H O M E

Some Imagist Poets
(1915)


    Richard Aldington

  1. Childhood
  2. The Poplar
  3. Childhood
  4. Round-Pond
  5. Epigrams
  6. The Faun sees Snow for the First Time
  7. Lemures

    H.D.

  8. The Pool
  9. The Garden
  10. Sea Lily
  11. Sea Iris
  12. Sea Rose
  13. Oread
  14. Orion Dead

    John Gould Fletcher

  15. The Blue Symphony
  16. London Excursion

    F. S. Flint

  17. Trees
  18. Lunch
  19. Malady
  20. Accident
  21. Fragment
  22. House
  23. Eau Forte

    D.H. Lawrence

  24. Ballad of Another Ophelia
  25. Illicit
  26. Fireflies in the Corn
  27. A Woman and Her Dead Husband
  28. The Mowers
  29. Scent of Irises
  30. Green

    Amy Lowell

  31. Venus Transiens
  32. The Travelling Bear
  33. The Letter
  34. Grotesque
  35. Bullion
  36. Solitaire
  37. The Bombardment



Poets' Corner Scripting
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Hilda Doolittle, H.D. by Man Ray
Some Imagist Poets




An Anthology

(1915)

Edited for the Web by Bob Blair

. Childhood



    I

    THE bitterness. the misery, the wretchedness of childhood
    Put me out of love with God.
    I can't believe in God's goodness;
    I can believe
    In many avenging gods.
    Most of all I believe
    In gods of bitter dullness,
    Cruel local gods
    Who scared my childhood.

    II

    I've seen people put
    A chrysalis in a match-box,
    "To see," they told me, "what sort of moth would come."
    But when it broke its shell
    It slipped and stumbled and fell about its prison
    And tried to climb to the light
    For space to dry its wings.

    That's how I was.
    Somebody found my chrysalis
    And shut it in a match-box.
    My shrivelled wings were beaten,
    Shed their colours in dusty scales
    Before the box was opened
    For the moth to fly.

    III

    I hate that town;
    I hate the town I lived in when I was little;
    I hate to think of it.
    There wre always clouds, smoke, rain
    In that dingly little valley.
    It rained; it always rained.
    I think I never saw the sun until I was nine --
    And then it was too late;
    Everything's too late after the first seven years.

    The long street we lived in
    Was duller than a drain
    And nearly as dingy.
    There were the big College
    And the pseudo-Gothic town-hall.
    There were the sordid provincial shops --
    The grocer's, and the shops for women,
    The shop where I bought transfers,
    And the piano and gramaphone shop
    Where I used to stand
    Staring at the huge shiny pianos and at the pictures
    Of a white dog looking into a gramaphone.

    How dull and greasy and grey and sordid it was!
    On wet days -- it was always wet --
    I used to kneel on a chair
    And look at it from the window.

    The dirty yellow trams
    Dragged noisily along
    With a clatter of wheels and bells
    And a humming of wires overhead.
    They threw up the filthy rain-water from the hollow lines
    And then the water ran back
    Full of brownish foam bubbles.

    There was nothing else to see --
    It was all so dull --
    Except a few grey legs under shiny black umbrellas
    Running along the grey shiny pavements;
    Sometimes there was a waggon
    Whose horses made a strange loud hollow sound
    With their hoofs
    Through the silent rain.

    And there was a grey museum
    Full of dead birds and dead insects and dead animals
    And a few relics of the Romans -- dead also.
    There was a sea-front,
    A long asphalt walk with a bleak road beside it,
    Three piers, a row of houses,
    And a salt dirty smell from the little harbour.

    I was like a moth --
    Like one of those grey Emperor moths
    Which flutter through the vines at Capri.
    And that damned little town was my match-box,
    Against whose sides I beat and beat
    Until my wings were torn and faded, and dingy
    As that damned little town.

    IV

    At school it was just as dull as that dull High Street.
    The front was dull;
    The High Street and the other street were dull --
    And there was a public park, I remember,
    And that was damned dull, too,
    With its beds of geraniums no one was allowed to pick,
    And its clipped lawns you weren't allowed to walk on,
    And the gold-fish pond you mustn't paddle in,
    And the gate made out of a whale's jaw-bones,
    And the swings, which were for "Board-School children,"
    And its gravel paths.

    And on Sundays they rang the bells,
    From Baptist and Evangelical and Catholic churches.
    They had a Salvation Army.
    I was taken to a High Church;
    The parson's name was Mowbray,
    "Which is a good name but he thinks too much of it --"
    That's what I heard people say.

    I took a little black book
    To that cold, grey, damp, smelling church,
    And I had to sit on a hard bench,
    Wriggle off it to kneel down when they sang psalms
    And wriggle off it to kneel down when they prayed,
    And then there was nothing to do
    Except to play trains with the hymn-books.

    There was nothing to see,
    Nothing to do,
    Nothing to play with,
    Except that in an empty room upstairs
    There was a large tin box
    Containing reproductions of the Magna Charta,
    Of the Declaration of Independence
    And of a letter from Raleigh after the Armada.
    There were also several packets of stamps,
    Yellow and blue Guatemala parrots,
    Blue stags and red baboons and birds from Sarawak,
    Indians and Men-of-war
    From the United States,
    And the green and red portraits
    Of King Francobello
    Of Italy.

