Friday, September 17, 2010

Things / Aline Kilmer


Sometimes when I am at tea with you,
     I catch my breath
At a thought that is old as the world is old
     And more bitter than death.

It is that the spoon that you just laid down
     And the cup that you hold
May be here shining and insolent
     When you are still and cold.

Your careless note that I laid away
     May leap to my eyes like flame;
When the world has almost forgotten your voice
     Or the sound of your name.

The golden Virgin da Vinci drew
     May smile on over my head,
And daffodils nod in the silver vase
     When you are dead.

So let moth and dust corrupt and thieves
     Break through and I shall be glad,
Because of the hatred I bear to things
     Instead of the love I had.

For life seems only a shuddering breath,
     A smothered, desperate cry;
And things have a terrible permanence
     When people die.

Aline Kilmer (1888-1941)
from Vigils, 1921

[APoem is in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the European Union]

Aline Kilmer biography

1 comment:

  1. Aline Kilmer was married to poet Joyce Kilmer (Trees), who died while in France during WWI in 1917.