Poems by Muriel Stuart Part 5

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Poems by Muriel Stuart is a Webnovel created by Muriel Stuart.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

Where the great winds go up

To the hushed peak whose shadow fills The air with silence calm and wide– She lives, the Dian of the hills, And the streams course beside.

TO —-

Between two common days this day was hung When Love went to the ending that was his; His seamless robe was rent, his brow was wrung, He took at last the sponge’s bitter kiss.

A simple day the dawn had watched unfold Before the night had borne the death of love; You took the bread I blessed, and love was sold Upon your lips, and paid the price thereof.

I changed then, as when soul from body slips, And casts its pa.s.sion and its pain aside; I pledged you with most spiritual lips, And gave you hands that you had crucified.

You who betrayed, kissed, crucified, forgot, You walked with Christ, poor fool, and knew it not!

FOR FASTING DAYS.

Are you my songs, importunate of praise?

Be still, remember for your comforting That sweeter birds have had less leave to sing Before men piped them from their lonely ways.

Greener leaves than yours are lost in every spring Rubies far redder thrust their eager rays Into the blindfold dark for many days Before men chose them for a finger-ring.

Sing as you dare, not as men choose, receive not The pa.s.sing fashion’s prize, for dole or due– Men’s summer-sweet unrecognition–grieve not: Oh, stoop not to them! Better far that you Should go unsung than sing as you believe not, Should go uncrowned than to yourselves untrue.

THE FATHER.

The evening found us whom the day had fled, Once more in bitter anger, you and I, Over some small, some foolish, trivial thing Our anger would not decently let die.

But dragged between us, shamed and shivering, Until each other’s taunts we scarcely heard, Until we lost the sense of all we said, And knew not who first spoke the fatal word.

It seemed that even every kiss we wrung We killed at birth with shuddering and hate, As if we feared a thing too pa.s.sionate.

However close we clung One hour, the next hour found us separate, Estranged, and Love most bitter on our tongue.

To-night we quarrelled over one small head, Our fruit of last year’s maying, the white bud Blown from our stormy kisses and the dead First rapture of our wild, estranging blood.

You clutched him: there was panther in your eyes, We breathed like beasts in thickets; on the wall Our shadows swelled as in huge tyrannies, The room grew dark with anger, yet through all The shame and hurt and pity of it you were Still strangely and imperishably dear, As one who loves the wild day none the less That turns to naught the lilac’s miracle, Breaking the unrecapturable spell Of the first may-tree, magic and mystery Utterly scattering of earth and sky.

Making even the rose’s loveliness A thing for pain to be remembered by.

I said: “My son shall wear his father’s sword.”

You said: “Shall hands once blossoms at my breast Be stained with blood?” I answered with a word More bitter, and your own, the bitterest, Stung me to sullen anger, and I said: “My son shall be no coward of his line Because his mother choose”; you turned your head, And your eyes grew implacable on mine.

And like a trodden snake you turned to meet The foe with sudden hissing … then you smiled And broke our life in pieces at my feet, “Your child?” you said. “_Your_ child?” …

ANDROMEDA UNFETTERED.

ANDROMEDA (the spirit of woman).

PERSEUS (the new spirit of man).

CHORUS (1) Women who desire the old thrall.

(2) Women who crave the new freedom.

The following poem is not a study of the economic struggle of women, but of the deep-rooted antagonism of spirit which const.i.tutes the eternal s.e.x-problem.

ANDROMEDA.

Chained to the years by the measureless wrong of man, Here I hang, here I suffer, here I cry, Since the light sprang forth from the dark, and the day began; Since the sky was sundered and saved from the sea, And the mouth of the beast was warm on the breast of the sod, And the birds’ feet glittered like rings on the blossoming tree, And the rivers ran silver with scales, and the earth was thronged With creatures lovely and wild and sane and free; Till the Image of G.o.d arose from the dust and trod Woman and beast and bird into slavery.

Who has wronged me? Man who all earth has wronged: Who has mocked me? Man, who made mock of G.o.d.

CHORUS OF FIRST WOMEN.

Nay, what do you seek?

If of men we be chained, Our chains be of gold, If the fetters we break What conquest is gained?

Shall the hill-top outspread a pavilion more safe than our palaces hold?

Without toil we are fed, We have gold to our hire, We have kings at our thrall, And made smooth is our bed For the fools of desire.

We falter the world with our eyelids, at our laughter men scatter and fall.

What is freedom but danger, And death and disaster?

We are safe: Fool, to crave The unknown, the stranger!

More fettered the back than the burden; man bows; he is slave to a slave!

ANDROMEDA.

Yes, in most bitter waters have they drowned My spirit, and my soul grows grey on sleep!

What if with wreaths my empty hands are bound?

I am slave for all their roses, and I keep A tryst with cunning, and a troth with tears.

Time has kissed out my lips, and I am dumb.

I am so long called fool, I am become That fool–of street or shrine. My body bears Burden of men and children. I have been All that man has desired or dreamed of me.

I have trodden a double-weary way–with Sin, Or with Sin’s pale, cold sister Chast.i.ty.

I am a thing of twilight. I am afraid.

Dull now and tame now; of myself so shamed.

Fortressed against redemption; visited Of the old dream so seldom, as things tamed Forget the life that their wild brother leads.

I am a hurt beast flinching at the light.

I have been palaced from the sun, and night Runs in my blood, and all night’s blushless deeds!

CHORUS OF SECOND WOMEN.

Oh world so blind, so dumb to our desiring,– To the vague cry and clamour of our being!

Oh world so dark to our supreme aspiring,– To the pitiful strange travail of our freeing!

We weary not for love and lips to love us; These have been ours too often and too long; We have been hived too close; too sweet above us Tastes the bee’s mouth to our honey-wearied tongue.

Not love, not love! Love was our first undoing, We have lived too long on heart-beats. None can tame The mind’s new hunger, famished and pursuing, Unleashed, and crying its oppressor’s name.

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