    V

    I don't believe in God.
    I do believe in avenging gods
    Who plague us for sins we never sinned
    But who avenge us.

    That's why I'll never have a child,
    Never shut up a chrysalis in a match-box
    For the moth to spoil and crush its brght colours,
    Beating its wings against the dingy prison-wall.

    Richard Aldington

. The Poplar

    WHY do you always stand there shivering
    Between the white stream and the road?

    The people pass through the dust
    On bicycles, in carts, in motor-cars;
    The waggoners go by at down;
    The lovers walk on the grass path at night.

    Stir from your roots, walk, poplar!
    You are more beautiful than they are.

    I know that the white wind loves you,
    Is always kissing you and turning up
    The white lining of your green petticoat.
    The sky darts through you like blue rain,
    And the grey rain drips on your flanks
    And loves you.
    And I have seen the moon
    Slip his silver penny into your pocket
    As you straightened your hair;
    And the white mist curling and hesitating
    Like a bashful lover about your knees.

    I know you, poplar;
    I have watched you since I was ten.
    But if you had a little real love,
    A little strength,
    You would leave your nonchalant idle lovers
    And go walking down the white road
    Behind the waggoners.

    There are beautiful beeches down beyond the hill.
    Will you always stand there shivering?

    Richard Aldington

. Round-Pond

    WATER ruffled and speckled by galloping wind
    Which puffs and spurts it into tiny pashing breaks
    Dashed with lemon-yellow afternoon sunlight.
    The shining of the sun upon the water
    Is like a scattering of gold crocus-petals
    In a long wavering irregular flight.

    The water is cold to the eye
    As the wind to the cheek.

    In the budding chestnuts
    Whose sticky buds glimmer and are half-burst open
    The starlings make their clitter-clatter;
    And the blackbirds in the grass
    Are getting as fat as the pigeons.

    Too-hoo, this is brave;
    Even the cold wind is seeking a new mistress.

    Richard Aldington

. Daisy

    "Plus quan se atque suos amavit omnes,
    nunc . . ."
                 CATULLUS

    YOU were my playmate by the sea.
    We swam together.
    Your girl's body had no breasts.

    We found prawns among the rocks;
    We liked to feel the sun and to do nothing;
    In the evening we played games with the others.

    It made me glad to be by you.

    Sometimes I kissed you,
    And you were always glad to kiss me;
    But I was afraid -- I was only fourteen.

    And I had quite forgotten you,
    You and your name.

    To-day I pass through the streets.
    She who touches my arms and talks with me
    Is -- who knows? -- Helen of Sparta,
    Dryope, Laodamia . . . .

    And there are you
    A whore in Oxford Street.

    Richard Aldington

. Epigrams

    A Girl

    YOU were that clear Sicilian fluting
    That pains our thought even now.
    You were the notes
    Of cold fantastic grief
    Some few found beautiful.

    New Love

    She had new leaves
    After her dead flowers,
    Like the little almond-tree
    Which the frost hurt.

    October

    The beech-leaves are silver
    For lack of the tree's blood.

    At your kiss my lips
    Become like the autumn beech-leaves.

    Richard Aldington

. The Faun Sees Snow for the First Time

    ZEUS,
    Brazen-thunder-hurler,
    Cloud-whirler, son-of-Kronos,
    Send vengeance on these Oreads
    Who strew
    White frozen flecks of mist and cloud
    Over the brown trees and the tufted grass
    Of the meadows, where the stream
    Runs black through shining banks
    Of bluish white.

    Zeus,
    Are the halls of heaven broken up
    That you flake down upon me
    Feather-strips of marble?

    Dis and Styx!
    When I stamp my hoof
    The frozen-cloud-specks jam into the cleft
    So that I reel upon two slippery points . . . .

    Fool, to stand here cursing
    When I might be running!

    Richard Aldington

. Lemures

    IN Nineveh
    And beyond Nineveh
    In the dusk
    They were afraid.

    In Thebes of Egypt
    In the dust
    They chanted of them to the dead.

    In my Lesbos and Achaia
    Where the God dwelt
    We knew them.

    Now men say "They are not":
    But in the dusk
    Ere the white sun comes --
    A gay child that bears a white candle --
    I am afraid of their rustling,
    Of their terrible silence,
    The menace of their secrecy.

    Richard Aldington

. The Pool

    ARE you alive?
    I touch you.
    You quiver like a sea-fish.
    I cover you with my net.
    What are you -- banded one?

    H.D.

. The Garden

    I.

    YOU are clear,
    O rose, cut in rock,
    hard as the descent of hail.

    I could scrape the colour
    from the petal,
    like spilt dye from a rock.

    If I could break you
    I could break a tree.

    If I could stir
    I could break a tree,
    I could break you.

    II.

    O wind,
    rend open the heat,
    cut apart the heat,
    rend it sideways.

    Fruit can not drop
    through this thick air:
    fruit can not fall into heat
    that presses up and blunts
    the points of pears
    and rounds the grapes.

    Cut the heat,
    plough through it,
    turning it on either side
    of your path.

    H.D.

. Sea Lily

    REED,
    slashed and torn,
    but doubly rich --
    such great heads as yours
    drift upon temple-steps,
    but you are shattered
    in the wind.

    Myrtle-bark
    is flecked from you,
    scales are dashed from your stem
    sand cuts your petal,
    furrows it with hard edge,
    like flint
    on a bright stone.

