A Poet’s Fancies


The Love of Narcissus
Like him who met his own eyes in the river,
   The poet trembles at his own long gaze
   That meets him through the changing nights and days
From out great Nature; all her waters quiver
With his fair image facing him for ever;
   The music that he listens to betrays
   His own heart to his ears; by trackless ways
His wild thoughts tend to him in long endeavour.
His dreams are far among the silent hills;
   His vague voice calls him from the darkened plain
With winds at night; strange recognition thrills
   His lonely heart with piercing love and pain;
He knows again his mirth in mountain rills,
   His weary tears that touch him with the rain.


To Any Poet
Thou who singest through the earth
All the earth’s wild creatures fly thee;
Everywhere thou marrest mirth,—
      Dumbly they defy thee;
There is something they deny thee.
Pines thy fallen nature ever
For the unfallen Nature sweet.
But she shuns thy long endeavour,
      Though her flowers and wheat
Throng and press thy pausing feet.
Though thou tame a bird to love thee,
Press thy face to grass and flowers,
All these things reserve above thee
      Secrets in the bowers,
Secrets in the sun and showers.
Sing thy sorrow, sing thy gladness,
In thy songs must wind and tree
Bear the fictions of thy sadness,
      Thy humanity.
For their truth is not for thee.
Wait, and many a secret nest,
Many a hoarded winter-store
Will be hidden on thy breast.
      Things thou longest for
Will not fear or shun thee more.
Thou shalt intimately lie
In the roots of flowers that thrust
Upwards from thee to the sky,
      With no more distrust
When they blossom from thy dust.
Silent labours of the rain
Shall be near thee, reconciled;
Little lives of leaves and grain,
      All things shy and wild,
Tell thee secrets, quiet child.
Earth, set free from thy fair fancies
And the art thou shalt resign,
Will bring forth her rue and pansies
      Unto more divine
Thoughts than any thoughts of thine.
Nought will fear thee, humbled creature.
There will lie thy mortal burden
Pressed unto the heart of Nature,
      Songless in a garden,
With a long embrace of pardon.
Then the truth all creatures tell,
And His will Whom thou entreatest
Shall absorb thee; there shall dwell
      Silence, the completest
Of thy poems, last and sweetest.


To One Poem in a Silent Time
Who looked for thee, thou little song of mine?
   This winter of a silent poet’s heart
   Is suddenly sweet with thee. But what thou art,
Mid-winter flower, I would I could divine.
Art thou a last one, orphan of thy line?
   Did the dead summer’s last warmth foster thee?
   Or is Spring folded up unguessed in me,
And stirring out of sight,—and thou the sign?
Where shall I look—backwards or to the morrow
   For others of thy fragrance, secret child?
      Who knows if last things or if first things claim thee?
—Whether thou be the last smile of my sorrow,
   Or else a joy too sweet, a joy too wild,
      How, my December violet, shall I name thee?


The Moon to the Sun

The Poet sings to her Poet
As the full moon shining there
To the sun that lighteth her
Am I unto thee for ever,
O my secret glory-giver!
O my light, I am dark but fair,
      Black but fair.
Shine, Earth loves thee! And then shine
And be loved through thoughts of mine.
All thy secrets that I treasure
I translate them at my pleasure.
I am crowned with glory of thine.
      Thine, not thine.
I make pensive thy delight,
And thy strong gold silver-white.
Though all beauty of mine thou makest,
Yet to earth which thou forsakest
I have made thee fair all night,
      Day all night.


The Spring to the Summer

The Poet sings to her Poet
O poet of the time to be,
My conqueror, I began for thee.
   Enter into thy poet’s pain,
   And take the riches of the rain,
And make the perfect year for me.
Thou unto whom my lyre shall fall,
Whene’er thou comest, hear my call.
   O keep the promise of my lays,
   Take thou the parable of my days;
I trust thee with the aim of all.
And if thy thoughts unfold from me,
Know that I too have hints of thee,
   Dim hopes that come across my mind
   In the rare days of warmer wind,
And tones of summer in the sea.
And I have set thy paths, I guide
Thy blossoms on the wild hillside.
   And I, thy bygone poet, share
   The flowers that throng thy feet where’er
I led thy feet before I died.


