A READING OF LIFE - AND OTHER POEMS
A READING OF LIFE - AND OTHER POEMS
Scanned and proofed by David Price email
A Reading Of Life
A Reading of Life--The Vital Choice
A Reading of Life--With The Huntress
A Reading of Life--With The Persuader
A Reading of Life--The Test of Manhood
The Cageing of Ares
The Hueless Love
Song In The Songless
Union In Disseverance
The Burden of Strength
The Main Regret
At the Close
A Garden Idyl
Foresight And Patience
The Invective of Achilles
The Invective of Achilles--V. 225
Marshalling of the Achaians
Agamemnon in the Fight
Paris and Diomedes
Hypnos on Ida
Clash in Arms of the Achaians And Trojans
The Horses of Achilles
The Mares of the Camargue
Poem: A Reading of Life--The Vital Choice
Or shall we run with Artemis
Or yield the breast to Aphrodite?
Both are mighty;
Both give bliss;
Each can torture if divided;
Each claims worship undivided
In her wake would have us wallow.
Youth must offer on bent knees
Homage unto one or other;
Earth the mother
And unto the pallid Scyther
Either points us shun we either
Shun or too devoutly follow.
Poem: A Reading of Life--With The Huntress
Through the water-eye of night
Midway between eve and dawn
See the chase the rout the flight
In deep forest; oread faun
Goat-foot antlers laid on neck;
Ravenous all the line for speed.
See yon wavy sparkle beck
Sign of the Virgin Lady's lead.
Down her course a serpent star
Coils and shatters at her heels;
Peals the horn exulting peals
Plaintive is it near or far.
Huntress arrowy to pursue
In and out of woody glen
Under cliffs that tear the blue
Over torrent over fen
She and forest where she skims
Feathery darken and relume:
Those are her white-lightning limbs
Cleaving loads of leafy gloom.
Mountains hear her and call back
Shrewd with night: a frosty wail
Distant: her the emerald vale
Folds and wonders in her track.
Now her retinue is lean
Many rearward; streams the chase
Eager forth of covert; seen
One hot tide the rapturous race.
Quiver-charged and crescent-crowned
Up on a flash the lighted mound
Leaps she bow to shoulder shaft
Strung to barb with archer's craft
Legs like plaited lyre-chords feet
Songs to see past pitch of sweet.
Fearful swiftness they outrun
Shaggy wildness grey or dun
Challenge charge of tusks elude:
Theirs the dance to tame the rude;
Beast and beast in manhood tame
Follow we their silver flame.
Pride of flesh from bondage free
Reaping vigour of its waste
Marks her servitors and she
Sanctifies the unembraced.
Nought of perilous she reeks;
Valour clothes her open breast;
Sweet beyond the thrill of sex;
Hallowed by the sex confessed.
Huntress arrowy to pursue
Colder she than sunless dew
She that breath of upper air;
Ay but never lyrist sang
Draught of Bacchus never sprang
Blood the bliss of Gods to share
High o'er sweep of eagle wings
Like the run with her when rings
Clear her rally and her dart
In the forest's cavern heart
Tells of her victorious aim.
Then is pause and chatter cheer
Laughter at some satyr lame
Looks upon the fallen deer
Measuring his noble crest;
Here a favourite in her train
Foremost mid her nymphs caressed;
All applauded. Shall she reign
Worshipped? O to be with her there!
She that breath of nimble air
Lifts the breast to giant power.
Maid and man and man and maid
Who each other would devour
Elsewhere by the chase betrayed
There are comrades led by her
Poem: A Reading of Life--With The Persuader
Who murmurs hither hither: who
Where nought is audible so fills the ear?
Where nought is visible can make appear
A veil with eyes that waver through
Like twilight's pledge of blessed night to come
Or day most golden? All unseen and dumb
She breathes she moves inviting flees
Is lost and leaves the thrilled desire
To clasp and strike a slackened lyre
Till over smiles of hyacinth seas
Flame in a crystal vessel sails
Beneath a dome of jewelled spray
For land that drops the rosy day
On nights of throbbing nightingales.
Landward did the wonder flit
Or heart's desire of her all earth in it.
We saw the heavens fling down their rose;
On rapturous waves we saw her glide;
The pearly sea-shell half enclose;
The shoal of sea-nymphs flush the tide;
And we afire to kiss her feet no more
Behold than tracks along a startled shore
With brightened edges of dark leaves that feign
An ambush hoped as heartless night remain.
More closely warmly: hither hither! she
The very she called forth by ripened blood
For its next breath of being murmurs; she
Allurement; she fulfilment; she
The stream within us urged to flood;
Man's cry earth's answer heaven's consent; O she
Maid woman and divinity;
Our over-earthly inner-earthly mate
Unmated; she our hunger and our fruit
Untasted; she our written fate
Unread; Life's flowering Life's root:
Unread divined; unseen beheld;
The evanescent ever-present she
Great Nature's stern necessity
In radiance clothed to softness quelled;
With a sword's edge of sweetness keen to take
Our breath for bliss our hearts for fulness break.
