Sunday, August 21, 2011

Symbols / David Morton


Symbols

Beautiful words, like butterflies, blow by,
      With what swift colours on their fragile wings! –
Some that are less articulate than a sigh,
      Some that were names of ancient, lovely things.
What delicate careerings of escape,
     When they would pass beyond the baffled reach,
To leave a haunting shadow and a shape, –
      Eluding still the careful traps of speech.

And I who watch and listen, lie in wait,
      Seeing the cloudy cavalcades blow past,  –
Happy if some bright vagrant, soon or late,
      May venture near the snares of sound, at last  –
Most fortunate captor if, from time to time,
One may be taken, trembling, in a rhyme.

---
David Morton
from Ships in Harbor, and other poems, 1921.

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

David Morton biography

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