Before Quiet

I will think of water-lilies
Growing in a darkened pool,
And my breath shall move like water,
And my hands be limp and cool.
 

It shall be as though I waited
In a wooden place alone;
I will learn the peace of lilies
And will take it for my own.
 

If a twinge of thought, if yearning
Come like wind into this place,
I will bear it like the shadow
Of a leaf across my face.

More by Hazel Hall

Two Sewing

The Wind is sewing with needles of rain.
With shining needles of rain
It stitches into the thin
Cloth of earth. In,
In, in, in.
Oh, the wind has often sewed with me.
One, two, three.

Spring must have fine things
To wear like other springs.
Of silken green the grass must be
Embroidered. One and two and three.
Then every crocus must be made
So subtly as to seem afraid
Of lifting colour from the ground;
And after crocuses the round
Heads of tulips, and all the fair
Intricate garb that Spring will wear.
The wind must sew with needles of rain,
With shining needles of rain,
Stitching into the thin
Cloth of earth, in,
In, in, in,
For all the springs of futurity.
One, two, three.

Hours

I have known hours built like cities,
House on grey house, with streets between
That lead to straggling roads and trail off,
Forgotten in a field of green;

Hours made like mountains lifting
White crests out of the fog and rain,
And woven of forbidden music—
Hours eternal in their pain.

Life is a tapestry of hours
Forever mellowing in tone,
Where all things blend, even the longing
For hours I have never known.

Mending

Here are old things:
Fraying edges,
Ravelling threads;
And here are scraps of new goods,
Needles and thread,
An expectant thimble,
A pair of silver-toothed scissors.
Thimble on a finger,
New thread through an eye;
Needle, do not linger,
Hurry as you ply.
If you ever would be through
Hurry, scurry, fly!
Here are patches,
Felled edges,
Darned threads,
Strengthening old utility,
Pending the coming of the new.
Yes, I have been mending …
But also,
I have been enacting
A little travesty on life.

Related Poems

Sympathy

As one within a moated tower,	
    I lived my life alone;	
And dreamed not other granges’ dower,	
    Nor ways unlike mine own.	
I thought I loved. But all alone
    As one within a moated tower	
I lived. Nor truly knew	
    One other mortal fortune’s hour.	
As one within a moated tower,	
    One fate alone I knew.
Who hears afar the break of day	
    Before the silvered air	
Reveals her hooded presence gray,	
    And she, herself, is there?	
I know not how, but now I see
    The road, the plain, the pluming tree,	
The carter on the wain.	
    On my horizon wakes a star.	
The distant hillsides wrinkled far	
    Fold many hearts’ domain.
On one the fire-worn forests sweep,	
    Above a purple mountain-keep	
And soar to domes of snow.	
    One heart has swarded fountains deep	
Where water-lilies blow:
    And one, a cheerful house and yard,	
With curtains at the pane,	
    Board-walks down lawns all clover-starred,	
And full-fold fields of grain.	
    As one within a moated tower
I lived my life alone;	
    And dreamed not other granges’ dower	
Nor ways unlike mine own.	
    But now the salt-chased seas uncurled	
And mountains trooped with pine
    Are mine. I look on all the world	
And all the world is mine.

Ode to Solitude

Happy the man, whose wish and care
   A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
                            In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
   Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
                            In winter fire.

Blest, who can unconcernedly find
   Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
                            Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
   Together mixed; sweet recreation;
And innocence, which most does please,
                            With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
   Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
                            Tell where I lie.

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII)

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.