The Circle of Affection and Other Pieces in Prose and Verse

by Duncan Campbell Scott


 

A FRAGMENT


 

HOW LOVELY is wind
When free beneath the sky;—
Sometime with long pervasive sigh,
In the dark wood,
When the shy lover
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Puts back with tremulous hand his lady’s hood
And feels, for the first time,
The parted coolness of her virgin lips;—
A touch too tender to be named a kiss,
The very shadow of bliss
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Upon the dreaming face of ecstasy.
Or when it sudden comes upon the sea
And moves all night
With a tempestuous might
Upon the rebel waters;
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Till the gray haggard morning
Hears the wild sound of glutted passion;
Not the waves’ sole voice,
But the immingled noise
Of wave and tempest, with the undertone
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Of the lone coast and the lone sea bird’s cry,
With crash of floating helm and battered hull,
Where the unquiet dead men feel the cliffs
For some still haven for their broken bones,
Not to be tossed forever with vain dreams
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But to discover some sweet land,
Some sheltered, dry community of graves,
Where they might fall away into a quiet dust,
Like to the happy bodies of inland folk
Who never breathed the waves.
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Or most when under stars apart
The poet feels a clam upon his heart,
Yet hears a sound remote, a cry
Breaking along the mountains,
The wind upon the mountain wilderness,
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The inconsolable voice of human destiny.