    Yet though the whole wind
    slash as your bark,
    you are lifted up,
    aye -- though it hiss
    to cover you with froth.

    H.D.

. Sea Iris

    I.

    WEED, moss-weed,
    root tangled in sand,
    sea-iris, brittle flower,
    one petal like a shell
    is broken,
    and you print a shadow
    like a thin twig.

    Fortunate one,
    scented and stinging,
    rigid myrrh-bud,
    camphor-flower,
    sweet and salt -- you are wind
    in our nostrils.

    II.

    Do the murex-fishers
    drench you as they pass?
    Do your root drag up colour
    from the sand?
    Have they slipped gold under you;
    rivets of gold?

    Band of iris-flowers
    above the waves,
    You are painted blue,
    painted like a fresh prow
    stained among the salt weeds.

    H.D.

. Sea Rose

    ROSE, harsh rose,
    marred and with stint of petals,
    meagre flower, thin,
    sparse of leaf,

    more precious
    than a wet rose,
    single on a stem --
    you are caught in the drift.

    Stunted, with small leaf,
    you are flung on the sands,
    you are lifted
    in the crisp sand
    that drives in the wind.

    Can the spice-rose
    drip such acrid fragrance
    hardened in a leaf?

    H.D.

. Oread

    WHIRL up, sea --
    Whirl your pointed pines,
    Splash your great pines
    On our rocks,
    Hurl your green over us,
    Cover us with your pools of fir.

    H.D.

. Orion Dead

    [Artemis speaks]

    THE cornel-trees
    uplift from the furrows,
    the roots at their bases
    strike lower through the barley-sprays.

    So arise and face me.
    I am poisoned with the rage of song.

    I once pierced the flesh
    of the wild-deer,
    now am I afraid to touch
    the blue and the gold-veined hyacinths?


    I will tear the full flowers
    and the little heads
    of the grape-hyacinths.
    I will strip the life from the bulb
    until the ivory layers
    lie like narcissus petals
    on the black earth.


    Arise,
    lest I bend an ash-tree
    into a taut bow,
    and slay -- and tear
    all the roots from the earth.

    The cornel-wood blazes
    and strikes through the barley-sprays,
    but I have lost heart for this.

    I break a staff.
    I break the tough branch.
    I know no light in the woods.
    I have lost pace with the winds.

    H.D.

. The Blue Symphony

    I.

    THE darkness rolls upward.
    The thick darkness carries with it
    Rain and a ravel of cloud.
    The sun comes forth upon earth.

    Palely the dawn
    Leaves me facing timidly
    Old gardens sunken:
    And in the gardens is water.

    Sombre wrecks -- autumnal leaves;
    Shadowy roofs
    In the blue mist,
    And a willow-branch that is broken.

    O old pagodas of my soul, how you glittered across green trees!
    Blue and cool:
    Blue, tremulously,
    Blow faint puffs of smoke
    Across sombre pools.
    The damp green smell of rotted wood;
    And a heron that cries from out the water.

    II.

    Through the upland meadows
    I go alone.
    For I dreamed of someone last night
    Who is waiting for me.

    Flower and blossom, tell me do you know of her?

    Have the rocks hidden her voice?
    They are very blue and still.

    Long upward road that is leading me,
    Light hearted I quit you,
    For the long loose ripples of the meadow-grass
    Invite me to dance upon them.

    Quivering grass
    Daintily poised
    For her foot's tripping.

    O blown clouds, could I only race up like you,
    Oh, the last slopes that are sun-drenched and steep!

    Look, the sky!
    Across black valleys
    Rise blue-white aloft
    Jagged, unwrinkled mountains, ranges of death.

    Solitude. Silence.

    III.

    One chuckles by the brook for me:
    One rages under the stone.
    One makes a spout of his mouth,
    One whispers -- one is gone.

    One over there on the water
    Spreads cold ripples
    For me
    Enticingly.

    The vast dark trees
    Flow like blue veils
    Of tears
    Into the water.

    Sour sprites,
    Moaning and chuckling,
    What have you hidden from me?

    "In the palace of the blue stone she lies forever
    Bound hand and foot."

    Was it the wind
    That rattled the reeds together?

    Dry reeds, a faint shiver in the grasses.

    IV.

    On the left hand there is a temple:
    And a palace on the right-hand side.
    Foot-passengers in scarlet
    Pass over the glittering tide.

    Under the bridge
    The old river flows
    Low and monotonous
    Day after day.

    I have heard and have seen
    All the news that has been:
    Autumn's gold and Spring's green!

    Now in my palace
    I see foot-passengers
    Crossing the river:
    Pilgrims of Autumn
    In the afternoons.

    Lotus pools:
    Petals in the water.
    Such are my dreams.

    For me silks are outspread.
    I take my ease, unthinking.

    V.

    And now the lowest pine-branch
    Is drawn across the disk of the sun.
    Old friends who will forget me soon
    I must go on,
    Towards those blue death-mountains
    I have forgot so long.

    In the marsh grasses
    There lies forever
    My last treasure,
    With the hope of my heart.

    The ice is glazing over.
    Torn lanterns flutter,
    On the leaves is snow.

    In the frosty evening
    Toll the old bell for me
    Once, in the sleepy temple.

    Perhaps my soul will hear.

    Afterglow:
    Before the stars peep
    I shall creeep out into darkness.

