weaves, and is clothed with derision;
Sows, and he shall not reap;
His life is a watch or a vision
a sleep and a sleep.
(IN MEMORY OF CHARLES BAUDELAIRE)
SHALL I strew on thee rose or rue or laurel,
Brother, on this that was the veil of thee?
quiet sea-flower moulded by the sea,
Or simplest growth of meadow-sweet or sorrel,
Such as the summer-
sleepy Dryads weave,
Waked up by snow-soft sudden rains at eve?
Or wilt thou rather, as on earth before,
faded fiery blossoms, pale with heat
And full of bitter summer, but more sweet
To thee than gleanings of
a northern shore
Trod by no tropic feet?
For always thee the fervid languid glories
Allured of heavier suns in mightier skies;
knew all the wandering watery sighs
Where the sea sobs round Lesbian promontories,
The barren kiss of
piteous wave to wave
That knows not where is that Leucadian grave
Which hides too deep the supreme
head of song.
Ah, salt and sterile as her kisses were,
The wild sea winds her and the green gulfs bear
and thither, and vex and work her wrong,
Blind gods that cannot spare.
Thou sawest, in thine old singing season, brother,
Secrets and sorrows unbeheld of us:
loves, and lovely leaf-buds poisonous,
Bare to thy subtler eye, but for none other
Blowing by night in some
The hidden harvest of luxurious time,
Sin without shape, and pleasure without speech;
where strange dreams in a tumultuous sleep
Make the shut eyes of stricken spirits weep;
And with each
face thou sawest the shadow on each,
Seeing as men sow men reap.
O sleepless heart and sombre soul unsleeping,
That were athirst for sleep and no more life
no more love, for peace and no more strife!
Now the dim gods of death have in their keeping
body and all the springs of song,
Is it well now where love can do no wrong,
Where stingless pleasure
has no foam or fang
Behind the unopening closure of her lips?
Is it not well where soul from body slips
flesh from bone divides without a pang
As dew from flower-bell drips?
It is enough; the end and the beginning
Are one thing to thee, who art past the end.
unclaspd of unbeholden friend,
For thee no fruits to pluck, no palms for winning,
No triumph and no labour
and no lust,
Only dead yew-leaves and a little dust.
O quiet eyes wherein the light saith naught,
the day is dumb, nor any night
With obscure finger silences your sight,
Nor in your speech the sudden
soul speaks thought,
Sleep, and have sleep for light.
Now all strange hours and all strange loves are over,
Dreams and desires and sombre songs
Hast thou found place at the great knees and feet
Of some pale Titan-woman like a lover,
as thy vision her solicited,
Under the shadow of her fair vast head,
The deep division of prodigious breasts,
solemn slope of mighty limbs asleep,
The weight of awful tresses that still keep
The savour and shade of
Where the wet hill-winds weep?
Hast thou found any likeness for thy vision?
O gardener of strange flowers, what bud, what
Hast thou found sown, what gatherd in the gloom?
What of despair, of rapture, of derision,
of life is there, what of ill or good?
Are the fruits gray like dust or bright like blood?
Does the dim ground
grow any seed of ours,
The faint fields quicken any terrene root,
In low lands where the sun and moon
And all the stars keep silence? Are there flowers
At all, or any fruit?
Alas, but though my flying song flies after,
O sweet strange elder singer, thy more fleet
and footprints of thy fleeter feet,
Some dim derision of mysterious laughter
From the blind tongueless
warders of the dead,
Some gainless glimpse of Proserpines veild head,
Some little sound of unregarded
Wept by effaced unprofitable eyes,
And from pale mouths some cadence of dead sighs
only, these the hearkening spirit hears,
Sees only such things rise.