“Content thee, Rose Dolores; content thee, child
There’s satin shoon upon thy feet and emeralds in thy hair,
And one there is who hungers for thy step upon the stair.”
The moan of Rose Dolores, “O jailer, set me
These satin shoon and green-lit gems are terrible to me;
I hear a murmur on the wind, the murmur of the sea!”
“Bethink thee, Rose Dolores, bethink thee, ere
Thou wert a fisher’s child, alack, born to a fisher’s fate;
Would’st lay thy beauty ’neath the yoke—would’st be a fisher’s mate?”
The moan of Rose Dolores “Kind jailer, let me
There’s one who is a fisher—ah! my heart beats cold and slow
Lest he should doubt I love him—I! who love not heaven so!”
“Alas, sweet Rose Dolores, why beat against
Thy fisher lover drifteth where the sea is full of stars;
Why weep for one who weeps no more?—since grief thy beauty mars!”
The moan of Rose Dolores (she prayed me patiently)
“O jailer, now I know who called from out the calling sea,
I know whose kiss was in the wind—O jailer, set me free!”
Across the trodden continent of years
To shrines of long ago,
My heart, a hooded pilgrim, turns with tears—
For could I know
That in the temple of thy constancy
There still may burn a taper lit for me,
’Twould be a star in starless heaven, to show
That Heaven could be.
Bent with the weight of all that I desired
And all that I forswore,
My heart roams, mendicant, forlorn and tired,
From door to door,
Begging of every stern-faced memory
An alms of pity—just to come to thee,
No more thy knight, thy champion no more—
Only thy devotee!
Spring will come to help me: she’ll be
Back with the soft sun, the sun I knew before.
She will wear her green gown, the emerald gown she wore
When the white-faced windflowers blew along the lane.
Spring will come to help me: When her waking
Drifts across my sore heart all the pain will go.
How shall hearts be aching when larks are flying low,
Low across the fields of camas bluer than the sky?
I’ve a tryst with Spring here—maybe
they’ll be few
Now the world grows older—and shall I delay
Just because a Winter has stolen joy away?
What cares Spring for old joys, all her joys are new.
Maybe there’ll be singing in my sorrow yet—
I have heard of such things—but, if there be not,
Still there’ll be the green pool in the pasture lot,
All a-trail with willow fingers, delicate and wet.
Winter is a passing thing and Spring is always gay;
If she, too, be passing she does not weep to know it.
Time she takes to quicken seed but never time to grow it—
Naught she cares for harvest that lies so far away.