The numbing tumults of a listless day
Are thought to be matters of great import,
Though these passing tempests rarely relay
Passions of the highest or purest sort.
How stupid of me to write these verses!
Heaping scorn upon what is beneath it
While my guardian spirit rehearses
Nervously over what he will submit
To the starry judges of mortal deeds,
Who to me kindly granted a reward
To which no common compass ever leads:
An ivory muse who has made me her lord.
In this way inspiration is ordained
And our unfailing melody sustained
I peer down to find their affairs tired and tried
From this throne under which their kingdoms reside
Seated between the broad forms behind their art
Watching high thoughts come only to depart.
From the misty rim of history’s hubris,
Unfading but presumed to be rootless,
In verse I for a time may capture you,
Pushing onward with my pen to renew
Our story’s beauties and its beatitude.
For the day when their faith in love dwindles
Escaping into the clouds that occlude,
Let these lines be the wood that rekindles
The image of pure hearts rightly construed,
To which our poor arts can only allude
You saw my soul was sick, but did not leave
You let it writhe and listened to it whine
In your kind way you asked for no reprieve,
Letting your balms with my illness align.
Yet its cause could you ever really quell?
Affection has wrought it, you are its source,
And with the cure the pain runs parallel,
Tracing a seemingly uncertain course.
If I am to be yours I must have worth
Or nature could never condone this bond.
This mandate forces a trying rebirth
And commands my maladies to abscond.
In sickness health will find its expression
And jealousy a better profession
When care is strained by the whims of fortune,
Which tears the stoutest of resolves apart,
Every moment comes too late and too soon
For the searing patience of the longing heart.
Dumbly grasping for the night we last met
Crawling toward the next day we will meet,
Turning golden embrace into regret
And lambent daydreams into grey defeat.
Yet it commands us to remain undaunted,
Orders us to be unflinching and true,
For all other powers seem too vaunted
Next to what lets our love be born anew.
Let distance and folly attempt to rend
What our one purpose will rise to defend
When you are gone I toil without an aim
Daft, dumb, and still, hesitant to embark
On my ventures once great, but now lame –
Sorely clasping toward your ensnaring mark.
For to what will all my efforts amount
Without my gift, your judgement, or the whip?
Should I then labour on my own account,
Without a more refined mind’s gentle grip?
I would rather lay my songs at your feet
Than see them besmirched by another’s ears
And traverse the unforgiving arête,
Prepared for when your visage reappears.
I will wait and summon a stronger might
And in striving for you find purer delight.
There are only ink stains on this page
Symbols too mournfully stiff to be real
And so my expressions beg me to rage,
To never write a merely modest appeal.
What scraps can my pauper of a pen collect
From waterfall songs or the twilight’s jewel?
It does not reel, for an attempt to defect
Sends it back to its task, gainfully cruel.
My shame would be worse if I refrained
From my failing endeavors to duplicate
Your presence, and having so abstained
Would make art’s stomach more insatiate.
Then let me rise once more to raise my pen,
And with ardor charge the unreal again.
A dunce alone would doubt your affections
Once pierced by the arrows of your glare,
To others you give costumed reflections
But for your love you remain always bare.
In a life without a single granted boon
Who could not question such a downpour?
Forgive the fool who finds fault with fortune,
He does not know how he earned its favour.
Parched by the sun, stricken by the swelter
All things green and good seemed suspect
Faltering, I sought a mirage for shelter,
And gained entry to its every aspect.
The vision I thought could not be possessed
Is now too real for my doubts to contest