French Leave

No servile little fear shall daunt my will
This morning. I have courage steeled to say
I will be lazy, conqueringly still,
I will not lose the hours in toil this day.
The roaring world without, careless of souls,
Shall leave me to my placid dream of rest,
My four walls shield me from its shouting ghouls,
And all its hates have fled my quiet breast.
And I will loll here resting, wide awake,
Dead to the world of work, the world of love,
I laze contented just for dreaming’s sake
With not the slightest urge to think or move.
How tired unto death, how tired I was!
Now for a day I put my burdens by,
And like a child amidst the meadow grass
Under the southern sun, I languid lie
And feel the bed about me kindly deep,
My strength ooze gently from my hollow bones,
My worried brain drift aimlessly to sleep,
Like softening to a song of tuneful tones.

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The Spanish Needle

Lovely dainty Spanish needle
With your yellow flower and white,
Dew bedecked and softly sleeping,
Do you think of me to-night?

Shadowed by the spreading mango,
Nodding o’er the rippling stream,
Tell me, dear plant of my childhood,
Do you of the exile dream?

Do you see me by the brook’s side
Catching crayfish ‘neath the stone,
As you did the day you whispered:
Leave the harmless dears alone?

Do you see me in the meadow
Coming from the woodland spring
With a bamboo on my shoulder
And a pail sling from a string?

Do you see me all expectant
Lying in an orange grove,
While the swee-swees sing above me,
Waiting for my elf-eyed love?

Lovely dainty Spanish needle,
Source to me of sweet delight,
In your far-off sunny southland
Do you dream of me to-night?

Flame-Heart

So much have I forgotten in ten years,
So much in ten brief years!               I have forgot
What time the purple apples come to juice,
And what month brings the shy forget-me-not.
I have forgot the special, startling season
Of the pimento’s flowering and fruiting;
What time of year the ground doves brown the
fields
And fill the noonday with the curious fluting.
I have forgotten much, but still remember
The poinsettia’s red, blood-red in warm December.

I still recall the honey-fever grass,
But cannot recollect the high days when
We rooted them out of the ping-wing path
To stop the mad bees in the rabbit pen.
I often try to think in what sweet month
The languid painted ladies used to dapple
The yellow by-road mazing from the main,
Sweet with the golden threads of the rose-apple.
I have forgotten—strange—but quite remember
The poinsettia’s red, blood-red in warm December.

What weeks, what months, what time of the mild
year
We cheated school to have our fling at tops?
What days our wine-thrilled bodies pulsed with
joy
Feasting upon blackberries in the copse?
Oh some I know! I have embalmed the days,
All innocent of passion, uncorrupt,
At noon and evening in the flame-heart’s shade.
We were so happy, happy, I remember,
Beneath the poinsettia’s red in warm December.

Polarity

Nay, why reproach each other, be unkind,
     For there’s no plane on which we two may meet?
Let’s both forgive, forget, for both were blind,
     And life is of a day, and time is fleet.

And I am fire, swift to flame and burn,
     Melting with elements high overhead,
While you are water in an earthly urn,
     All pure, but heavy, and of hue like lead.