Frankincense and Myrrh

- 1874-1925
          My heart is tuned to sorrow, and the strings
           Vibrate most readily to minor chords,
           Searching and sad; my mind is stuffed with words
          Which voice the passion and the ache of things:
          Illusions beating with their baffled wings
           Against the walls of circumstance, and hoards
           Of torn desires, broken joys; records
          Of all a bruised life's maimed imaginings.
           Now you are come! You tremble like a star
          Poised where, behind earth's rim, the sun has set.
             Your voice has sung across my heart, but numb
           And mute, I have no tones to answer.  Far
          Within I kneel before you, speechless yet,
             And life ablaze with beauty, I am dumb.

Opal

You are ice and fire,
The touch of you burns my hands like snow.
You are cold and flame.
You are the crimson of amaryllis,
The silver of moon-touched magnolias.
When I am with you,
My heart is a frozen pond
Gleaming with agitated torches.

The Taxi

When I go away from you
The world beats dead 
Like a slackened drum.
I call out for you against the jutted stars
And shout into the ridges of the wind.
Streets coming fast,
One after the other,
Wedge you away from me,
And the lamps of the city prick my eyes
So that I can no longer see your face.
Why should I leave you,
To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?

The Letter

Little cramped words scrawling all over the paper
Like draggled fly's legs,
What can you tell of the flaring moon
Through the oak leaves?
Or of my uncertain window and the bare floor
Spattered with moonlight?
Your silly quirks and twists have nothing in them
Of blossoming hawthorns,
And this paper is dull, crisp, smooth, virgin of loveliness
Beneath my hand.

I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against
The want of you;
Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
And I scald alone, here, under the fire
Of the great moon.