Until they glow.
_NEW YEAR'S EVE_
THERE are only two things now,
The great black night scooped out
And this fire-glow.
This fire-glow, the core,
And we the two ripe pips
That are held in store.
Listen, the darkness rings
As it circulates round our fire.
Take off your things.
Your shoulders, your bruised throat
Your breasts, your nakedness!
This fiery coat!
As the darkness flickers and dips,
As the firelight falls and leaps
From your feet to your lips!
_NEW YEAR'S NIGHT_
Now you are mine, to-night at last I say it;
You're a dove I have bought for sacrifice,
And to-night I slay it.
Here in my arms my naked sacrifice!
Death, do you hear, in my arms I am bringing
My offering, bought at great price.
She's a silvery dove worth more than all I've got.
Now I offer her up to the ancient, inexorable God,
Who knows me not.
Look, she's a wonderful dove, without blemish or
I sacrifice all in her, my last of the world,
Pride, strength, all the lot.
All, all on the altar! And death swooping down
Like a falcon. 'Tis God has taken the victim;
I have won my renown.
You shadow and flame,
You death in the game!
Now I gather you up,
Now I put you back
Like a poppy in its cup.
And so, you are a maid
Again, my darling, but new,
My love, my blossom, a child
Almost! The flower in the bud
And yet, a woman, knowing
All, good, evil, both
In one blossom blowing.
THIS fireglow is a red womb
In the night, where you're folded up
On your doom.
And the ugly, brutal years
Are dissolving out of you,
And the stagnant tears.
I the great vein that leads
From the night to the source of you,
Which the sweet blood feeds.
New phase in the germ of you;
New sunny streams of blood
Washing you through.
You are born again of me.
I, Adam, from the veins of me
The Eve that is to be.
What has been long ago
Grows dimmer, we both forget,
We no longer know.
You are lovely, your face is soft
Like a flower in bud
On a mountain croft.
This is Noel for me.
To-night is a woman born
Of the man in me.
_RABBIT SNARED IN THE NIGHT_
WHY do you spurt and sprottle
like that, bunny?
Why should I want to throttle
Yes, bunch yourself between
my knees and lie still.
Lie on me with a hot, plumb, live weight,
heavy as a stone, passive,
yet hot, waiting.
What are you waiting for?
What are you waiting for?
What is the hot, plumb weight of your desire on
You have a hot, unthinkable desire of me, bunny.
What is that spark
glittering at me on the unutterable darkness
of your eye, bunny?
The finest splinter of a spark
that you throw off, straight on the tinder of my
It sets up a strange fire,
a soft, most unwarrantable burning
a bale-fire mounting, mounting up in me.
'Tis not of me, bunny.
It was you engendered it,
with that fine, demoniacal spark
you jetted off your eye at me.
_I_ did not want it,
this furnace, this draught-maddened fire
which mounts up my arms
making them swell with turgid, ungovernable
'Twas not _I_ that wished it,
that my fingers should turn into these flames
avid and terrible
that they are at this moment.
It must have been _your_ inbreathing, gaping desire
that drew this red gush in me;
I must be reciprocating _your_ vacuous, hideous
It must be the want in you
that has drawn this terrible draught of white fire
up my veins as up a chimney.
It must be you who desire
this intermingling of the black and monstrous
fingers of Moloch
in the blood-jets of your throat.
Come, you shall have your desire,
since already I am implicated with you
in your strange lust.
THROUGH the strait gate of passion,
Between the bickering fire
Where flames of fierce love tremble
On the body of fierce desire:
To the intoxication,
The mind, fused down like a bead,
Flees in its agitation
The flames' stiff speed:
At last to calm incandescence,
Burned clean by remorseless hate,
Now, at the day's renascence
We approach the gate.
Now, from the darkened spaces
Of fear, and of frightened faces,
Death, in our awful embraces
Approached and passed by;
We near the flame-burnt porches
Where the brands of the angels, like torches
Whirl,--in these perilous marches
Pausing to sigh;
We look back on the withering roses,
The stars, in their sun-dimmed closes,
Where 'twas given us to repose us
Sure on our sanctity;
Beautiful, candid lovers,
Burnt out of our earthy covers,
We might have nestled like plovers
In the fields of eternity.
There, sure in sinless being,
All-seen, and then all-seeing,
In us life unto death agreeing,
We might have lain.
But we storm the angel-guarded
Gates of the long-discarded,
Garden, which God has hoarded
Against our pain.