The murmur hushes down the veil is rent.
Man's cry earth's answer heaven's consent
Her form is given to pardoned sight
And lets our mortal eyes receive
The sovereign loveliness of celestial white;
Adored by them who solitarily pace
In dusk of the underworld's perpetual eve
The paths among the meadow asphodel
Remembering. Never there her face
Is planetary; reddens to shore sea-shell
Around such whiteness the enamoured air
Of noon that clothes her never there.
Daughter of light the joyful light
She stands unveiled to nuptial sight
Sweet in her disregard of aid
Divine to conquer or persuade.
A fountain jets from moss; a flower
Bends gently where her sunset tresses shower.
By guerdon of her brilliance may be seen
With eyelids unabashed the passion's Queen.
Shorn of attendant Graces she can use
Her natural snares to make her will supreme.
A simple nymph it is inclined to muse
Before the leader foot shall dip in stream:
One arm at curve along a rounded thigh;
Her firm new breasts each pointing its own way
A knee half bent to shade its fellow shy
Where innocence not nature signals nay.
The bud of fresh virginity awaits
The wooer and all roseate will she burst:
She touches on the hour of happy mates;
Still is she unaware she wakens thirst.
And while commanding blissful sight believe
It holds her as a body strained to breast
Down on the underworld's perpetual eve
She plunges the possessor dispossessed;
And bids believe that image heaving warm
Is lost to float like torch-smoke after flame;
The phantom any breeze blows out of form;
A thirst's delusion a defeated aim.
The rapture shed the torture weaves;
The direst blow on human heart she deals:
The pain to know the seen deceives;
Nought true but what insufferably feels.
And stabs of her delicious note
That is as heavenly light to hearing heard
Through shelter leaves the laughter from her throat
We answer as the midnight's morning's bird.
She laughs she wakens gleeful cries;
In her delicious laughter part revealed;
Yet mother is she more of moans and sighs
For longings unappeased and wounds unhealed.
Yet would she bless it is her task to bless:
Yon folded couples passing under shade
Are her rich harvest; bidden caress caress
Consume the fruit in bloom; not disobeyed.
We dolorous complainers had a dream
Wrought on the vacant air from inner fire
We saw stand bare of her celestial beam
The glorious Goddess and we dared desire.
Thereat are shown reproachful eyes and lips
Of upward curl to meanings half obscure;
And glancing where a wood-nymph lightly skips
She nods: at once that creature wears her lure.
Blush of our being between birth and death:
Sob of our ripened blood for its next breath:
Her wily semblance nought of her denies;
Seems it the Goddess runs the Goddess hies
The generous Goddess yields. And she can arm
Her dwarfed and twisted with her secret charm;
Benevolent as Earth to feed her own.
Fully shall they be fed if they beseech.
But scorn she has for them that walk alone;
Blanched men starved women whom no arts can pleach.
The men as chief of criminals she disdains
And holds the reason in perceptive thought.
More pitiable like rivers lacking rains
Kissing cold stones the women shrink for drought.
Those faceless discords out of nature strayed
Rank of the putrefaction ere decayed
In impious singles bear the thorny wreaths:
Their lives are where harmonious Pleasure breathes
For couples crowned with flowers that burn in dew.
Comes there a tremor of night's forest horn
Across her garden from the insaner crew
She darkens to malignity of scorn.
A shiver courses through her garden-grounds:
Grunt of the tusky boar the baying hounds
The hunter's shouts are heard afar and bring
Dead on her heart her crimsoned flower of Spring.
These the irreverent of Life's design
Division between natural and divine
Would cast; these vaunting barrenness for best
In veins of gathered strength Life's tide arrest;
And these because the roses flood their cheeks
Vow them in nature wise as when Love speaks.
With them is war; and well the Goddess knows
What undermines the race who mount the rose;
How the ripe moment lodged in slumberous hours
Enkindled by persuasion overpowers:
Why weak as are her frailer trailing weeds
The strong when Beauty gleams o'er Nature's needs
And timely guile unguarded finds them lie.
They who her sway withstand a sea defy
At every point of juncture must be proof;
Nor look for mercy from the incessant surge
Her forces mixed of craft and passion urge
For the one whelming wave to spring aloof.
She tenderness is pitiless to them
Resisting in her godhead nature's truth.
No flower their face shall be but writhen stem;
Their youth a frost their age the dirge for youth.
These miserably disinclined
The lamentably unembraced
Insult the Pleasures Earth designed
To people and beflower the waste.
Wherefore the Pleasures pass them by:
For death they live in life they die.
