The Phantom Guest

- 1876-1972
We lay in shade diaphanous
And spoke the light that burns in us

As in the glooming’s net I caught her,
She shimmered like reflected water!

Romantic and emphatic moods
Are not for her whom life eludes...

Its vulgar tinsel round her fold?
She'd rather shudder with the cold,

Attend just this elusive hour,
A shadow in a shadow bower,

A moving imagery so fine,
It must have been her soul near mine

And so we blended and possessed
Each in each the phantom guest,

Inseparate, we scarcely met;
Yet other love-nights we forget!

More by Natalie Clifford Barney

A Parisian Roof Garden in 1918

As I must mount to feed those doves of ours,  
Perhaps you too will spend nocturnal hours   
      Upon your roof   
      So high aloof 
That from its terraced bowers   
We catch at clouds and draw a bath from showers.  
Before the moon has made all pale the night,  
Let's meet with flute and viol, and supper light :  
A yew lamb, minted sauce, a raisined bun,  
A melon riper than the melting sun—  
A flask of Xeres, that we've scarce begun—  
We'll try the « lunar waltz » while floats afar  
Upon the liquid night—night's nenuphar.  
Or else, with senses tuned alike perchance,  
Reclining love will make the heavens dance;  
And if the enemy from aerial cars  
Drops death, we'll share it vibrant with the stars!

Related Poems

Summer Night, Riverside

In the wild soft summer darkness 
How many and many a night we two together 
Sat in the park and watched the Hudson 
Wearing her lights like golden spangles 
Glinting on black satin. 
The rail along the curving pathway 
Was low in a happy place to let us cross, 
And down the hill a tree that dripped with bloom 
Sheltered us, 
While your kisses and the flowers, 
Falling, falling, 
Tangled in my hair.... 

The frail white stars moved slowly over the sky. 

And now, far off 
In the fragrant darkness 
The tree is tremulous again with bloom 
For June comes back. 

To-night what girl 
Dreamily before her mirror shakes from her hair 
This year's blossoms, clinging to its coils?