Life goes by moving,
Up and down a chain of moods
Wanting what’s nothing.

My soul is the wind
Dashing down fields of Autumn:
O, too swift to sing.

Listen to the rain
Falling broken on the ground:
Pity the sky once.

Knowing not at all
Who stands above me seeing:
Tears of gratitude.

The nightingale sings
My heart desires but the night
Space swallows my voice:

I shall spend my moods
Like a rose discards leaves
And die without moods.

Did you say a sound?
Did you say the wind? Dashing
Only my soul’s quick—

O moon of to-night
Let me rest my head on you
And hear my life sing.

My ears burn for speech
And you lie cold and silent
Supinely cruel:

Look at the white moon
The sphinx does not question more.
Turn away your eyes.

Thought that is no thought
Poems buried in my heart
Song that is no song …

The poetry of life?
No, the picture of my dreams
Flashing on my heart.

I ride down the stream
Between the earth and the sun
On the moon’s shadow.

Treading wearily
A unit of the parade
There is no escape.

Within the shadow
I am weaving the pattern
Of a spider web.

My heart like a shell
Moans at the breast of the earth
Being too full to sing.

You are life’s fountain
Springing from eternity
Flow not recklessly.

I will wrap the song
In the leaves of the lotus
And send it to you.

No words speak louder
Than the tragic look of eyes
Close yours out of love.

Why should I wander
I who have known no surprise?
Every day the same.


                        Part I 

                  The moonlight: 
                  Juice flowing from an over-ripe pomegranate 

                   The cossack-crested palm trees: 

                   The leopard spotted shade: 
                   inciting fear

                   silence seeds sown. . . 


                       Part II 

Medicine Dance 

                        A body smiling with black beauty 
                        Leaping into the air 
                        Around a grotesque hyena-faced monster: 
                        The sorcerer—
                        A black body—dancing with beauty 
                        Clothed in African moonlight, 
                        Smiling more beauty into its body. 
                        The hyena-faced monster yelps! 
                        The dance 
                        The twirling body comes to a fall
                        At the feet of the monster. 
                        The hyena-faced monster jumps 
                        chases his own yelps back to the wilderness. 
                        The black body clothed in moonlight 
                        Raises up its head, 
                        Holding a face dancing with delight. 

                        Terror reigns like a new crowned king. 


I return the bitterness,
   Which you gave to me;
When I wanted loveliness
   Tantalant and free.

I return the bitterness
   It is washed by tears;
Now it is a loveliness
   Garnished through the years.

I return it loveliness,
   Having made it so;
For I wore the bitterness
   From it long ago.


Thou art not dead, although the spoiler’s hand
Lies heavy as death upon thee; though the wrath
Of its accursed might is in thy path
And has usurped thy children of their land;
Though yet the scourges of a monstrous band
Roam on thy ruined fields, thy trampled lanes,
Thy ravaged homes and desolated fanes;
Thou art not dead, but sleeping,—Motherland.

A mighty country, valorous and free,
Thou shalt outlive this terror and this pain;
Shall call thy scattered children back to thee,
Strong with the memory of their brothers slain;
And rise from out thy charnel house to be
Thine own immortal, brilliant self again!

Related Poems



Winter?   Spring?   Who knows?
     White buds from the plumtrees wing
And mingle with the snows.
No blue skies these flowers bring,
Yet their fragrance augurs Spring.


Oh, were the white waves,
     Far on the glimmering sea
That the moonshine laves,
Dream flowers drifting to me,—
I would cull them, love, for thee.


Moon, somnolent, white,
     Mirrored in a waveless sea,
What fickle mood of night
Urged thee from heaven to flee
And live in the dawnlit sea?


Like mist on the leas,
     Fall gently, oh rain of Spring
On the orange trees
That to Ume’s casement cling—
Perchance, she’ll hear the love-bird sing.


Though love has grown cold
     The woods are bright with flowers,
Why not as of old
Go to the wildwood bowers
And dream of—bygone hours!


Tell, what name beseems
     These vain and wandering days!
Like the bark of dreams
That from souls at daybreak strays
They are lost on trackless ways.


Oh, climb to my lips,
     Frail muse of the amber wine!
Joy to him who sips
Cups of fragrant sake wine
Flowing from some fount divine.


If pleasures be mine
     As aeons and aeons roll by,
Why should I repine
That under some future sky
I may life as butterfly?


Were we able to tell
     When old age would come our way,
We would muffle the bell,
Lock the door and go away—
Let him call some other day.

Wisdom Cometh With the Years

Now I am young and credulous,
    My heart is quick to bleed
At courage in the tremulous
    Slow sprouting of a seed.

Now I am young and sensitive,
    Man's lack can stab me through;
I own no stitch I would not give
    To him that asked me to.

Now I am young and a fool for love,
    My blood goes mad to see
A brown girl pass me like a dove
    That flies melodiously.

Let me be lavish of my tears,
    And dream that false is true;
Though wisdom cometh with the years,
    The barren days come, too.