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.
O Life with the sad seared face,
I weary of seeing thee,
And thy draggled cloak, and thy hobbling pace,
And thy too-forced pleasantry!
I know what thou would’st tell
Of Death, Time, Destiny—
I have known it long, and know, too, well
What it all means for me.
But canst thou not array
Thyself in rare disguise,
And feign like truth, for one mad day,
That Earth is Paradise?
I’ll tune me to the mood,
And mumm with thee till eve;
And maybe what as interlude
I feign, I shall believe!