A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 20000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
There's some one at the gate.
Quick, to the window ... Oh, you'll be too late!
I hear the front door opening quietly.
Did you forget, last night, to turn the key?
A foot is on the stairs--nay, just outside
The very room--the door is opening wide...
Stephen, wake up, wake up! Who's there? Who's there?
I only feel a cold wind in my hair...
Have I been dreaming, Stephen? Husband, wake
And comfort me: I think my heart will break.
I never knew you sleep so sound and still....
O my heart's love, why is your hand so chill?



PHILIP AND PHOEBE WARE

Who is that woman, Philip, standing there
Before the mirror doing up her hair?

You're dreaming, Phoebe, or the morning light
Mixing and mingling with the dying night
Makes shapes out of the darkness, and you see
Some dream-remembered phantasy maybe.

Yet it grows clearer with the growing day;
And in the cold dawn light her hair is grey:
Her lifted arms are naught but bone: her hands
White withered claws that fumble as she stands
Trying to pin that wisp into its place.
O Philip, I must look upon her face
There in the mirror. Nay, but I will rise
And peep over her shoulder ... Oh, the eyes
That burn out from that face of skin and bone,
Searching my very marrow, are my own.



BY THE WEIR

A scent of Esparto grass--and again I recall
That hour we spent by the weir of the paper-mill
Watching together the curving thunderous fall
Of frothing amber, bemused by the roar until
My mind was as blank as the speckless sheets that wound
On the hot steel ironing-rollers perpetually turning
In the humming dark rooms of the mill: all sense and discerning
By the stunning and dazzling oblivion of hill-waters drowned.

And my heart was empty of memory and hope and desire
Till, rousing, I looked afresh on your face as you gazed--
Behind you an old gnarled fruit-tree in one still fire
Of innumerable flame in the sun of October blazed,
Scarlet and gold that the first white frost would spill
With eddying flicker and patter of dead leaves falling--
looked on your face, as an outcast from Eden recalling
A vision of Eve as she dallied bewildered and still

By the serpent-encircled tree of knowledge that flamed
With gold and scarlet of good and evil, her eyes
Rapt on the river of life: then bright and untamed
By the labour and sorrow and fear of a world that dies
Your ignorant eyes looked up into mine; and I knew
That never our hearts should be one till your young lips had tasted
The core of the bitter-sweet fruit, and wise and toil-wasted
You should stand at my shoulder an outcast from Eden too.



WORLDS

Through the pale green forest of tall bracken-stalks,
Whose interwoven fronds, a jade-green sky,
Above me glimmer, infinitely high,
Towards my giant hand a beetle walks
In glistening emerald mail; and as I lie
Watching his progress through huge grassy blades
And over pebble boulders, my own world fades
And shrinks to the vision of a beetle's eye.

Within that forest world of twilight green
Ambushed with unknown perils, one endless day
I travel down the beetle-trail between
Huge glossy boles through green infinity ...
Till flashes a glimpse of blue sea through the bracken asway,
And my world is again a tumult of windy sea.





* * * * *





ROBERT GRAVES



LOST LOVE

His eyes are quickened so with grief,
He can watch a grass or leaf
Every instant grow; he can
Clearly through a flint wall see,
Or watch the startled spirit flee
From the throat of a dead man.
Across two counties he can hear,
And catch your words before you speak.
The woodlouse or the maggot's weak
Clamour rings in his sad ear;
And noise so slight it would surpass
Credence:--drinking sound of grass,
Worm-talk, clashing jaws of moth
Chumbling holes in cloth:
The groan of ants who undertake
Gigantic loads for honour's sake--
Their sinews creak, their breath comes thin:
Whir of spiders when they spin,
And minute whispering, mumbling, sighs
Of idle grubs and flies.
This man is quickened so with grief,
He wanders god-like or like thief
Inside and out, below, above,
Without relief seeking lost love.



MORNING PHOENIX

In my body lives a flame,
Flame that burns me all the day;
When a fierce sun does the same,
I am charred away.

Who could keep a smiling wit,
Roasted so in heart and hide,
Turning on the sun's red spit,
Scorched by love inside?