    John Gould Fletcher

. London Excursion

    Bus

    GREAT walls of green,
    City that is afar.

    We gallop along
    Alert and penetrating,
    Roads open about us,
    Housetops keep at a distance.

    Soft-curling tendrils,
    Swim backwards from our image:
    We are a red bulk,
    Projecting the angular city, in shadows, at our feet.

    Black coarse-squared shapes,
    Hump and growl and assemble.
    It is the city that takes us to itself,
    Vast thunder riding down strange skies.

    An arch under which we slide
    Divides our lives for us:
    After we have passed it
    We know we have left something behind
    We shall not see again.

    Passivity,
    Gravity,
    Are changed into hesitating, clanking pistons and wheels.
    The trams come whooping up one by one,
    Yellow pulse-beats spreading through darkness.

    Music-hall posters squall out:
    The passengers shrink together,
    I enter indelicately into all their souls.

    It is a glossy skating rink,
    On which winged spirals clasp and bend eath other:
    And suddenly slide backwards towards the centre,
    After a too-brief release.

    A second arch is a wall
    To separate our souls from rotted cables
    Of stale greenness.

    A shadow cutting off the country from us,
    Out of it rise red walls.

    Yet I revolt: I bend, I twist myself,
    I curl into a million convolutions:
    Pink shapes without angle,
    Anything to be soft and woolly,
    Anything to escape.

    Sudden lurch of clamours,
    Two more viaducts
    Stretch out red yokes of steel,
    Crushing my rebellion.

    My soul shrieking
    Is jolted forwards by a long hot bar --
    Into direct distances.
    It pierces the small of my back.

    Approach

    ONLY this morning I sang of roses;
    Now I see with a swift stare,
    The city forcing up through the air
    Black cubes close piled and some half-crumbling over.

    My roses are battered into pulp:
    And there swells up in me
    Sudden desire for something changeless,
    Thrusts of sunless rock
    Unmelted by hissing wheels.

    Arrival

    Here is too swift a movement,
    The rest is too still.

    It is a red sea
    Licking
    The housefronts.

    They quiver gently
    From base to summit.
    Ripples of impulse run through them,
    Flattering resistance.

    Soon they will fall;
    Already smoke yearns upward.
    Clouds of dust,
    Crash of collapsing cubes.

    I prefer deeper patience,
    Monotony of stalled beasts.
    O angle-builders,
    Vainly have you prolonged your effort,
    For I descend amid you,
    Past rungs and slopes of curving slippery steel.

    Walk

    Sudden struggle for foothold on the pavement,
    Familiar ascension.

    I do not heed the city any more,
    It has given me a duty to perform.
    I pass along nonchalantly,
    Insinuating myself into self-baffling movements.
    Impalpable charm of back streets
    In which I find myself:
    Cool spaces filled with shadow.
    Passers-by, white hammocks in the sunlight.

    Bulging outcrush into old tumult;
    Attainment, as of a narrow harbour,
    Of some shop forgotten by traffic
    With cool-corridored walls.

    Bus-Top

    Black shapes bending
    Taxicabs crush in the crowd.
    The tops are each a shining square
    Shuttles that steadily press through woolly fabric.

    Drooping blossom,
    Gas-standards over
    Spray out jingling tumult
    Of white-hot rays.
    Monotonous domes of bowler-hats
    Vibrate in the heat.

    Silently, easily we sway through braying traffic,
    Down the crowded street.
    The tumult crouches over us,
    Or suddenly drifts to one side.

    Transposition

    I am blown like a leaf
    Hither and thither.
    The city about me
    Resolves itself into sound of many voices,
    Rustling and fluttering,
    Leaves shaken by the breeze.

    A million forces ignore me, I know not why,
    I am drunken with it all.
    Suddenly I feel an immense will
    Stored up hither to and unconscious till this instant.
    Projecting my body
    Across a streeet, in the face of all its traffic.

    I dart and dash:
    I do not know why I go.
    These people watch me,
    I yield them my adventure.

    Lazily I lounge through labyrintine corridors,
    And with eyes suddenly altered,
    I peer into an office I do not know,
    And wonder at a startled face that penetrates my own.

    Roses -- pavement --
    I will take all this city away with me --
    People -- uproar -- the pavement jostling and flickering --
    Women with incredible eyelids:
    Dandies in spats:
    Hard-faced throng discussing me -- I know them all.
    I will take them away with me,
    I insistently rob them of their essence,
    I must have it all before night,
    To sing amid my green.

    I glide out unobservant
    In the midst of the traffic
    Blown like a leaf
    Hither and thither,
    Till the city resolves itself into the clamour of voices,
    Crying hollowly, like the wind rustling through the forest
    Against the frozen housefronts:
    Lost in the glitter of a million movements.

    Peripeteia

    I can no longer find a place for myself:
    I go.

    There are too many things to detain me,
    But the force behind is reckless.

    Noise, uproar, movement
    Slide me outwards,
    Black sleet shivering
    Down red walls.

    In thick jungles of green, this gyration,
    My centrifugal folly,
    Through roaring dust and futility spattered,
    Will find its own repose.

    Golden lights will gleam sullenly into silence,
    Before I return.

    Mid-Flight

    We rush, a black throng,
    Straight upon darkness:
    Motes scattered
    By the arc's rays.

    Over the bridge fluttering,
    It is theatre-time,
    No one heeds.

