Sunday, August 18, 2013

Love is a River / Isaac Rieman Baxley

from The Wedding-Night of Emmaline



Love is a River, gently rolled
     By rounded bosoms of the meads,
Down, down the breasts of Earth is fold
     Follows the hollow where it leads:
Over the heart of Nature pressed
     The River's arms encircling cling,
Touching the outlines of her breast
     His liquid lips are murmuring.
Love's mistress smiles and he is glad,
     With flashing face beneath her eyes;
His countenance falls swiftly sad
     Beneath the faintest of her sighs –
Love is a River loath to leave
     The waysides of his mistress' feet;
A thousand eddies interweave
     Th' unnumbered vows his lips repeat.


Love is a River running fast,
     Filled with the rage of swift descent,
Plunging the rocks, his pleasure past,
     Intently on destruction bent:
Meeting his prison walls with roar
     Of high defiance and of hate,
Piling the floods he cannot pour
     Beyond the barriers to his fate.
Love is a whirlpool of desire,
     With giant arms and none to crush;
Twining his locks with hands of ire,
     Sending his menace with a rush
Of fearful foam, from out the well
     Filled with the grinding of his jaws
Upon the granite of his cell,–
     Where rage upon repression gnaws.


Love is a River, laughter spent,
     And pain but as rememberd woe.
Losing his waters with content
     Amid the mighty tides which go
Circling the globe with open breast,
     Inviting, with unwearied lips,
The rivulets weak and sore distressed,
     And the great carriers of ships.
The waters of this River run
     Over the level sea with ease,
Yet never on the hill-sides sprung
     A flood to give the seas increase.
Never a Love so mighty grew
     On hills of earth, or moral lea,
But lost the consciousness it knew
     Passing the Gates of Eternity!

Isaac Rieman Baxley
from The Temple of Alanthur, with other poems, 1886

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

Isaac Rieman Baxley biography

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