Sunday, June 5, 2011

Improvisations on the Flute / Marjorie Pickthall

Improvisations on the Flute

My lost delight, my guest,
Fled from me when I stirred,
Silently as the bird
That has no nest.

She has gathered darkness to build her a nest
And the little leaves of cloud.
She crouches with her breast against darkness,
And hides as a hare in the meadows of night.
It covers her like long grass
Whose blossom is all of stars;
Crocus-stars, stars of anemone,
Where cling the moths that are the longings of men.
She is born of the evening,
When the moon breathes the scent of young thyme,
And the dead shepherds hear the sheep cropping in the dew.

She is slain of the morning,
When the thin willow-leaves tremble like fire
Burning the branches,
As if each were a sorrow that burned and shone
Forever ―

My guest, my lost delight,
Come nearer, star by star.
Sweet as the lips of night
Your kisses are.

Marjorie Pickthall
from The Lamp of Poor Souls, 1916

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom]

Marjorie Pickthall biography

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