Friday, April 16, 2021

Three Poem Drafts

Pink Ladies

The shy spring
maidens bow,
blush, sink.

Their dew-gems
grace smiles
born of joy.

The cool wind
in the shade
bows as well.

The new dance
now begins
in the dawn.


Wood Nymph

Sweet nymph, you fly like fleeing fawn
that from the silence, scared, runs home,
that sees as monsters shadow-shapes
and, terrified, sets feet to trail.
But be not so!

My heart is full;
it does not roar with wrath but joy.
Rejoice with me, sweet nymph, in love;
I am no beast, no violent wolf,
though I with fierceness love your smile.

O let me love you, lady fair;
treeborn maiden, take my hand!


The Fall of Babylon

The dragons in their pleasant palaces now cry
with toll of bell;
the island-beasts shall howl in empty houses built in hell,
the satyrs dance in wildness in the the waste
where owls with mournful sigh
watch gusting winds make haste.
The desert-beasts shall sleep on wounded sand,
the doleful creatures prowl throughout the land;
no shepherd guards his flock,
no nomads tent and stock.
As cities of the plain, God-overthrown,
undwelt to farthest lineage, tribe, and line,
the glory of the kingdoms falls alone,
of habitation without sign,
the children of the city dashed on stone,
and Babylon is fallen: raise the cry.
The forepast monument in ruin falls,
gone courtyard, fountains, forum, market, halls.
Even mighty Babylon may die;
the dragons in their pleasant palaces now cry.

I recall a summer bright;
the day was clear and warm the sight,
and walked I through a thriving wood
where oaks in congregation stood.
In silence solemn stopped I, stood I, there,
as star looked down with friendly trust
upon the wind in fretful gust,
and breathed I echoes of the air.
Thence from the north, the west, the south,
a cry escapes the angel's mouth;
they myriad thousands to the edge of time,
where stands the city, sure, sublime,
have gone; but prophecy has found no home
beside the pillar, beneath high dome.
Eroding columns lose their load,
undone. The rabbit shall burrow down
to lonely halls of rabbit-town,
the thorns shall trellis every road,
the nettle through the garden creeps.
For here is Babylon the great,
for here the godless city sleeps,
the fair, the mighty, and the late.

In Babylon, its Chaldean virtue fair,
as on a salted sea shall stare
the traveler who knows no inn
and never shall a gypsy see
and finds no dwelling made for men
or pastors standing by a shielding tree;
the wild prowlers make their beds
where sorrow's creatures lay their heads
and, desolate the distant howlers mourn
as goats are leaping heedless on the green
and owls are nesting in the day unseen,
and palace-dragons cry forlorn.

Yes, yes, even Babylon may die;
no more a tender maiden's silken dress
shall your naked form caress.
The city wails,
its dwellers sigh,
as youth and splendor fails.
The gods of Babylon bow down,
no worship lift, no faith, and no renown,
none before the idle idols kneel
where wolves are howling and jackals steal.
How splendid, how splendid she once was in the night,
filled with song and feast and light!

The dragons in their pleasant palaces now cry,
in God-forsaken houses island-beast-things lie,
where owls the mouselings watch and chase,
where in empty places doleful creatures rest,
the satyrs dance through desolation's space
and bow where desert-creatures make unholy nest.
No shepherd and nomad band
leave footprints on the sand;
none dwell, none live, forever and for aye,
as when the cities of the plain were cast away;
Chaldean beauty knows no more its dreams,
and the many-godded godless city no longer casts its gleams,
for Babylon, great Babylon, may die;
the dragons in their pleasant palaces now cry.

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