    Lost amid greenness
    We will sleep all night;
    And in the morning
    Coming forth, we will shake wet wings
    Over the settled dust of to-day.

    The city hurls its cobbled streets after us,
    To drive us faster.

    We must attain the night
    Before endless processions
    Of lamps
    Push us back.
    A clock with quivering hands
    Leaps to the trajectory-angle of our departure.

    We leave behind pale traces of achievement:
    Fires that we kindled but were too tired to put out,
    Broad gold fans brushing softly over dark walls,
    Stifled uproar of night.

    We are already cast forth:
    The signal of our departure
    Jerks down before we have learned we are to go.

    Station

    We descend
    Into a wall of green.
    Straggling shapes:
    Afterwards none are seen.

    I find myself
    Alone.
    I look back:
    The city has grown.

    One grey wall
    Windowed, unlit.

    Heavily, night
    Crushes the face of it.

    I go on.
    My memories freeze
    Like birds' cry
    In hollow trees.

    I go on.
    Up and outright
    To the hostility
    Of night.

    John Gould Fletcher

. Trees

    ELM trees
    and the leaf the boy in me hated
    long ago --
    rough and sandy.

    Poplars
    and their leaves,
    tender, smooth to the fingers,
    and a secret in their smell
    I have forgotten.

    Oaks
    and forest glades,
    heart aching with wonder, fear:
    their bitter mast.

    Willows
    and the scented beetle
    we put in our handkerchiefs;
    and the roots of one
    that spread into a river:
    nakedness, water and joy.

    Hawthorn,
    white and odorous with blossom,
    framing the quiet fields,
    and swaying flowers and grasses,
    and the hum of bees.

    Oh, these are the things that are with me now,
    in the town;
    and I am grateful
    for this minute of my manhood.

    F.S. Flint

. Lunch

    FRAIL beauty,
    green, gold and incandescent whiteness,
    narcissi, daffodils,
    you have brought me Spring and longing,
    wistfulness,
    in your irradiance.

    Therefore, I sit here
    among the people,
    dreaming,
    and my heart arches
    with all the hawthorn blossom,
    the bees humming,
    the light wind upon the poplars,
    and your warmth and your love
    and your eyes . . .
    they smile and know me.

    F.S. Flint

. Malady

    I MOVE:
    perhaps I have wakened;
    this is a bed;
    this is a room;
    and there is light . . .

    Darkness!

    Have I performed
    the dozen acts or so
    that make me the man
    men see?

    The door opens,
    and on the landing --
    quiet!
    I can see nothing: the pain, the weariness!

    Stairs, banisters, a handrail:
    all indistinguishable.
    One step farther down or up,
    and why?
    But up is harder. Down!
    Down to this white blur;
    it gives before me.

    Me?

    I extend all ways:
    I fit into the walls and they pull me.

    Light?

    Light! I know it is light.

    Stillness, and then,
    something moves:
    green, oh green, dazzling lightning!
    And joy! this is my room;
    there are my books, there the piano,
    there the last bar I wrote,
    there the last line,
    and oh the sunlight!

    A parrot screeches.

    F.S. Flint

. Accident

    DEAR one!
    you sit there
    in the corner of the carriage;
    and you do not know me;
    and your eyes forbid.

    Is it the dirt, the squalor,
    the wear of human bodies,
    and the dead faces of our neighbours?
    These are but symbols.

    You are proud; I praise you;
    your mouth is set; you see beyond us;
    and you see nothing.

    I have the vision of your calm, cold face,
    and of the black hair that waves above it;
    I watch you; I love you;
    I desire you.

    There is a quiet here
    within the thud-thud of the wheels
    upon the railway.

    There is a quiet here
    within my heart,
    but tense and tender . . .

    This is my station . . .

    F.S. Flint

. Fragment

       . . . THAT night I loved you
    in the candlelight.
    Your golden hair
    strewed the sweet whiteness of the pillows
    and the counterpane.
    O the darkness of the corners,
    the warm air, and the stars
    framed in the casement of the ships' lights!
    The waves lapped into the harbour;
    the boats creaked;
    a man's voice sang out on the quay;
    and you loved me.
    In your love were the tall tree fuchsias,
    the blue of the hortensias, the scarlet nasturtiums,
    the trees on the hills,
    the roads we had covered,
    and the sea that had borne your body
    before the rock of Hartland.
    You loved me with these
    and with the kindness of people,
    country folk, sailors and fisherman,
    and the old lady who had lodged us and supped us.
    You loved me with yourself
    that was these and more,
    changed as the earth is changed
    into the bloom of flowers.

    F.S. Flint

. Houses

    EVENING and quiet:
    a bird trills in the poplar trees
    behind the house with the dark green door
    across the road.

    Into the sky,
    the red earthenware and the galvanised iron chimneys
    thrust their cowls.
    The hoot of the steamers on the Thames is plain.

    No wind;
    the trees merge, green with green;
    a car whirs by;
    footsteps and voices take their pitch
    in the key of dusk,
    far-off and near, subdued.

    Solid and square to the world
    the houses stand,
    their windows blocked with venetian blinds.

    Nothing will move them.

    F.S. Flint

. Eau-Forte

    ON black bare trees a stale cream moon
    hangs dead, and sours the unborn buds.

    Two gaunt old hacks, knees bent, heads low,
    tug, tired and spent, an old horse tram.

