Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis

by Susie Frances Harrison


 

TO MIRANDA


 

              The paper moon of pink
              Has continents of ink,
An undiscovered literary sphere.
              Above your head it swings,
              Above the golden rings
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That drop behind and wave below and softly veil your ear.

              The moon, like some large pearl,
              Looms calm amid the whirl
Of hearts and stars and planets, pulses all;
              The globe on which we fly,

10
              The mimic one on high—
They both are real, and each is but a frail and wind-chased ball.

              The banners northward flung,
              The silver ribbons hung
Across an amber arch that fades to green;

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              The flash of flying stars,
              The fiery eye of Mars,
The blue of Sirius, ere he drops behind that dusky screen;

              The colour everywhere,
              The perfume in the air,

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The mystery and magic of the place;
              The sweet disquietude,
              With revery embued,
This is no cold colonial night—you boast some other race;

              Some other clime you knew,

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              Some foreign land knew you
When first you shook your curls upon the wind;
              In Grecian meadows sweet,
              You set your girlish feet,
Or laughed in lakes Italian as the parted grass you thinned.
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              No daughter of the snow,
              No northern bud could blow
Into a gold-crowned blossom, lace-enswathed;
              The soft and sunny South
              Has surely framed that mouth,
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The fervid East that glowing skin, those languid limbs, has
  bathed.

              Although your hair be gold,
              It holds no hint of cold,
But rather guards a bright and secret flame;
              I see from my low place
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              A curl lie on the lace—
It harbours light and warmth that put yon brazen bowl to shame!

              My place is low but near,
              If I but choose I hear
The tinkle of the cross that strikes your brooch,

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              The little cross—my gift—
              Chimes on as if to lift
My soul to worship, while it guards and consecrates approach.

              We keep, with voices mute,
              A silence absolute.

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If I but choose, all’s read within your eyes;
              If you but choose, I may
              Upon your lap just lay
A hand too calm, too confident, to tremble at its prize.

              So—should we float to-night

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              In some enchanted flight
Towards those stars that mock our mimic moon,
              We need not aught exchange,
              Nor find the new world strange,
Since float with us through ether to some clear and joyous rune—
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              The pansy’s purple dark,
              The red geranium’s spark,
The rosy oleander, smooth and tall;
              The world of mignonette,
              The morning-glories met
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By the vine and sweet clematis climbing up the latticed wall;

              The white and orange fire
              Of lanterns that conspire
Against the shadows stealing overhead;
              The arching horns of moose,

70
              The awnings flapping loose,
The tawny rugs that meet your feet, and make my supple bed;

              The swing in which you sway,
              The net of gold and gray,
The hammock filled with cushions to the brim,

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              The wine within your hand,
              Of rare and subtle brand,
The glow within your eyes, the low and long repose of limb;—

              If good enough for this
              Sad world of cankered bliss,

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Perverted aims, rash hopes, and weak despairs,
              These essences so fine,
              These flowers and scents divine,
That seek the best nor flourish save in pure and perfect airs,

              If strong enough for all

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              The gales that rock this ball,
The northern tumults both of wind and hail,
              This canopy so free,
              This latticed balcony,
That near the river rears its orange-lighted nest so frail;
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              There is no world afar,
              On planet or in star,
No mystic country Merlin ever sought,
              Too fair for such a face,
              For such a hidden place
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Of sweetest refuge, flower and briar, pain and pleasure fraught;

              There is no fairy realm,
              Where magic at the helm
Holds back the ever reeling wheel of sense;
              No charmèd gallery,

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              On mountain or by sea,
Where merge the nightly trances in the day-dream’s joys intense;

              No turret-chamber hewn
              In castle rock, and strewn
With sweetness pluckt at dawn to scent the day;

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              No palace shining fair,
              With gleam of carven stair,
And splash of falling fountain in the courtyard cool and gray,

              Beneath what cloudless sky,
              Too fair, too sweet, too high,

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To shelter you, past mistress of delight!
              I deem not half so fair
              That royal room and rare,
Where Isolt sprang with sobs upon the breast of her lost knight!

              That room so narrow neat,

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              Where Hero, fair and sweet,
Caught young Leander on her outstretched arm,
              And drew him to the light.
              From out th’ encircling night,
And clasped him close and kissed him fast till he grew strong and
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  warm;

              And growing warm, grew bold,
              And took with passionate hold
Her paling face between his trembling hands,
              And made her own that hour
              The man’s consummate power
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To drown her voice, and break her will, and bind her in love’s
  bands—

              O sweeter far than it,
              This place wherein we sit,
And sweeter far than lips on other lips,
              To close our eyes and know,
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              Whatever dreams may go,
The cherished one may stay, nor suffer wrong, nor fear eclipse!

 


 

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