The Lamp of Life

- 1874-1925
          Always we are following a light,
           Always the light recedes; with groping hands
           We stretch toward this glory, while the lands
          We journey through are hidden from our sight
          Dim and mysterious, folded deep in night,
           We care not, all our utmost need demands
           Is but the light, the light! So still it stands
          Surely our own if we exert our might.
          Fool! Never can'st thou grasp this fleeting gleam,
           Its glowing flame would die if it were caught,
          Its value is that it doth always seem
           But just a little farther on. Distraught,
           But lighted ever onward, we are brought
          Upon our way unknowing, in a dream.

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.