot tell how.

For it swings out of reach as a cloud, and as free
As a star, or thy beauty, which seems too, I vow,
Remote as the sweet rosy apple—ah me!
At the end of the bough.

Songs From The Clay [1915]

The Petal of a Rose

Let us be quiet for a while,
The morrow comes: let us be still:
Let us close our eyes and smile,
Knowing that the morrow will
Come as certain as the sun
Or a sorrow : let us be
Peaceful till this night be done,
And we waken up to see
That the thing is not in view,
That the memory is gone,
And the world is made anew
Different for every one:
Different ! The morrow glows
Where the black wings spread and brood,
Where the petal of a rose
Blushes in the solitude.

Songs From The Clay [1915]


Do not let any woman read this verse;
It is for men, and after them their sons
And their sons' sons.

The time comes when our hearts sink utterly;
When we remember Deirdre and her tale,
And that her lips are dust.

Once she did tread the earth: men took her hand;
They looked into her eyes and said their say,
And she replied to them.

More than a thousand years it is since she
Was beautiful : she trod the waving grass;
She saw the clouds.

A thousand years ! The grass is still the same,
The clouds as lovely as they were that time
When Deirdre was alive.

But there has never been a woman born
Who was so beautiful, not one so beautiful
Of all the women born.

Let all men go apart and mourn together;
No man can ever love her; not a man
Can ever be her lover.

No man can bend before her: no man say—
What could one say to her? There are no words
That one could say to her!

Now she is but a story that is told
Beside the fire ! No man can ever be
The friend of that poor queen.

Songs From The Clay [1915]

In Woods and Meadows

Play to the tender stops, though cheerily:
Gently my soul, my song: let no one hear:
Sing to thyself alone ; thine ecstasy
Rising in silence to the inward ear
That is attuned to silence: do not tell
A friend, a bird, a star, lest they should say—
He danced in woods and meadows all the day,
Waving his arms, and cried as evening fell,
"O, do not come," and cried, " O, come, thou queen,
And walk with me unwatched upon the green
Under the sky."

Songs From The Clay [1915]

The Horned Moon

The heavens were silent and bare,
Not a star lit the heights overhead,
There was not a stir in the air,
And the people were all gone to bed.

I was there all alone in the night,
With the moon, and we talked for a while,
And her face was a wonder of light,
And her smile was a beautiful smile.

She leaned down and I nearly went mad
(And she was as frightened as me),
But I got the kiss that she had
Intended to give to the sea.

Then the sea gave a leap of surprise,
And shouted that she was a jade,
So the moon ran away through the skies,
And I hid myself in the glade.

After that we were never alone,
We were watched day and night, and they tied
The unhappy young moon to her throne,
Till I married a different bride.

Songs From The Clay [1915]

A Song for Lovers

The moon is shining on the sea:
Every night the moon looks down
Through the spaces quietly;
And no matter though I be
In the houses of the town,
Something always says to me,
The moon is shining on the sea.

Along the boulevard I pace,
Peeping up among the trees,
And I see her gentle face
Looking through immensities;
And while I stare there comes to me
The distant murmur of the sea.

For they love each other well:
All across the depth of space
They are reaching out their arms,
They are looking face to face,
The pretty, timid moon and the
Poor, unhappy, little sea.

Songs From The Clay [1915]

To Be Continued

I smiled at the angry maid,
And said that I did not care
Whether she went or stayed.

And she, going down the glade,
Thought, "Now he will fall to prayer."
I smiled at the angry maid.

Indeed I was sore afraid;
But I said it was her affair
Whether she went or stayed.

About her a nimbus rayed
Where the sun made love to her hair.
I smiled at the angry maid.

And while, like a fool, I played,
I had not a smile to spare
Whether she went or stayed.

She in her youth arrayed!
I stolid and scant of hair!
I smiled at the angry maid
Whether she went or stayed.

Songs From The Clay [1915]

The Daisies

In the scented bud of the morning-O,
When the windy grass went rippling far,
I saw my dear one walking slow,
In the field where the daisies are.

We did not laugh and we did not speak
As we wandered happily to and fro;
I kissed my dear on either cheek,
In the bud of the morning-O.

A lark sang up from the breezy land,
A lark sang down from a cloud afar,
And she and I went hand in hand,
In the field where the daisies are.

Songs From The Clay [1915]

The Messenger

Bee! tell me whence do you come ?
Ten fields away, twenty perhaps,
Have heard your hum.

If you are from the north, you may
Have passed my mother's roof of straw
Upon your way.

If you came from the south, you should
Have seen another cottage just
Inside the wood.

And should you go back that way, please
Carry a message to the house
Among the trees.

Say—I will wait her at the rock
Beside the stream, this very night
At eight o'clock.

And ask your queen when you get home
To send my queen the present of
A honeycomb.

Songs From The Clay [1915]

Friday, March 04, 2016

The Rivals

I heard a bird at dawn
Singing sweetly on a tree,
That the dew was on the lawn,
And the wind was on the lea;
But I didn't listen to him,
For he didn't sing to me.

I didn't listen to him,
For he didn't sing to me
That the dew was on the lawn
And the wind was on the lea;
I was singing at the time
Just as prettily as he.

I was singing all the time,
Just as prettily as he,
About the dew upon the lawn
And the wind upon the lea;
So I didn't listen to him
As he sang upon a tree.

Songs From The Clay [1915]

And It Was Windy Weather

Now the winds are riding by,
Clouds are galloping the sky,
And the trees are lashing their
Leafy plumes upon the air;
They are crying as they sway—
"Pull the roots out of the clay,
Dance away, O, dance away;
Leave the rooted place and speed
To the hill-side and the mead,
To the roaring seas we go,
Chase the airy birds, and know,
Flying high, flying high,
All the freedom of the sky,
All the freedom of the sky."

Songs From The Clay [1915]