The Clouded Sun
(To A. S.)
It is not good for poets to grow old,
   For they serve Death that loves and Love that kills;
   And Love and Death, enthroned above the hills,
Call back their faithful servants to the fold
Before Age makes them passionless and cold.
Therefore it is that no more sorry thing
   Can shut the sunlight from the thirsty grass
   Than some grey head through which no longer pass
Wild dreams more lively than the scent of Spring
To fire the blood and make the glad mouth sing.
Far happier he, who, young and full of pride
   And radiant with the glory of the sun,
   Leaves earth before his singing time is done.
All wounds of Time the graveyard flowers hide,
His beauty lives, as fresh as when he died.
Then through the words wherein his spirit dwells
   The world may see his young impetuous face
   Unmarred by Time, with undiminished grace;
While memory no piteous story tells
Of barren days, stale loves and broken spells.
*    *    *    *    *    *    *
Brother and Master, we are wed with woe.
   Yea, Grief’s funereal cloud it is that hovers
   About the head of us, thy mournful lovers.
Uncomforted and sick with pain we go,
Dust on our brows and at our hearts the snow.
The London lights flare on the chattering street,
   Young men and maidens love and dance and die;
   Wine flows, and the perfumes float up to the sky.
Once thou couldst feel that this was very sweet,
Now thou art still—mouth, hands and weary feet.
O subtle mouth, whereon the Sphinx has placed
   The smile of those she kisses at their birth,
   Sing once again, for Spring has thrilled the earth.
Nay, thou art dumb. Not even April’s taste
Is sweet to thee in thy live coflin cased.
There is no harsher tragedy than this—
   That thou, who feltest as no man before
   Scent, colour, taste and sound and didst outpour
For us rich draughts of thine enchanted bliss
Shouldst be plunged down this cruel black abyss.
Brother and Master, if our love could free
   Thy flameborne spirit from its leaden chain,
   Thou shouldst rise up from this sad house of pain,
Be young and fair as thou wast wont to be,
And strong with joy as is the boundless sea.
Brother and Master, at thy feet we lay
   These roses, red as lips that thou hast sung,
   To mingle with the green and fragrant bay,
And cypress wreaths above thy head are hung.
We kneel awhile, then turn in tears away.

Webpage © 2001 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (
Created April 5, 2001; not revised.