Her head the Goddess from them turns
As from grey mounds of ashes in bronze urns.
She views her quivering couples unconsoled
And of her beauty mirror they become
Like orchard blossoms apple pear and plum
Free of the cloud beneath the flood of gold.
Crowned with wreaths that burn in dew
Her couples whirl sun-satiated
Athirst for shade they sigh they wed
They play the music made of two:
Oldest of earth earth's youngest till earth's end:
Cunninger than the numbered strings
For melodies for harmonies
For mastered discords and the things
Not vocable whose mysteries
Are inmost Love's Life's reach of Life extend.
Is it an anguish overflowing shame
And the tongue's pudency confides to her
With eyes of embers breath of incense myrrh
The woman's marrow in some dear youth's name
Then is the Goddess tenderness
Maternal and she has a sister's tones
Benign to soothe intemperate distress
Divide despair from hope and sighs from moans.
Her gentleness imparts exhaling ease
To those of her milk-bearer votaries
As warm of bosom-earth as she; of the source
Direct; erratic but in heart's excess;
Being mortal and ill-matched for Love's great force;
Like green leaves caught with flames by his impress.
And pray they under skies less overcast
That swiftly may her star of eve descend
Her lustrous morning star fly not too fast
To lengthen blissful night will she befriend.
Unfailing her reply to woman's voice
In supplication instant. Is it man's
She hears approves his words her garden scans
And him: the flowers are various he has choice.
Perchance his wound is deep; she listens long;
Enjoys what music fills the plaintive song;
And marks how he who would be hawk at poise
Above the bird his plaintive song enjoys.
She reads him when his humbled manhood weeps
To her invoked: distraction is implored.
A smile and he is up on godlike leaps
Above with his bright Goddess owned the adored.
His tales of her declare she condescends;
Can share his fires not always goads and rends:
Moreover quits a throne and must enclose
A queenlier gem than woman's wayside rose.
She bends he quickens; she breathes low he springs
Enraptured; low she laughs his woes disperse;
Aloud she laughs and sweeps his varied strings.
'Tis taught him how for touch of mournful verse
Rarely the music made of two ascends
And Beauty's Queen some other way is won.
Or it may solve the riddle that she lends
Herself to all and yields herself to none
Save heavenliest: though claims by men are raised
In hot assurance under shade of doubt:
And numerous are the images bepraised
As Beauty's Queen should passion head the rout.
Be sure the ruddy hue is Love's: to woo
Love's Fountain we must mount the ruddy hue.
That is her garden's precept seen where shines
Her blood-flower and its unsought neighbour pines.
Daughter of light the joyful light
She bids her couples face full East
Reflecting radiance even when from her feast
Their outstretched arms brown deserts disunite
The lion-haunted thickets hold apart.
In love the ruddy hue declares great heart;
High confidence in her whose aid is lent
To lovers lifting the tuned instrument
Not one of rippled strings and funeral tone.
And doth the man pursue a tightened zone
Then be it as the Laurel God he runs
Confirmed to win with countenance the Sun's.
Should pity bless the tremulous voice of woe
He lifts for pity limp his offspring show.
For him requiring woman's arts to please
Infantile tastes with babe reluctances
No race of giants! In the woman's veins
Persuasion ripely runs through hers the pains.
Her choice of him should kind occasion nod
Aspiring blends the Titan with the God;
Yet unto dwarf and mortal she submiss
In her high Lady's mandate yields the kiss;
And is it needed that Love's daintier brute
Be snared as hunter she will tempt pursuit.
She is great Nature's ever intimate
In breast and doth as ready handmaid wait
Until perverted by her senseless male
She plays the winding snake the shrinking snail
The flying deer all tricks of evil fame
Elusive to allure since he grew tame.
Hence has the Goddess Nature's earliest Power
And greatest and most present with her dower
Of the transcendent beauty gained repute
For meditated guile. She laughs to hear
A charge her garden's labyrinths scarce confute
Her garden's histories tell of to all near.
Let it be said But less upon her guile
Doth she rely for her immortal smile.
Still let the rumour spread and terror screens
To push her conquests by the simplest means.
While man abjures not lustihead nor swerves
From earth's good labours Beauty's Queen he serves.
Her spacious garden and her garden's grant
She offers in reward for handsome cheer:
Choice of the nymphs whose looks will slant
The secret down a dewy leer
Of corner eyelids into haze:
Many a fair Aphrosyne
Like flower-bell to honey-bee:
And here they flicker round the maze
Bewildering him in heart and head:
And here they wear the close demure
With subtle peeps to reassure:
Others parade where love has bled
And of its crimson weave their mesh:
Others to snap of fingers leap
As bearing breast with love asleep.
These are her laughters in the flesh.
Or would she fit a warrior mood
She lights her seeming unsubdued
And indicates the fortress-key.