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Love without hope, as when the young bird catcher
Swept off his tall hat to the Squire's own daughter,
So let the imprisoned larks escape and fly
Singing about her head as she rode by.
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
The goddess Fortune be praised (on her toothed wheel
I have been mincemeat these several years)
Last night, for a whole night, the unpredictable
Lay in my arms, in a tender and unquiet rest -
(I percieved the irrelevance of my former fears)
Lay, and then departed. I rose and walked the streets
Where a whitsuntide wind blew fresh, and blackbirds
Incontestably sang, and the people were beautiful.
O my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I;
And I will love thee still, my Dear,
Till a'the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry my Dear,
And the rocks melt in sun:
I will love thee still, my Dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only Luve!
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!
When I am sad and weary
When I think all hope has gone
When I walk along High Holborn
I think of you with nothing on
Years later we'll remember the bathtub
the position of the taps
the water, slippery
as if a bucketful of eels had joined us ...
we'll be old, our children grown up
but we'll remember the water sloshing out
the useless soap,
the mountain of wet towels.
'Remember the bathtub in Belfast?'
we'll prod each other -
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
The radiance of that star that leans on me
Was shining years ago. The light that now
Glitters up there my eye may never see,
And so the time lag teases me with how
Love that loves now may not reach me until
Its first desire is spent. The star's impulse
Must wait for eyes to claim it beautiful
And love arrived may find us somewhere else.
Nay, I have done: you get no more of me,
And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free,
Shake hands forever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of love's latest breath,
When his pulse failing, passion speechless lies,
When faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And innocence is closing up his eyes,
Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.
Now they are no longer
any trouble to each other
he can turn things over, get down to that list
of things that never happened, all of the lost
For instance... for instance,
how he never clipped and kept her hair, or drew a hairbrush
through that style of hers, and never knew how not to blush
at the fall of her name in close company.
How they never slept like buried cutlery —
two spoons or forks cupped perfectly together,
or made the most of some heavy weather —
walked out into hard rain under sheet lightning,
or did the gears while the other was driving.
How he never raised his fingertips
to stop the segments of her lips
from breaking the news,
or tasted the fruit
or picked for himself the pear of her heart,
or lifted her hand to where his own heart
was a small, dark, terrified bird
in her grip. Where it hurt.
Or said the right thing,
or put it in writing.
And never fled the black mile back to his house
before midnight, or coaxed another button of her blouse,
or knew her
her taste, her flavour,
and never ran a bath or held a towel for her,
or soft-soaped her, or whipped her hair
into an ice-cream cornet or a beehive
of lather, or acted out of turn, or misbehaved
when he might have, or worked a comb
where no comb had been, or walked back home
through a black mile hugging a punctured heart,
where it hurt, where it hurt, or helped her hand
to his butterfly heart
in its two blue halves.
And never almost cried,
and never once described
an attack of the heart,
or under a silk shirt
nursed in his hand her breast,
her left, like a tear of flesh
wept by the heart,
where it hurts,
or brushed with his thumb the nut of her nipple,
or drank intoxicating liquors from her navel.
Or christened the Pole Star in her name,
or shielded the mask of her face like a flame,
a pilot light,
or stayed the night,
or steered her back to that house of his,
or said "Don't ask me how it is
I like you.
I just might do."
How he never figured out a fireproof plan,
or unravelled her hand, as if her hand
were a solid ball
of silver foil
and discovered a lifeline hiding inside it,
and measured the trace of his own alongside it.
But said some things and never meant them —
sweet nothings anybody could have mentioned.
about the heart, where it hurt exactly, and how often.
And left unsaid some things he should have spoken
(The first two verses of this poem are by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.)
I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am when I am with you.
I love you,
Not only for what you have made of yourself,
But for what you are making of me.
I love you for
the part of me that you bring out;
I love you for
putting your hand into my heaped-up heart
And passing over all the foolish, weak things
that you can’t help dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out into the light
All the beautiful belongings
that no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.
I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern, but a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.
I love you because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good,
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it by being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
being a friend means, after all.
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