The Lord of Hosts, and the Devil
Are left on Eternity's level
Field, and as victors we travel
To Eden home.
Back beyond good and evil
Return we. Eve dishevel
Your hair for the bliss-drenched revel
On our primal loam.
AH, through the open door
Is there an almond tree
Aflame with blossom!
--Let us fight no more.
Among the pink and blue
Of the sky and the almond flowers
A sparrow flutters.
--We have come through,
It is really spring!--See,
When he thinks himself alone
How he bullies the flowers.
--Ah, you and me
How happy we'll be!--See him
He clouts the tufts of flowers
In his impudence.
--But, did you dream
It would be so bitter? Never mind
It is finished, the spring is
And we're going to be summer-happy
We have died, we have slain and been slain,
We are not our old selves any more.
I feel new and eager
To start again.
It is gorgeous to live and forget.
And to feel quite new.
See the bird in the flowers?--he's making
A rare to-do!
He thinks the whole blue sky
Is much less than the bit of blue egg
He's got in his nest--we'll be happy
You and I, I and you.
With nothing to fight any more--
In each other, at least.
See, how gorgeous the world is
Outside the door!
COME, my little one, closer up against me,
Creep right up, with your round head pushed in
How I love all of you! Do you feel me wrap
Up with myself and my warmth, like a flame
round the wick?
And how I am not at all, except a flame that
mounts off you.
Where I touch you, I flame into being;--but is it
me, or you?
That round head pushed in my chest, like a nut
in its socket,
And I the swift bracts that sheathe it: those
breasts, those thighs and knees,
Those shoulders so warm and smooth: I feel
Am a sunlight upon them, that shines them into
But how lovely to be you! Creep closer in, that
I am more.
I spread over you! How lovely, your round head,
Your breasts, your knees and feet! I feel that we
Are a bonfire of oneness, me flame flung leaping
You the core of the fire, crept into me.
AND oh, my little one, you whom I enfold,
How quaveringly I depend on you, to keep me
Like a flame on a wick!
I, the man who enfolds you and holds you close,
How my soul cleaves to your bosom as I clasp you,
The very quick of my being!
Suppose you didn't want me! I should sink down
Like a light that has no sustenance
And sinks low.
Cherish me, my tiny one, cherish me who enfold
Nourish me, and endue me, I am only of you,
I am your issue.
How full and big like a robust, happy flame
When I enfold you, and you creep into me,
And my life is fierce at its quick
Where it comes off you!
MY little one, my big one,
My bird, my brown sparrow in my breast.
My squirrel clutching in to me;
My pigeon, my little one, so warm
So close, breathing so still.
My little one, my big one,
I, who am so fierce and strong, enfolding you,
If you start away from my breast, and leave me,
How suddenly I shall go down into nothing
Like a flame that falls of a sudden.
And you will be before me, tall and towering,
And I shall be wavering uncertain
Like a sunken flame that grasps for support.
BUT now I am full and strong and certain
With you there firm at the core of me
How sure I feel, how warm and strong and happy
For the future! How sure the future is within me;
I am like a seed with a perfect flower enclosed.
I wonder what it will be,
What will come forth of us.
What flower, my love?
No matter, I am so happy,
I feel like a firm, rich, healthy root,
Rejoicing in what is to come.
How I depend on you utterly
My little one, my big one!
How everything that will be, will not be of me,
Nor of either of us,
But of both of us.
AND think, there will something come forth from
We two, folded so small together,
There will something come forth from us.
Children, acts, utterance
Perhaps only happiness.
Perhaps only happiness will come forth from us.
Old sorrow, and new happiness.
Only that one newness.
But that is all I want.
And I am sure of that.
We are sure of that.
AND yet all the while you are you, you are not me.
And I am I, I am never you.
How awfully distinct and far off from each other's
being we are!
Yet I am glad.
I am so glad there is always you beyond my scope,
Something that stands over,
Something I shall never be,
That I shall always wonder over, and wait for,
Look for like the breath of life as long as I live,
Still waiting for you, however old you are, and I
I shall always wonder over you, and look for you.
And you will always be with me.
I shall never cease to be filled with newness,
Having you near me.
THE listless beauty of the hour
When snow fell on the apple trees
And the wood-ash gathered in the fire
And we faced our first miseries.
Then the sweeping sunshine of noon
When the mountains like chariot cars
Were ranked to blue battle--and you and I
Counted our scars.
And then in a strange, grey hour
We lay mouth to mouth, with your face
Under mine like a star on the lake,
And I covered the earth, and all space.
