March Evening

- 1874-1925

Blue through the window burns the twilight;
  Heavy, through trees, blows the warm south wind.
Glistening, against the chill, gray sky light,
  Wet, black branches are barred and entwined.

Sodden and spongy, the scarce-green grass plot
  Dents into pools where a foot has been.
Puddles lie spilt in the road a mass, not
  Of water, but steel, with its cold, hard sheen.

Faint fades the fire on the hearth, its embers
  Scattering wide at a stronger gust.
Above, the old weathercock groans, but remembers
  Creaking, to turn, in its centuried rust.

Dying, forlorn, in dreary sorrow,
  Wrapping the mists round her withering form,
Day sinks down; and in darkness to-morrow
  Travails to birth in the womb of the storm.
 

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.

Related Poems

The Widow's Lament in Springtime

Sorrow is my own yard
where the new grass
flames as it has flamed
often before but not
with the cold fire
that closes round me this year.
Thirtyfive years
I lived with my husband.
The plumtree is white today
with masses of flowers.
Masses of flowers
load the cherry branches
and color some bushes
yellow and some red
but the grief in my heart
is stronger than they
for though they were my joy
formerly, today I notice them
and turn away forgetting.
Today my son told me
that in the meadows,
at the edge of the heavy woods
in the distance, he saw
trees of white flowers.
I feel that I would like
to go there
and fall into those flowers
and sink into the marsh near them.