Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!
Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.
She sped through the door And, following in haste, And stirred to the core, I entered hot-faced; But I could not find her, No sign was behind her. 'Where is she?' I said: "Who?" they asked that sat there; "Not a soul's come in sight." 'A maid with red hair.' "Ah." They paled. "She is dead. People see her at night, But you are the first On whom she has burst In the keen common light." It was ages ago, When I was quite strong: I have waited since,—O, I have waited so long! Yea, I set me to own The house, where now lone I dwell in void rooms Booming hollow as tombs! But I never come near her, Though nightly I hear her. And my cheek has grown thin And my hair has grown gray With this waiting therein; But she still keeps away!