Caves I long for and cold rocks,
Minnow-peopled country brooks,
Blundering gales of Equinox,
Sunless valley-nooks,

Daily so I might restore
Calcined heart and shrivelled skin,
A morning phoenix with proud roar
Kindled new within.



A LOVER SINCE CHILDHOOD

Tangled in thought am I,
Stumble in speech do I?
Do I blunder and blush for the reason why?
Wander aloof do I,
Lean over gates and sigh,
Making friends with the bee and the butterfly?

If thus and thus I do,
Dazed by the thought of you,
Walking my sorrowful way in the early dew,
My heart cut through and through
In this despair of you,
Starved for a word or a look will my hope renew:

Give then a thought for me
Walking so miserably,
Wanting relief in the friendship of flower or tree;
Do but remember, we
Once could in love agree,
Swallow your pride, let us be as we used to be.



SULLEN MOODS

Love, do not count your labour lost
Though I turn sullen, grim, retired
Even at your side; my thought is crossed
With fancies by old longings fired.

And when I answer you, some days
Vaguely and wildly, do not fear
That my love walks forbidden ways,
Breaking the ties that hold it here.

If I speak gruffly, this mood is
Mere indignation at my own
Shortcomings, plagues, uncertainties;
I forget the gentler tone.

'You,' now that you have come to be
My one beginning, prime and end,
I count at last as wholly 'me,'
Lover no longer nor yet friend.

Friendship is flattery, though close hid;
Must I then flatter my own mind?
And must (which laws of shame forbid)
Blind love of you make self-love blind?

... Do not repay me my own coin,
The sharp rebuke, the frown, the groan;
No, stir my memory to disjoin
Your emanation from my own.

Help me to see you as before
When overwhelmed and dead, almost,
I stumbled on that secret door
Which saves the live man from the ghost.

Be once again the distant light,
Promise of glory not yet known
In full perfection---wasted quite
When on my imperfection thrown.



THE PIER-GLASS

Lost manor where I walk continually
A ghost, while yet in woman's flesh and blood;
Up your broad stairs mounting with outspread fingers
And gliding steadfast down your corridors
I come by nightly custom to this room,
And even on sultry afternoons I come
Drawn by a thread of time-sunk memory.

Empty, unless for a huge bed of state
Shrouded with rusty curtains drooped awry
(A puppet theatre where malignant fancy
Peoples the wings with fear). At my right hand
A ravelled bell-pull hangs in readiness
To summon me from attic glooms above
Service of elder ghosts; here at my left
A sullen pier-glass cracked from side to side
Scorns to present the face as do new mirrors
With a lying flush, but shows it melancholy
And pale, as faces grow that look in mirrors.

Is here no life, nothing but the thin shadow
And blank foreboding, never a wainscot rat
Rasping a crust? Or at the window pane
No fly, no bluebottle, no starveling spider?
The windows frame a prospect of cold skies
Half-merged with sea, as at the first creation,
Abstract, confusing welter. Face about,
Peer rather in the glass once more, take note
Of self, the grey lips and long hair dishevelled,
Sleep-staring eyes. Ah, mirror, for Christ's love
Give me one token that there still abides
Remote, beyond this island mystery,
So be it only this side Hope, somewhere,
In streams, on sun-warm mountain pasturage,
True life, natural breath; not this phantasma.

A rumour, scarcely yet to be reckoned sound,
But a pulse quicker or slower, then I know
My plea is granted; death prevails not yet.
For bees have swarmed behind in a close place
Pent up between this glass and the outer wall.
The combs are founded, the queen rules her court,
Bee-sergeants posted at the entrance-chink
Are sampling each returning honey-cargo
With scrutinizing mouth and commentary,
Slow approbation, quick dissatisfaction--
Disquieting rhythm, that leads me home at last
From labyrinthine wandering. This new mood
Of judgment orders me my present duty,
To face again a problem strongly solved
In life gone by, but now again proposed
Out of due time for fresh deliberation.
Did not my answer please the Master's ear?
Yet, I'll stay obstinate. How went the question,
A paltry question set on the elements
Of love and the wronged lover's obligation?
_Kill or forgive?_ Still does the bed ooze blood?
Let it drip down till every floor-plank rot!
Yet shall I answer, challenging the judgment:--
_'Kill, strike the blow again, spite what shall come.'_
'Kill, strike, again, again,' the bees in chorus hum.



