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MEREDITH, Georges


Modern Love: I

By this he knew she wept with waking eyes:

That, at his hand's light quiver by her head,

The strange low sobs that shook their common bed

Were called into her with a sharp surprise,

And strangled mute, like little gaping snakes,

Dreadfully venomous to him. She lay

Stone-still, and the long darkness flowed away

With muffled pulses. Then, as midnight makes

Her giant heart of Memory and Tears

Drink the pale drug of silence, and so beat

Sleep's heavy measure, they from head to feet

Were moveless, looking through their dead black years,

By vain regret scrawled over the blank wall.

Like sculptured effigies they might be seen

Upon their marriage-tomb, the sword between;

Each wishing for the sword that severs all.


Dirge in Woods

And blow

Not a breath of wild air;

Still as the mosses that glow

One the flooring and over the lines

of the roots here and there.

The pine-tree drops its dead;

They are quiet, as under the sea.

Overhead, overhead

Rushes life in a race,

As the clouds the clouds chase;

And we go,

And we drop like the fruits of the tree,

Even we,

Even so.


They have no song, the sedges dry,

They have no song, the sedges dry,
    And still they sing.
It is within my breast they sing,
    As I pass by.
Within my breast they touch a string,
    They wake a sigh.
There is but sound of sedges dry;
    In me they sing.


The Woods of Westermain

Enter these enchanted woods,

You who dare.

Nothing harms beneath the leaves

More than waves a swimmer cleaves.

Toss your heart up with the lark,

Foot at peace with mouse and worm,

Fair you fare.

Only at a dread of dark

Quaver, and they quit their form:

Thousand eyeballs under hoods

Have you by the hair.

Enter these enchanted woods,

You who dare.

II

Here the snake across your path

Stretches in his golden bath:

Mossy-footed squirrels leap

Soft as winnowing plumes of Sleep:

Yaffles on a chuckle skim

Low to laugh from branches dim:

Up the pine, where sits the star,

Rattles deep the moth-winged jar.

Each has business of his own;

But should you distrust a tone,

Then beware.

Shudder all the haunted roods,

All the eyeballs under hoods

Shroud you in their glare.

Enter these enchanted woods,

You who dare.

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