11   La Gioconda

Where gottest thou that languourous smile?
Old woods know that, and the youthful seas –
So looks the dawn as it flees
From night its guide

In Nineveh there stands seven pillars of girth
Sanctuary, a hectare from the city
There thou sitest and around the victims lie
Earth faln to earth

Yea even as I gaze thy lips are budding
They change to a living bush of heavenly fire
Apollo lover of youth stays his desire
His amorous pleading

Inscrutibly smiling – O little maiden
Well do I know thy hearts behest
It is the smile of pity, little one, divinest
Gift unto men

Note- Nineveh – City of the ancient Assyria Empire
La Giocanda – The Mona Lisa

27   Deirdre dead

Note – tragic heroin in Irish mythology

How the light of heaven lies upon her
For yet a little come not thou anigh
Flowers have made for her a robe of honour
And bridal bells in little flowers that die
The pale dew lustre on her hair is donor
Now have we seen the festal for the high
Expectancy and bridegroom that has won her

Her cursed mouth the word of loves surrender
Still to the wind is telling, come not near
How shall the absent spirit now defend her
And these sweet eyes so wide with joyful fear
Among the happy isles well may he tend her
Oh solemn love should they like these endear
But tears are ours and sighs are all we send her

Yet they have left us all that was our knowing
We could not hear the voices that were hers
Or know the love her life was but the showing
The love in life that all our life bestirs
So sad for us her life was but a going
So glad for her she found her answerers
In love in life returned that was her sowing


30   Reconciliation

Like a soft falling snowflake
Her hand on mine she laid
Look love my hearts repentance
Since yesterday is made

Dear heart, and then with longing
Quick ere I melt in tears
Was only life your wronging
And only love your fears

Beauty of mine I give you
Leal love that death belies
I proffer, I, returning
Back from the void of sighs

Here’s life for sullen wronging
Since I’ve come back to woo
Now answer, ere the deeps draw
The lonely lives of two

Oh woe for him that’s proud now
My heart said, ere the might
Of lasting snows hath buried
The soul in endless night

35   Ophelias song

The wind plays on the cornfield
The bird trills in the tree
They sung so careless to the world
They sing not so to me

Let now the sharp wind whistle
And work on flowers his will
As breath of frost upon my heart
A thought lies cold and still

The warm heart of my bosom
Is colder than the stone
That quivers in the bed o’ the stream
All in the weeds alone

And the sun shines cheerily
On yonder hills afar
But the young heart of my bosom
Is colder than a star

But and the clouds may marry
That flee the earth so fast
On far and still horizons
They make their peace at last

O in that way of silence
Will flowers my anguish quick
Where seven motes be dancing
Nor woodland lances prick

Note – Ophelia rejected lover of Skakespeare’s Hamlet

41      December

From realm of ships the winds come
To hills their toilsome trend
In stricken starless striving
Red forests make an end

Drear reapers icy sickles
And sounds of scythes that cut
Departings sighed leave takings
And hopeless doors that shut

About the lift-wrack viewless
Pass, and the pealing veils
Break into to endless welkins
And gales above the gales

63    Intimation

To swallows ere the summer lingers
Do richly sport in the high blue
Keeping their kingdoms of the wingers
While with their eyes they bid adieu
So to my heart does yet importune
All the warm joys of sight and sound
Whose uncommunicable fortune
Binds and is bound

Still are there ere the summer closes
Flowers in the pallisade more thrall
More joyous relics than the roses
All scented and sad-vestured all
I shall not heed their sweet petitions
Sweet sight and scent so loved of old
For in my heart the last monitions
All things enfold

“Farewell!” they cry “goodbye forever”!
While yet the nursling spirit clings
And hopes more splendid than a river
Move past with many tinted wings
Farewell!  Good-bye! O saddest riving
When infinite deep to infinite
Calls and the giver takes for shriving
Light for our light

109   The rain

An angel-cloud came into the sky
To water the earth from a rainbow high
And the little flowers laughed with love till they cried
And light laughed over the countryside

All in a dark close on a high towered town
The bright rain drops came twinkling down
And a laughing faced cherub that dwelt in a drop
Peeped out at a child in the door of a shop

They smiled at each other with Joy in their eyes
And the Angel smiled down as he passed in the skies
Till the rain caught his smiles on the bright shining roads
And the passers-by smiled to their shadows like gods

110  The Rain

Twas a good fairy sent the sweet rain abroad
As I went on the road
With never a care
What else brought her there?
As I lay neath a tree
So witching and fair
As she sat down by me

All in the dry grass we fingered the flowers
And soft as the showers
Was the light in her eyes
And low the replies
Of the wind in the boughs
As the clouds of her hair
Swept over her brows

God bless the dear fairy that sent the west wind
And the shower so kind
To the love of her heart
In a world far apart
The rain made a song
In her bosom aware
Of the thoughts that are long

111  – Gifts

When upon my bed I lie
And close my eyes to sight
The little thoughts go marching bye
Like stars on the blue night
It would be folly for to try
These starry thoughts to write

They wend from whither unto whence
From past to future go
God giveth his own recompense
Tho’ little we can show
How near in his omnipotence
To us that dream below.