The silent, drifting hours
Of morn after morn
And night drifting up to the night
Yet no pathway worn.
Your life, and mine, my love
Passing on and on, the hate
Fusing closer and closer with love
Till at length they mate.
_SONG OF A MAN WHO HAS
NOT I, not I, but the wind that blows through me!
A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time.
If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry
If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a
If only, most lovely of all, I yield myself and am
By the fine, fine wind that takes its course through
the chaos of the world
Like a fine, an exquisite chisel, a wedge-blade
If only I am keen and hard like the sheer tip of a
Driven by invisible blows,
The rock will split, we shall come at the wonder,
we shall find the Hesperides.
Oh, for the wonder that bubbles into my soul,
I would be a good fountain, a good well-head,
Would blur no whisper, spoil no expression.
What is the knocking?
What is the knocking at the door in the night?
> It is somebody wants to do us harm.
No, no, it is the three strange angels.
Admit them, admit them.
_ONE WOMAN TO ALL WOMEN_
I DON'T care whether I am beautiful to you
You other women.
Nothing of me that you see is my own;
A man balances, bone unto bone
Balances, everything thrown
In the scale, you other women.
You may look and say to yourselves, I do
Not show like the rest.
My face may not please you, nor my stature; yet
if you knew
How happy I am, how my heart in the wind rings
Like a bell that is chiming, each stroke as a stroke
You other women:
You would draw your mirror towards you, you
To be different.
There's the beauty you cannot see, myself and
Balanced in glorious equilibrium,
The swinging beauty of equilibrium,
You other women.
There's this other beauty, the way of the stars
You straggling women.
If you knew how I swerve in peace, in the equi-
With the man, if you knew how my flesh enjoys
The swinging bliss no shattering ever destroys
You other women:
You would envy me, you would think me wonder-
You would weep to be lapsing on such harmony
As carries me, you would wonder aloud that he
Who is so strange should correspond with me
You see he is different, he is dangerous,
Without pity or love.
And yet how his separate being liberates me
And gives me peace! You cannot see
How the stars are moving in surety
Exquisite, high above.
We move without knowing, we sleep, and we
You other women.
And this is beauty to me, to be lifted and gone
In a motion human inhuman, two and one
Encompassed, and many reduced to none,
You other women.
THE great gold apples of night
Hang from the street's long bough
Dripping their light
On the faces that drift below,
On the faces that drift and blow
Down the night-time, out of sight
In the wind's sad sough.
The ripeness of these apples of night
Distilling over me
Makes sickening the white
Ghost-flux of faces that hie
Them endlessly, endlessly by
Without meaning or reason why
They ever should be.
GOLD, with an innermost speck
Of silver, singing afloat
Beneath the night,
Like balls of thistle-down
Wandering up and down
Over the whispering town
Seeking where to alight!
Slowly, above the street
Above the ebb of feet
Drifting in flight;
Still, in the purple distance
The gold of their strange persistence
As they cross and part and meet
And pass out of sight!
The seed-ball of the sun
Is broken at last, and done
Is the orb of day.
Now to the separate ends
Seed after day-seed wends
A separate way.
No sun will ever rise
Again on the wonted skies
In the midst of the spheres.
The globe of the day, over-ripe,
Is shattered at last beneath the stripe
Of the wind, and its oneness veers
Seed after seed after seed
Drifts over the town, in its need
To sink and have done;
To settle at last in the dark,
To bury its weary spark
Where the end is begun.
Darkness, and depth of sleep,
Nothing to know or to weep
Where the seed sinks in
To the earth of the under-night
Where all is silent, quite
Still, and the darknesses steep
Out all the sin.
_"SHE SAID AS WELL TO ME"_
SHE said as well to me: "Why are you ashamed?
That little bit of your chest that shows between
the gap of your shirt, why cover it up?
Why shouldn't your legs and your good strong
be rough and hairy?--I'm glad they are like
You are shy, you silly, you silly shy thing.
Men are the shyest creatures, they never will come
out of their covers. Like any snake
slipping into its bed of dead leaves, you hurry into
And I love you so! Straight and clean and all of a
piece is the body of a man,
such an instrument, a spade, like a spear, or an
such a joy to me--"
So she laid her hands and pressed them down my
so that I began to wonder over myself, and what I
She said to me: "What an instrument, your
single and perfectly distinct from everything else!
What a tool in the hands of the Lord!
Until they glow.