    Damp smoke, rank mist fill the dark square;
    and round the bend six bullocks come.

    A hobbling, dirt-grimed drover guides
    their clattering feet to death and shame.

    F.S. Flint

. Ballad of Another Ophelia

    OH, the green glimmer of apples in the orchard,
    Lamps in a wash of rain,
    Oh, the wet walk of my brown hen through the stackyard,
    O, tears on the window pane!

    Nothing now will ripen the bright green apples,
    Full of disappointment and of rain,
    Brackish they will taste, of tears, when the yellow dapples
    Of Autumn tell the withered tale again.

    All round the yard it is cluck, my brown hen,
    Cluck, and the rain-wet wings,
    Cluck, my marigold bird, and again
    Cluck for your yellow darlings.

    For the grey rat found the gold thirteen
    Huddled away in the dark,
    Flutter for a moment, oh the beast is quick and keen,
    Extinct one yellow-fluffy spark.

    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

    Once I had a lover bright like running water,
    Once his face was laughing like the sky;
    Open like the sky looking down in all its laughter
    On the buttercups -- and buttercups was I.

    What then is there hidden in the skirts of all the blossom,
    What is peeping from your wings, oh mother hen?
    'Tis the sun who asks the question, in a lovely haste for wisdom --
    What a lovely haste for wisdom is in men?

    Yea, but it is cruel when undressed is all the blossom,
    And her shift is lying white upon the floor,
    That a grey one, like a shadow, like a rat, a thie, a rainstorm
    Creeps upon her then and gathers in his store.

    Oh, the grey garner that is full of half-grown apples,
    Oh, the golden sparkles laid extinct -- !
    And oh, behind the cloud sheaves, like yellow autumn dapples,
    Did you see the wicked sun that winked?

    D. H. Lawrence

. Illicit

    IN front of the sombre mountains, a faint, lost ribbon of rainbow,
    And between us and it, the thunder;
    And down below, in the green wheat, the labourers
    Stand like dark stumps, still in the green wheat.

    You are near to me, and your naked feet in their sandals,
    And through the scent of the balcony's naked timber
    I distinguish the scent of your hair; so now the limber
    Lightning falls from heaven.

    Adown the pale-green, glacier-river floats
    A dark boat through the gloom -- and whither?
    The thunder roars. But still we have each other.
    The naked lightnings in the heaven dither
    And disappear. What have we but each other?
    The boat has gone.

    D. H. Lawrence

. Fireflies in the Corn

    LOOK at the little darlings in the corn!
    The rye is taller than you, who think yourself
    So high and mighty: look how its heads are borne
    Dark and proud in the sky, like a number of knights
    Passing with spears and pennants and manly scorn.

    And always likely! -- Oh, if I could ride
    With my head held high-serene against the sky
    Do you think I'd have a creature like you at my side
    With your gloom and your doubt that you love me?
    O darling rye,
    How I adore you for your simple pride!

    And those bright fireflies wafting in between
    And over the swaying cornstalks, just above
    All their dark-feathered helmets, like little green
    Stars come low and wandering here for love
    Of this dark earth, and wandering all serene -- !

    How I adore you, you happy things, you dears
    Riding the air and carrying all the time
    Your little lanterns behind you: it cheers
    My heart to see you settling and trying to climb
    The cornstalks, tipping with fire their spears.

    All over the corn's dim motion, against the blue
    Dark sky of night, the wandering glitter, the swarm
    Of questing brilliant things: -- you joy, you true
    Spirit of careless joy: ah, how I warm
    My poor and perished soul at the joy of you!

    The Man answers and she mocks

    You're a fool, woman. I love you and you know I do!
    -- Lord, take his love away, it makes him whine.
    And I give you everything that you want me to.
    -- Lord, dear Lord, do you think he ever can shine?

    D. H. Lawrence

. A Woman and Her Dead Husband

    AH, stern cold man,
    How can you lie so relentless hard
    While I wash you with weeping water!
    Ah, face, carved hard and cold,
    You have been like this, on your guard
    Against me, since death began.

    You masquerader!
    How can you shame to act this part
    Of unswerving indifference to me?
    It is not you; why disguise yourself
    Against me, to break my heart,
    You evader?

    You've a warm mouth,
    A good warm mouth always sooner to soften
    Even than your sudden eyes.
    Ah cruel, to keep your mouth
    Relentless, however often
    I kiss it in drouth.

    You are not he.
    Who are you, lying in his pace on the bed
    And rigid and indifferent to me?
    His mouth, though he laughed or sulked
    Was always warm and red
    And good to me.

    And his eyes could see
    The white moon hang like a breast revealed
    By the slipping shawl of stars,
    Could see the small stars tremble
    As the heart beneath did wield
    Systole, diastole.

    And he showed it me
    So, when he made his love to me;
    And his brows like rocks on the sea jut out,
    And his eyes were deep like the sea
    With shadow, and he looked at me,
    Till I sank in him like the sea,
    Awfully.

    Oh, he was multiform --
    Which then was he among the manifold?
    The gay, the sorrowful, the seer?
    I have loved a rich race of men in one --
    -- But not this, this never-warm
    Metal-cold -- !

    Ah, masquerader!
    With your steel face white-enamelled
    Were you he, after all, and I never
    Saw you or felt you in kissing?
    -- Yet sometimes my heart was trammelled
    With fear, evader!