The Day to the Night

The Poet sings to his Poet
From dawn to dusk, and from dusk to dawn,
   We two are sundered always, Sweet.
A few stars shake o’er the rocky lawn
   And the cold sea-shore when we meet.
   The twilight comes with thy shadowy feet.
We are not day and night, my Fair,
   But one. It is an hour of hours.
And thoughts that are not otherwhere
   Are thought here ’mid the blown sea-flowers,
   This meeting and this dusk of ours.
Delight has taken Pain to her heart,
   And there is dusk and stars for these.
O linger, linger! They would not part;
   And the wild wind comes from over-seas,
   With a new song to the olive trees.
And when we meet by the sounding pine
   Sleep draws near to his dreamless brother.
And when thy sweet eyes answer mine,
   Peace nestles close to her mournful mother,
   And Hope and Weariness kiss each other.


A Poet of one Mood
A poet of one mood in all my lays,
   Ranging all life to sing one only love,
   Like a west wind across the world I move,
Sweeping my harp of floods mine own wild ways.
The countries change, but not the west-wind days
   Which are my songs. My soft skies shine above,
   And on all seas the colours of a dove,
And on all fields a flash of silver greys.
I make the whole world answer to my art
   And sweet monotonous meanings. In your ears
I change not ever, bearing, for my part,
   One thought that is the treasure of my years—
A small cloud full of rain upon my heart
   And in mine arms, clasped, like a child in tears.


A Song of Derivations
I come from nothing; but from where
Come the undying thoughts I bear?
   Down, through long links of death and birth,
   From the past poets of the earth,
My immortality is there.
I am like the blossom of an hour.
But long, long vanished sun and shower
   A woke my breath i’ the young world’s air;
   I track the past back everywhere
Through seed and flower and seed and flower.
Or I am like a stream that flows
Full of the cold springs that arose
   In morning lands, in distant hills;
   And down the plain my channel fills
With melting of forgotten snows.
Voices, I have not heard, possessed
My own fresh songs; my thoughts are blessed
   With relics of the far unknown.
   And mixed with memories not my own
The sweet streams throng into my breast.
Before this life began to be,
The happy songs that wake in me
   Woke long ago and far apart.
   Heavily on this little heart
Presses this immortality.


Singers to Come
No new delights to our desire
   The singers of the past can yield.
   I lift mine eyes to hill and field,
And see in them your yet dumb lyre,
   Poets unborn and unrevealed.
Singers to come, what thoughts will start
   To song? What words of yours be sent
   Through man’s soul, and with earth be blent?
These worlds of nature and the heart
   Await you like an instrument.
Who knows what musical flocks of words
   Upon these pine-tree tops will light,
   And crown these towers in circling flight,
And cross these seas like summer birds,
   And give a voice to the day and night?
Something of you already is ours;
   Some mystic part of you belongs
   To us whose dreams your future throngs,
Who look on hills, and trees, and flowers,
   Which will mean so much in your songs.
I wonder, like the maid who found,
   And knelt to lift, the lyre supreme
   Of Orpheus from the Thracian stream.
She dreams on its sealed past profound;
   On a deep future sealed I dream.
She bears it in her wanderings
   Within her arms, and has not pressed
   Her unskilled fingers but her breast
Upon those silent sacred strings;
   I, too, clasp mystic strings at rest.
For I, i’ the world of lands and seas,
   The sky of wind and rain and fire,
   And in man’s world of long desire—
In all that is yet dumb in these—
   Have found a more mysterious lyre.


If I should quit thee, sacrifice, forswear,
   To what, my art, shall I give thee in keeping?
   To the long winds of heaven? Shall these come sweeping
My songs forgone against my face and hair?
Or shall the mountain streams my lost joys bear,
   My past poetic pain in rain be weeping?
   No, I shall live a poet waking, sleeping,
And I shall die a poet unaware.
From me, my art, thou canst not pass away;
   And I, a singer though I cease to sing,
      Shall own thee without joy in thee or woe.
Through my indifferent words of every day,
   Scattered and all unlinked the rhymes shall ring,
      And make my poem; and I shall not know.

Webpage © 2001 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (lane@elcore.net)
Created April 13, 2001; not revised.