Natalie Clifford Barney (1876-1972)
As I must mount to feed those doves of ours,
Perhaps you too will spend nocturnal hours
Upon your roof
So high aloof
That from its terraced bowers
We catch at clouds and draw a bath from showers.
Before the moon has made all pale the night,
Let's meet with flute and viol, and supper light:
A yew lamb, minted sauce, a raisined bun,
A melon riper than the melting sun—
A flask of Xeres, that we've scarce begun—
We'll try the « lunar waltz » while floats afar
Upon the liquid night—night's nenuphar.
Or else, with senses tuned alike perchance,
Reclining love will make the heavens dance;
And if the enemy from aerial cars
Drops death, we'll share it vibrant with the stars!
Since There Is No Escape
Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
Since there is no escape, since at the end
My body will be utterly destroyed,
This hand I love as I have loved a friend,
This body I tended, wept with and enjoyed;
Since there is no escape even for me
Who love life with a love too sharp to bear:
The scent of orchards in the rain, the sea
And hours alone too still and sure for prayer—
Since darkness waits for me, then all the more
Let me go down as waves sweep to the shore
In pride, and let me sing with my last breath;
In these few hours of light I lift my head;
Life is my lover—I shall leave the dead
If there is any way to baffle death.
Elinor Wylie (1885-1928)
My bands of silk and miniver
Momently grew heavier;
The black gauze was beggarly thin;
The ermine muffled mouth and chin;
I could not suck the moonlight in.
Harlequin in lozenges
Of love and hate, I walked in these
Striped and ragged rigmaroles;
Along the pavement my footsoles
Trod warily on living coals.
Shouldering the thoughts I loathed,
In their corrupt disguises clothed,
Morality I could not tear
From my ribs, to leave them bare
Ivory in silver air.
There I walked, and there I raged;
The spiritual savage caged
Within my skeleton, raged afresh
To feel, behind a carnal mesh,
The clean bones crying in the flesh.
Sophie Jewett (1861-1909)
When the last fight is lost, the last sword broken;
The last call sounded, the last order spoken;
When from the field where braver hearts lie sleeping,
Faint, and athirst, and blinded, I come creeping,
With not one waving shred of palm to bring you,
With not one splendid battle-song to sing you,
O Love, in my dishonor and defeat,
Your measureless compassion will be sweet.
A Bird Song
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
It’s a year almost that I have not seen her:
Oh, last summer green things were greener,
Brambles fewer, the blue sky bluer.
It’s surely summer, for there’s a swallow:
Come one swallow, his mate will follow,
The bird race quicken and wheel and thicken.
Oh happy swallow whose mate will follow
O’er height, o’er hollow! I’d be a swallow,
To build this weather one nest together.