    You will not stir,
    Nor hear me, not a sound.
    -- Then it was you --
    And all this time you were
    Like this when I lived with you.
    It is not true,
    I am frightened, I am frightened of you
    And of everything.
    O God! -- God too
    Has deceived me in everything,
    In everything.

    D. H. Lawrence

. The Mowers

    THERE'S four men mowing down by the river;
        I can hear the sound of the scythe strokes, four
    Sharp breaths swishing: -- yea, but I
        Am sorry for what's i' store.

    The first man out o' the four that's mowin'
        Is mine: I mun claim him once for all:
    -- But I'm sorry for him, on his young feet, knowin'
        None o' the trouble he's led to stall.

    As he sees me bringin' the dinner, he lifts
        His head as proud as a deer that looks
    Shoulder-deep out o' th' corn: and wipes
        His scythe blade bright, unhooks

    His scythe stone, an' over the grass to me!
        -- Lad, tha's gotten a chilt in me,
    An' a man an' a father tha'lt ha'e to be,
        My young slim lad, an' I'm sorry for thee.

    D. H. Lawrence

. Scent of Irises

    A FAINT, sickening scent of irises
    Persists all morning. Here in a jar on the table
    A fine proud spike of purple irises
    Rising above the clsss-room litter, makes me unable
    To see the class's lifted and bended faces
    Save in a broken pattern, amid purple and gold and sable.

    I can smell the gorgeous bog-end, in its breathless
    Dazzle of may-blobs, when the marigold glare overcast
    You with fire on your brow and your cheeks and your chin as you dipped
    Your face in your marigold bunch, to touch and contrast
    Your own dark mouth with the bridal faint lady-smocks
    Dissolved in the golden sorcery you should not outlast.

    You amid the bog-end's yellow incantation,
    You sitting in the cowslips of the meadows above,
    -- Me, your shadow on the bog-flame, flowery may-bobs,
    Me full length in the cowslips, muttering you love --
    You, your soul like a lady-smock, lost, evanescent,
    You, with your face all rich, like the sheen on a dove -- !

    You are always asking, do I remember, remember
    The buttercup bog-end where the flowers rose up
    And kindled you over deep with a coat of gold?
    You ask again, do the healing days close up
    The open darkness which then drew us in,
    The dark that swallows all, and nought throws up.

    You upon the dry, dead beech-leaves, in the fire of night
    Burnt like a sacrifice; -- you invisible --
    Only the fire of darkness, and the scent of you!
    -- And yes, thank God, it still is possible
    The healing days shall close the darkness up
    Wherein I breathed you like a smoke or dew.

    Like vapour, dew, or poison. Now, thank God,
    The golden fire has gone, and your face is ash
    Indistinguishable in the grey, chill day,
    The night has burnt you out, at last the good
    Dark fire burns on untroubled without clash
    Of you upon the dead leaves saying me yea.

    D. H. Lawrence

. Green

    THE sky was apple-green,
    The sky was green wine held up in the sun,
    The moon was a golden petal between.

    She opened her eyes, and green
    They shone, clear like flowers undone,
    For the first time, now for the first time seen.

    D. H. Lawrence

. Venus Transiens

    TELL me,
    Was Venus more beautiful
    Than you are,
    When she topped
    The crinkled waves,
    Drifting shoreward
    On her plaited shell?
    Was Botticelli's vision
    Fairer than mine;
    And were the painted rosebuds
    He tossed his lady,
    Of better worth
    Than the words I blow about you
    To cover your too great loveliness
    As with a gauze
    Of misted silver?

    For me,
    You stand poised
    In the blue and buoyant air,
    Cinctured by bright winds,
    Treading the sunlight.
    And the waves which precede you
    Ripple and stir
    The sands at my feet.

    Amy Lowell

. The Travelling Bear

    GRASS-BLADES push up between the cobblestones
    And catch the sun on their flat sides
    Shooting it back,
    Gold and emerald,
    Into the eyes of passers-by.
    And over the cobblestones,
    Square-footed and heavy,
    Dances the trained bear.
    The cobbles cut his feet,
    And he has a ring in his nose
    But still he dances,
    For the keeper pricks him with a sharp stick,
    Under his fur.
    Now the crowd gapes and chuckles,
    And boys and young women shuffle their feet in time to the dancing bear,
    They see him wobbling
    Against a dust of emerald and gold,
    And they are greatly delighted.
    The legs of the bear shake with fatigue
    And his back aches,
    And the shining grass-blades dazzle and confuse him.
    But still he dances,
    Because of the little, pointed stick.

    Amy Lowell

. The Letter

    LITTLE cramped words scrawling all over the paper
    Like draggled fly's legs,
    What can you tell of the flaring moon
    Through the oak leaves?
    Or of my uncurtained window and the bare floor
    Spattered with moonlight?
    Your silly quirks and twists have nothing in them
    Of blossoming hawthorns,
    And this paper is dull, crisp, smooth, virgin of loveliness
    Beneath my hand.
    I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against
    The want of you;
    Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
    And posting it.
    And I scald alone, here, under the fire
    Of the greater moon.

    Amy Lowell

. Grotesque

    WHY do the lilies goggle their tongues at me
    When I pluck them;
    And writhe, and twist,
    And stangle themselves against my fingers,
    So that I can hardly weave the garland
    For your hair?
    Why do they shriek your name
    And spit at me
    When I would cluster them?
    Must I kill them
    To make them lie still,
    And send you a wreath of lolling corpses
    To turn putrid and soft
    On your forehead
    While you dance?

