The Dread Voyage Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

THE CLOUD MAIDEN


 

SHE folds about her shining form
      The azure mantle of the skies,
And sendeth earthward, kind and warm,
      The gentle lightnings of her eyes.

She drifts in gold and azure furled,

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      This sweet, mad demon of the air,
Her love the kindliest in God’s world,
      But when she hates, her hate beware.

She floats at heaven’s gates when dawn
      Spills in the east his rosy fires,

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She comes at eve when day is gone,
      Reviving all his dead desires.

All essences came to her birth,
      The dews that drop, the airs that run;
She is the offspring of the earth,

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      The daughter of the flaming sun.

She is most kind to everything,
      The thirsty grasses, buds and flowers,
And to the poet’s heart doth bring
      Thought-blossoms from her skyey bowers.

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The spirits of the upper space,
      The swart, black genies under sea,
All for the glamour of her face,
      Are hers through all eternity.

They love, they hate, they wake, they sleep,
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      Just as she waves her shining hands;
Just as she wills, the deepest deep
      Is stirred to do her heart’s commands.

But when her mad, weird mood comes on
      Her demons all go mad with her;

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They shout the churning seas upon,
      And wrap the heavens in a blur.

She trails a ragged witch in grey
      Across the heaven’s wind-blown bars,
And in her ashen folds away

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      She hides the shuddering moon and stars.

And when she winds her ebon cloak,
      And leaps red levin from her eyes,
She rends the century-ringèd oak,
      And laughs in thunder as it lies.

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