Friday, December 7, 2018

Dusk in Autumn - Teasdale

Dusk in Autumn
Sara Teasdale, 1884 - 1933
circa 1907

The moon is like a scimitar,
A little silver scimitar,
A-drifting down the sky.
And near beside it is a star,
A timid twinkling golden star,
That watches likes an eye.

And thro’ the nursery window-pane
The witches have a fire again,
Just like the ones we make,—
And now I know they’re having tea,
I wish they’d give a cup to me,
With witches’ currant cake.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Incantation - Lathrop

Incantation
George Parsons Lathrop, 1851 - 1898
circa 1892

When the leaves, by thousands thinned,
A thousand times have whirled in the wind,
And the moon, with hollow cheek,
Staring from her hollow height,
Consolation seems to seek
From the dim, reechoing night;
And the fog-streaks dead and white
Lie like ghosts of lost delight
O’er highest earth and lowest sky;
Then, Autumn, work thy witchery!

Strew the ground with poppy-seeds,
And let my bed be hung with weeds,
Growing gaunt and rank and tall,
Drooping o’er me like a pall.
Send thy stealthy, white-eyed mist
Across my brow to turn and twist
Fold on fold, and leave me blind
To all save visions in the mind.
Then, in the depth of rain-fed streams
I shall slumber, and in dreams
Slide through some long glen that burns
With a crust of blood-red ferns
And brown-withered wings of brake
Like a burning lava-lake;—
So, urged to fearful, faster flow
By the awful gasp, “Hahk! hahk!” of the crow,
Shall pass by many a haunted rood
Of the nutty, odorous wood;
Or, where the hemlocks lean and loom,
Shall fill my heart with bitter gloom;
Till, lured by light, reflected cloud,
I burst aloft my watery shroud,
And upward through the ether sail
Far above the shrill wind’s wail;—
But, falling thence, my soul involve
With the dust dead flowers dissolve;
And, gliding out at last to sea,
Lulled to a long tranquillity,
The perfect poise of seasons keep
With the tides that rest at neap.
So must be fulfilled the rite
That giveth me the dead year’s might;
And at dawn I shall arise
A spirit, though with human eyes,
A human form and human face;
And where’er I go or stay,
There the summer’s perished grace
Shall be with me, night and day.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Ghost Music - Graves

Ghost Music
Robert Graves, 1895 - 1985
circa 1917

Gloomy and bare the organ-loft,
Bent-backed and blind the organist.
From rafters looming shadowy,
From the pipes’ tuneful company,
Drifted together drowsily,
Innumerable, formless, dim,
The ghosts of long-dead melodies,
Of anthems, stately, thunderous,
Of Kyries shrill and tremulous:
In melancholy drowsy-sweet
They huddled there in harmony.
Like bats at noontide rafter-hung.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Demiurge’s Laugh - Frost

The Demiurge’s Laugh
Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963
circa 1915

It was far in the sameness of the wood;
I was running with joy on the Demon’s trail,
Though I knew what I hunted was no true god.
It was just as the light was beginning to fail
That I suddenly heard—all I needed to hear:
It has lasted me many and many a year.

The sound was behind me instead of before,
A sleepy sound, but mocking half,
As of one who utterly couldn’t care.
The Demon arose from his wallow to laugh,
Brushing the dirt from his eye as he went;
And well I knew what the Demon meant.

I shall not forget how his laugh rang out.
I felt as a fool to have been so caught,
And checked my steps to make pretence
It was something among the leaves I sought
(Though doubtful whether he stayed to see).
Thereafter I sat me against a tree.

© Robert Frost, A Boy’s Will, 1915

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Nyctophilia

The House of Ghosts - Widdemer

The House of Ghosts
Margaret Widdemer (1884-1978)
circa 1917


The House of Ghosts was bright within,
Aglow and warm and gay,
A place my own once loved me in,
That is not there by day:

My hound lay drowsing on the floor:
From sunken graves returned
My folk that I was lonely for
Sat where the hearth-fire burned.

There was no lightest echo lost
When I undid the door,
There was no shadow where I crossed
The well-remembered floor.

I bent to whisper to my hound
(So long he had been dead!)
He slept no lighter nor more sound,
He did not lift his head.

I brushed my father as I came;
He did not move or see—
I cried upon my mother’s name;
She did not look at me.

Their faces in the firelight bent,
They smiled in speaking slow
Of some old gracious merriment
Forgotten years ago.

I was so changed since they had died!
How could they know or guess
A voice that plead for love, and cried
Of grief and loneliness?

Out from the House of Ghosts I fled
Lest I should turn and see
The child I had been lift her head
And stare aghast at me!

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Chilly Night - Rossetti

A Chilly Night
Christina Rossetti, 1830 - 1894
circa 1904

I rose at the dead of night,
And went to the lattice alone
To look for my Mother’s ghost
Where the ghostly moonlight shone.

My friends had failed one by one,
Middle-aged, young, and old,
Till the ghosts were warmed to me
Than my friends that had grown cold.

I looked and I saw the ghosts
Dotting plain and mound:
They stood in the blank moonlight,
But no shadow lay on the ground:
They spoke without a voice
And they leaped without a sound.

I called: ‘O my Mother dear,’—
I sobbed: ‘O my Mother kind,
Make a lonely bed for me
And shelter it from the wind.

‘Tell the others not to come
To see me night or day:
But I need not tell my friends
To be sure to keep away.’

My Mother raised her eyes,
They were blank and could not see:
Yet they held me with their stare
While they seemed to look at me.

She opened her mouth and spoke;
I could not hear a word,
While my flesh crept on my bones
And every hair was stirred.

She knew that I could not hear
The message that she told
Whether I had long to wait
Or soon should sleep in the mould:
I saw her toss her shadowless hair
And wring her hands in the cold.

I strained to catch her words,
And she strained to make me hear;
But never a sound of words
Fell on my straining ear.

From midnight to the cockcrow
I kept my watch in pain
While the subtle ghosts grew subtler
In the sad night on the wane.

From midnight to the cockcrow
I watched till all were gone,
Some to sleep in the shifting sea
And some under turf and stone:
Living had failed and dead had failed,
And I was indeed alone.

Vintage Postcard of the week...