POEMS BY MURIEL STUART
"CHRIST AT CARNIVAL"
"THE COCKPIT OF IDOLS"
LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN
THE IMMORTAL FACTOR OF DELIVERANCE
- Between two common days this day was hung
- When Love went to the ending that was his;
- His seamless robe was rent, his bow was wrong,
- He took at last the sponge's bitter kiss.
- A simple day the dawn has watched unfold
- Before the night had borne the death of love;
- You took the bread I blessed, and love was sold
- Upon your lips, and paid the price thereof.
- I changed then, as when soul from body slips,
- And casts its passion and its pain aside;
- I pledged you with most spiritual lips,
- And gave you hands that you had crucified.
- You who betrayed, kissed, crucified, forgot,
- You walked with Christ, poor fool, and knew it not!
FOR FASTING DAYS.
- Are you my songs, importunate of praise?
- Be still, remember for your comforting
- That sweeter birds have had less leave to sing
- Before men piped them from their lonely ways.
- Greener leaves than yours are lost in every spring
- Rubies far redder thrust your eager rays
- Into the blindfold dark for many days
- Before men chose them for a finger-ring.
- Sing as you dare, not as men choose, receive not
- The passing fashion's prize, for dole or due-
- Men's summer-sweet unrecognition-grieve not:
- Oh, stoop not to them! Better far that you
- Should go unsung than sing as you believe not,
- Should go uncrowned than to yourselves untrue.
- The evening found us whom the day had fled,
- Once more in bitter anger, you and I,
- Over some small, some foolish, trivial thing
- Our anger would not decently let die,
- But dragged between us, shamed and shivering
- Until each other's taunts we scarcely heard,
- Until we lost the sense of all we said,
- And knew not who first spoke the fatal word.
- It seemed that even every kiss we wrung
- We killed at birth with shuddering and hate,
- As if we feared a thing too passionate.
- However close we clung
- One hour, the next hour found us separate,
- Estranged, and Love most bitter on our tongue.
- To-night we quarrelled over one small head,
- Our fruit of last year's maying, the white bud
- Blown from our stormy kisses and the dead
- First rapture of our wild, estranging blood.
- You clutched him: there was panther in your eyes,
- We breathed like beasts in thickets; on the wall
- Our shadows swelled as in huge tyrannies,
- The room grew dark with anger, yet through all
- The shame and hurt and pity of it you were
- Still strangely and imperishably dear,
- As one who loves the wild day none the less
- That turns to naught the lilac's miracle,
- Breaking the unrecapturable spell
- Of the first may-tree, magic and mystery
- Utterly scattering of earth and sky.
- Making even the rose's loveliness
- A thing for pain to be remembered by.
- I said: "My son shall wear his father's sword."
- You said: "Shall hands once blossoms at my breast
- Be stained with blood?" I answered with a word
- More bitter, and your own, the bitterest
- Stung me to sullen anger, and I said:
- "My son shall be no coward of his line
- Because his mother choose"; you turned your head,
- And your eyes grew implacable on mine.
- And like a trodden snake you turned to meet
- The foe with sudden hissing ... then you smiled
- And broke our life in pieces at my feet,
- "Your child?" you said: "Your child?" . . .
Back to the beginning.