New York Nocturnes and Other Poems

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

Dream-Fellows


 

Behind the veil that men call sleep
   I came upon a golden land.
A golden light was in the leaves
   And on the amethystine strand.

Amber and gold and emerald

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   The unimaginable wood.
And in a joy I could not name
   Beside the emerald stream I stood.

Down from a violet hill came one
   Running to meet me on the shore.

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I clasped his hand. He seemed to be
   One I had long been waiting for.

All the sweet sounds I ever heard
   In his low greeting seemed to blend.
His were the eyes of my true love.

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   His was the mouth of my true friend.

We spoke; and the transfigured words
   Meant more than words had ever meant.
Our lips at last forgot to speak,
   For silence was so eloquent.

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We floated in the emerald stream;
   We wandered in the wondrous wood.
His soul to me was clear as light.
   My inmost thought he understood.

Only to be was to be glad.

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   Life, like a rainbow, filled our eyes.
In comprehending comradeship
   Each moment seemed a Paradise.

And often, in the after years,
   I and my dream-fellow were one

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For hours together in that land
   Behind the moon, beyond the sun.

At last, in the tumultuous dream
   That men call life, I chanced to be
One day amid the city throng

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   Where the great piers oppose the sea.

A giant ship was swinging off
   For other seas and other skies.
Amid the voyaging companies
   I saw his face, I saw his eyes.

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Oh, passionately through the crowd
   I thrust, and then—our glances met!
Across the widening gulf we gazed,
   With white set lips, and eyes grown wet.

And all day long my heart was faint

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   With parting pangs and tears unwept;
Till night brought comfort, for he came
   To meet me, smiling, when I slept.

Beyond the veil that men call sleep
   We met, within that golden land.

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He said—or I—"We grieved to-day.
   But now, more wise, we understand!

"Communing in the common world,
   The flesh, for us, would be a bar.
Strange would be our familiar speech;

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   And earth would seem no more a star.

"We’d know no more the golden leaves
   Beside the amethystine deep;
We’d see no more each other’s thought
   Behind the veil that men call sleep!"

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