    Amy Lowell

. Bullion

    MY thoughts
    Chink against my ribs
    And roll about like silver hail-stones.
    I should like to spill them out,
    And pour them, all shining,
    Over you.
    But my heart is shut upon them
    And holds them straitly.
    Come, You! and open my heart;
    That my thoughts torment me no longer,
    But glitter in your hair.

    Amy Lowell

. Solitaire

    WHEN night drifts along the streets of the city,
    And sifts down between the uneven roofs,
    My mind begins to peek and peer.
    It plays at ball in old, blue Chinese gardens,
    And shakes wrought dice-cups in Pagan temples,
    Amid the broken flutings of white pillars.
    It dances with purple and yellow crocuses in its hair,
    And its feet shine as they flutter over drenched grasses.
    How light and laughing my mind is,
    When all the good folk have put out their bed-room candles,
    And the city is still!

    Amy Lowell

. The Bombardment

    SLOWLY, without force, the rain drops into the city. It stops a moment on the carved head of Saint John, then slides on again, slipping and trickling over his stone cloak. It splashes from the lead conduit of a gargoyle, and falls from it in turmoil on the stones of the Cathedral square. Where are the people, and why does the fretted steeple sweep about in the sky? Boom! The sound swings against the rain. Boom, again! After it, only water rushing in the gutters, and the turmoil from the spout of the gargoyle. Silence. Ripples and mutters. Boom!

    The room is damp, but warm. Little flashes swarm about from the firelight. The lustres of the chandelier are bright, and clusters of rubies leap in the bohemian glasses on the étagère. Her hands are restless, but the white masses of her hair are quite still. Boom! Will it never cease to torture, this iteration! Boom! The vibration shatters a glass on the étagère. It lies there formless and flowing, with all its crimson gleams shot out of pattern, spilled, flowing red, blood-red. A thin bell-note pricks through the silence. A door creaks. The old lady speaks: "Victor, clear away that broken glass." "Alas! Madame, the bohemian glass!" "Yes, Victor, one hundred years ago my father brought it -- " Boom! The room shakes, the servitor quakes. Another goblet shivers and breaks. Boom!

    It rustles at the window-pane, the smooth, streaming rain, and he is shut within its clash and murmur. Inside is his candle, his table, his ink, his pen, and his dreams. He is thinking, and the walls are pierced with beams of sunshine, slipping through young green. A fountain tosses itself up at the blue sky, and through the spattered water in the basin he can see copper carp, lazily floating among cold leaves. A wind-harp in the cedar-tree grieves and whispers, and words blow into his brain, bubbled, iridescent, shooting up like flowers of fire, higher and higher. Boom! The flame-flowers snap on their slender stems. The fountain rears up in long broken spears of disheveled water and flattens into the earth. Boom! And there is only the room, the table, the candle, and the sliding rain. Again, Boom! -- Boom! -- Boom! He stuffs his fingers into his ears. He sees corpses, and cries out in fright. Boom! It is night, and they are shelling the city! Boom! Boom!

    A child wakes and is afraid, and weeps in the darkness. What has made the bed shake? "Mother, where are you? I am awake." "Hush, my Darling, I am here." "But, Mother, something so queer has happened, the room shook." Boom! "Oh! What is it? What is the matter?" Boom! "Where is Father? I am so afraid." Boom! The child sobs and shrieks. The house trembles and creaks. Boom!

    Retorts, globes, tubes, and phials lie shattered. All his trials oozing across the floor. The life that was his choosing, lonely, urgent, goaded by a hope, all gone. A weary gloom and ignorance, and the jig of drunken brutes. Diseases like snakes crawling over the earth, leaving trails of slime. Wails from people burying their dead. Through the window he can see the rocking steeple. A ball of fire falls on the lead of the roof, and the sky tears apart on the spike of flame. Up the spire, behind the lacings of stone, zig-zagging in and out of the carved tracings, squirms the fire. It spouts like yellow wheat from the gargoyles, coils round the head of Saint John, and aureoles him in light. It leaps into the night and hisses against the rain. The Cathedral is a burning stain on the white, wet night.

    Boom! The Cathedral is a torch, and the houses next to it begin to scorch. Boom! The bohemian glass on the étagère is no longer there. Boom! A stalk of flame sways against the red damask curtains. The old lady cannot walk. She watches the creeping stalk and counts. Boom! -- Boom! -- Boom!

    The poet rushes into the street, and the rain wraps him in a sheet of silver. But it is threaded with gold and powdered with scarlet beads. The city burns. Quivering, spearing, thrusting, lapping, streaming, run the flames. Over the roofs, and walls, and shops, and stalls. Smearing its gold on the sky the fire dances, lances itself through the doors, and lisps and chuckles along the floors.

    The child wakes again and screams at the yellow petalled flower flickering at the window. The little red lips of flame creep along the ceiling beams.

    The old man sits among his broken experiments and looks at the burning Cathedral. Now the streets are swarming with people. They seek shelter and crowd into the cellars. They shout and call, and over all, slowly and without force, the rain drops into the city. Boom! And the steeple crashes down among the people. Boom! Boom, again! The water rushes along the gutters. The fire roars and mutters. Boom!

    Amy Lowell



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