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MONRO, Harold


Living

Slow bleak awakening from the morning dream

Brings me in contact with the sudden day.

I am alive – this I.

I let my fingers move along my body.

Realization warns them, and my nerves

Prepare their rapid messages and signals.

While Memory begins recording, coding,

Repeating; all the time Imagination

Mutters: You'll only die.

Here's a new day. O Pendulum move slowly!

My usual clothes are waiting on their peg.

I am alive – this I.

And in a moment Habit, like a crane,

Will bow its neck and dip its pulleyed cable,

Gathering me, my body, and our garment,

And swing me forth, oblivious of my question,

Into the daylight – why?

I think of all the others who awaken,

And wonder if they go to meet the morning

More valiantly than I;

Nor asking of this Day they will be living:

What have I done that I should be alive?

O, can I not forget that I am living?

How shall I reconcile the two conditions:

Living, and yet – to die?


Between the curtains the autumnal sunlight

With lean and yellow finger points me out;

The clock moans: Why? Why? Why?

But suddenly, as if without a reason,

Heart, Brain, and Body, and Imagination

All gather in tumultuous joy together,

Running like children down the path of morning

To fields where they can play without a quarrel:

A country I'd forgotten, but remember,

And welcome with a cry.

O cool glad pasture; living tree, tall corn,

Great cliff, or languid sloping sand, cold sea,

Waves; rivers curving; you, eternal flowers,

Give me content, while I can think of you:

Give me your living breath!

Back to your rampart, Death.


The Nightingale Near The House

Here is the soundless cypress on the lawn:

It listens, listens. Taller trees beyond

Listen. The moon at the unruffled pond

Stares. And you sing, you sing.


That star-enchanted song falls through the air

From lawn to lawn down terraces of sound,

Darts in white arrows on the shadowed ground;

And all the night you sing.


My dreams are flowers to which you are a bee

As all night long I listen, and my brain

Receives your song, then loses it again

In moonlight on the lawn.


Now is your voice a marble high and white,

Then like a mist on fields of paradise,

Now is a raging fire, then is like ice,

Then breaks, and it is dawn.