But ah, in all my dreams of bliss,
In passion’s hunger, fever’s drouth,
I never dare to dream of this:
My lips upon your mouth.
And so I dream your big blue eyes,
That look on me with tenderness,
Grow wide, and deep, and sad, and wise,
And dim with dear distress.
THE GARLAND OF SLEEP
A wreath of poppy flowers,
With leaves of lotus blended,
Is carved on Life’s facade of hours,
From night to night suspended.
Along the columned wall,
From birth’s low portal starting,
It flows, with even rise and fall,
To death’s dark door of parting.
How short each measured arc,
How brief the columns’ number!
The wreath begins and ends in dark,
And leads from sleep to slumber.
The marble garland seems,
With braided leaf and bloom,
To deck the palace of our dreams
As if it were a tomb.
Dear tranquil Habit, with her silent hands,
Doth heal our deepest wounds from day to day
With cooling, soothing oil, and firmly lay
Around the broken heart her gentle bands.
Her nursing is as calm as Nature’s
She doth not weep with us; yet none the less
Her quiet fingers weave forgetfulness,—
We fall asleep in peace when she is there.
Upon the mirror of the mind her breath
Is like a cloud, to hide the fading trace
Of that dear smile, of that remembered face,
Whose presence were the joy and pang of death.
And he who clings to sorrow overmuch,
Weeping for withered grief, has cause to bless,
More than all cries of pity and distress,—
Dear tranquil Habit, thy consoling touch!
THE OLD BRIDGE
On the old, old bridge, with its crumbling stones
All covered with lichens red and gray,
Two lovers were talking in sweet low tones:
And we were they!
As he leaned to breathe in her willing ear
The love that he vowed would never die,
He called her his darling, his dove most dear:
And he was I!
She covered her face from the pale moonlight
With her trembling hands, but her eyes looked through,
And listened and listened with long delight:
And she was you!
On the old, old bridge, where the lichens rust,
Two lovers are learning the same old lore;
He tells his love, and she looks her trust:
But we,—no more!