129  Two Rich Men

Once in a rich mans house I stayed
And one long night I slept
I can’t remember what he said
Nor yet the things he kept
(So fleetly fled the words he said so many things he kept)

But still I think of him no worse
Than the last one at night
That turns his keys and bar his doors
And snibs his windows tight
(And there were stores with double doors and shutters on the light)

And there’s another friend I had
With bed and board as free
Stone-blind he was and music mad
God! What things he could see
(And I was sad for a world gone mad, under his song tree)

His latch stood easy, unbestead
For any soul to call
To air and light his windows made
A welcome on the wall
(For unafraid are windows made, like eyes that look on all)

Both two were very Rich and Great
Each in his several way
Though one with Love and to’ther with State
Laid up against a day
(They both were great in Love and State much more than I can say)

130   Rune

O wonder eyed girl with the bosom so small
And slim hands that Mother the weeds on the wall
Up in the moss they are calling for you
I heard them and wish’t them the fairy’s adieu

They shall await you by the clear well
For Mary the mild-eyed  is loosed from her spell
Small fingers shall weave with your lip~loving hands
And swift feet shall run with yours through the dim lands

Now take thy last look of the green waving corn
The reek of the hearth and the pots in the burn
For strange to your sight and the thought of them ill
In the still land of dead moons behind the white hill

Laughter and reaving of heart shall be done
And dreams that are still as the flower in the sun
Love all forgot in that passionless tide
Machree! How I long to be there by your side

155   The spring clean

Polly brought Virgil to the green
With soap and brush to scrub him clean
She scraped his wreath and soaped his hair
And soused his massive shoulders bare
He gazed abroad with a new surprise
So very clean were both his eyes
He saw the thyme and tulips growing
And even smelt the lilac blowing
He wanted so this country lover
Amongst the trees to sit in clover
The sly God of all the roses
Whose scents were meant for poets noses
But Polly laughed a pumpkin poet
And all the scampering rabbits know it
Poor Virgil begged with piteous eye
For feet to run or tongue to cry

Until she tucked him in her arms
And set him far from antic’s harms
Upon his ancient seat of glory
The dusts bookshelf’s highest story

165   St Martins Den

It’s feck o’ years sin I was young
An’ mony things sin then
Hae gard me greet and gard me lauch
O mirth the same again
Whist! I hae heard on Setterdays
Upon the stroke o’ ten
The drummlin’ o the Jowin Bell
Adown St Martin’s Den


There is the moon so far away
Good evening huntress maiden mild
How fair you come from surf and spray
O cloudland child

I nod good luck to you and kiss
My hand to you and through and thro
My fingers turn my penny, yes
For love is true

And when you to our forest haste
A hunting from those starry banks
Our names are cut on the beech trunk lest
You miss our thanks

Taken from Diaries

Feb 7 1923

The thrush as it sings
Pierces my heart with its shout of startled sorrow
It wounds and heals
It is the tender gasp of moving streams
Hurrying past in the inimitable seas of melancholy
In its sudden silences there shines light
As of a window lit in a dim vale of twilight
Shewed hidden rooms of rest and tearless dream
Now your notes fill one with an unknown fear
And the terrible joy of death
A startling sorrow of the singing thrush

23rd Feb 1923

So now is the crocus time, so golden in the spring
White as the snow too, that melts about its stem
They laugh to the catkins that answering do sing
Of white brows and violet eyes and yellow diadem

21st Mar 1923

When the darkness hid my path and the Unbeknown beset me
I heard the lark singing in the Mouth of Night:- The
Heart of those that seek heaven walk in light always

Nov 15 1923

Too near this sorrow for song
To waft it in words away
Thy lips spake terror and wrong
But mine to heaven would pray
Thou touchest me with bare hands
That is the world’s way
And my love understands
As only a song would say

May 17 1924

O sorrow of love
Of dream and longing
There is sorrow upon me
That I am here

March Song

The fret of the west wing is knocking on my heart
And I would away with her to the wild places
Where in the ferny hollow the hind and the heart
Upon old crisped leaves dance wi’ lightsome paces

That the anguish and sorrow of old I may full forget
In the mild sunrise in the dark moonset
Following the horns of happiness in old forests green
With single heart of fear for true marvels seen