THE TROLL'S NOSEGAY

A simple nosegay! was that much to ask?
(Winter still gloomed, with scarce a bud yet showing).
He loved her ill, if he resigned the task.
'Somewhere,' she cried, 'there must be blossom blowing.'
It seems my lady wept and the troll swore
By Heaven he hated tears: he'd cure her spleen;
Where she had begged one flower, he'd shower four-score,
A haystack bunch to amaze a China Queen.

Cold fog-drawn Lily, pale mist-magic Rose
He conjured, and in a glassy cauldron set
With elvish unsubstantial Mignonette
And such vague bloom as wandering dreams enclose.
But she?
Awed,
Charmed to tears,
Distracted,
Yet--
Even yet, perhaps, a trifle piqued--who knows?



FOX'S DINGLE

Take now a country mood,
Resolve, distil it:--
Nine Acre swaying alive,
June flowers that fill it,

Spicy sweet-briar bush,
The uneasy wren
Fluttering from ash to birch
And back again.

Milkwort on its low stem,
Spread hawthorn tree,
Sunlight patching the wood,
A hive-bound bee....

Girls riding nim-nim-nim,
Ladies, trot-trot,
Gentlemen hard at gallop,
Shouting, steam-hot.

Now over the rough turf
Bridles go jingle,
And there's a well-loved pool,
By Fox's Dingle,

Where Sweetheart, my brown mare,
Old Glory's daughter,
May loll her leathern tongue
In snow-cool water.



THE GENERAL ELLIOTT

He fell in victory's fierce pursuit,
Holed through and through with shot,
A sabre sweep had hacked him deep
Twixt neck and shoulderknot....

The potman cannot well recall,
The ostler never knew,
Whether his day was Malplaquet,
The Boyne or Waterloo.

But there he hangs for tavern sign,
With foolish bold regard
For cock and hen and loitering men
And wagons down the yard.

Raised high above the hayseed world
He smokes his painted pipe,
And now surveys the orchard ways,
The damsons clustering ripe.

He sees the churchyard slabs beyond,
Where country neighbours lie,
Their brief renown set lowly down;
_His_ name assaults the sky.

He grips the tankard of brown ale
That spills a generous foam:
Oft-times he drinks, they say, and winks
At drunk men lurching home.

No upstart hero may usurp
That honoured swinging seat;
His seasons pass with pipe and glass
Until the tale's complete.

And paint shall keep his buttons bright
Though all the world's forgot
Whether he died for England's pride
By battle, or by pot.



THE PATCHWORK BONNET

Across the room my silent love I throw,
Where you sit sewing in bed by candlelight,
Your young stern profile and industrious fingers
Displayed against the blind in a shadow-show,
To Dinda's grave delight.

The needle dips and pokes, the cheerful thread
Runs after, follow-my-leader down the seam:
The patchwork pieces cry for joy together,
O soon to sit as a crown on Dinda's head,
Fulfilment of their dream.

Snippets and odd ends folded by, forgotten,
With camphor on a top shelf, hard to find,
Now wake to this most happy resurrection,
To Dinda playing toss with a reel of cotton
And staring at the blind.

Dinda in sing-song stretching out one hand
Calls for the playthings; mother does not hear:
Her mind sails far away on a patchwork Ocean,
And all the world must wait till she touches land;
So Dinda cries in fear,

Then Mother turns, laughing like a young fairy,
And Dinda smiles to see her look so kind,
Calls out again for playthings, playthings, playthings;
And now the shadows make an Umbrian _Mary
Adoring_, on the blind.





* * * * *





RICHARD HUGHES



THE SINGING FURIES

The yellow sky grows vivid as the sun:
The sea glittering, and the hills dun.

The stones quiver.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | Next |


Keywords: country, patchwork, answer, though, looked, memory, sullen, morning, mirror, before
N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.