Heart of mine, if all the altars
Of the ages stood before me,
Not one pure enough nor sacred
Could I find to lay this white, white
Rose of love upon.
I who am not great enough to
Love thee with this mortal body
So impassionate with ardour,
But oh, not too small to worship
While the sun shall shine,—
I would build a fragrant temple
To thee, in the dark green forest,
Of red cedar and fine sandal,
And there love thee with sweet service
All my whole life long.
I would freshen it with flowers,
And the piney hill-wind through it
Should be sweetened with soft fervours
Of small prayers in gentle language
Thou wouldst smile to hear.
And a tinkling Eastern wind-bell,
With its fluttering inscription,
From the rafters with bronze music
Should retard the quiet fleeting
Of uncounted hours.
And my hero, while so human,
Should be even as the gods are,
In that shrine of utter gladness,
With the tranquil stars above it
And the sea below.
I list, as thy heart and ascending aorta
Their volumes of valvular harmony pour,
And my soul, from that muscular music has caught a
New life, ‘mid its dry anatomical lore.
‘ ‘ Oh ! rare is the sound, when thy ventricles throb
In a systolic symphony, measured and slow,
While the auricles answer with rhythmical sob
As they murmur a melody wondrously low.
“Oh ! thy cornea, love, has the radiant light
Of the sparkle that laughs in the icicle’s sheen.
And thy crystalline lens, like a diamond bright,
Through the quivering frame of thine iris is seen.
“And thy retina, spreading its lustre of pearl,
Like a far-away nebula, distantly gleams
From a vault of black cellular mirrors, that hurl
From their hexagon angles the silvery beams.
” Oh ! the flash of those orbs is enslaving me still.
As they roll ‘neath thy palpebræ, dimly translucent,
Obeying, in silence, the magical will
Of the oculo-motor — pathetic — abducent.
‘ ‘ Oh ! sweet is thy voice, as it sighingly swells
From thy daintily quivering chordre vocales,
Or rings in clear tones from the echoing cells
Of the antrum, the ethmoid, and sinus frontales.
There is a gentle thought that often springs
to life in me, because it speaks of you.
Its reasoning about love’s so sweet and true,
the heart is conquered, and accepts these things.
‘Who is this’ the mind enquires of the heart,
‘who comes here to seduce our intellect?
Is his power so great we must reject
every other intellectual art?
The heart replies ‘O, meditative mind
this is love’s messenger and newly sent
to bring me all Love’s words and desires.
His life, and all the strength that he can find,
from her sweet eyes are mercifully lent,
who feels compassion for our inner fires.’
the shiver of hands
blind without memory
yet sweet like the words
to the tremble of lips
there are no surprises here
rest your eyelids
until they become stone
rest your heart
until it stops
(it beats now only for itself
in some secret place)