POESY

po·e·sy n. pl. po·e·sies 1. Poetical works; poetry. 2. The art or practice of composing poems. 3. The inspiration involved in composing poetry. [Middle English poesie, from Old French, from Latin posis, from Greek poisis, from poiein, to create; see kwei-2 in Indo-European roots.]

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

St. Patrick's Day



In honor of St. Patrick's day, some Irish poets have their say:


Standish James O'Grady (1846 - 1915)


Lough Bray

Now Memory, false, spendthrift Memory,
Disloyal treasure-keeper of the soul,
This vision change shall never wring from thee
Nor wasteful years, effacing as they roll.
O steel-blue lake, high cradled in the hills!
O sad waves, filled with little sobs and cries!
White glistening shingle, hiss of mountain rills,
And granite-hearted walls blotting the skies,
Shine, sob, gleam, gloom for ever! Oh, in me
Be what you are in Nature--a recess--
To sadness dedicate and mystery,
Withdrawn, afar, in the soul's wilderness.
Still let my thoughts, leaving the worldly roar
Like pilgrims, wander on thy haunted shore.


Elizabeth Mary Little


Life

Ah, Life! that mystery that no man knows,
And all men ask, the Arab from his sands,
The Caesar's self, lifting imperial hands,
And the lone dweller where the lotus blows;
O'er trackless tropics and o'er silent snows
She dumbly broods, that Sphinx of all the lands,
And if she answers no man understands,
And no cry breaks the blank of her repose.

But a new form dawned once upon my pain,
With grave sad lips, yet in the eyes a smile
Of deepest meaning dawning sweet and slow,

Lighting to service, and no more in vain
I ask of Life, "What art thou?" as erewhile,
For since Love holds my hand I seem to know.


Aubrey De Vere (1814 - 1902)


Incompatibility

Forgive me that I love you as I do,
Friend patient long; too patient to reprove
The inconvenience of superfluous love.
You feel that it molests you, and 'tis true.
In a light bark you sit, with a full crew.
Your life full orbed, compelled strange love to meet,
Becomes, by such addition, incomplete:--
Because I love I leave you. O adieu!
Perhaps when I am gone the thought of me
May sometimes be your acceptable guest.
Indeed you love me: but my company
Old time makes tedious; and to part is best.
Not without Nature's will are natures wed:-
O gentle Death, how dear thou makest the dead!


Flowers I Would Bring

Flowers I would bring if flowers could make thee fairer,
And music if the Muse were dear to thee,
(For loving these would make thee love the bearer);
But sweetest songs forget their melody,
And loveliest flowers would but conceal the wearer:
A rose I marked, and might have plucked; but she
Blushed as she bent, imploring me to spare her,
Nor spoil her beauty by such rivalry.
Alas! and with what gifts shall I pursue thee,
What offerings bring, what treasures lay before thee,
When earth with all her floral train doth woo thee,
And all old poets and old songs adore thee,
And love to thee is naught; from passionate mood
Secured by joy's complacent plenitude.


The Mighty Mountain Plains

The mighty mountain plains have we two trod
Both in the glow of sunset and sunrise;
And lighted by the moon of southern skies
The snow-white torrent of the thundering flood
We two have watched together: In the wood
We two have felt the warm tears dim our eyes
While zephyrs softer than an infant's sighs
Ruffled the light air of our solitude.
O Earth, maternal Earth, and thou O Heaven,
And Night first born, who now, e'en now, dost waken
The host of stars, thy constellated train,
Tell me if those can ever be forgiven,
Those abject, who together have partaken
These Sacraments of Nature--and in vain?


The Sun God

I saw the Master of the Sun. He stood
High in his luminous car, himself more bright;
An Archer of immeasurable might
On his left shoulder hung his quivered load
Spurned by his Steeds the eastern mountain glowed
Forward his eager eye, and brow of light
He bent; and, while both hands that arch embowed,
Shaft after shaft pursued the flying Night.
No wings profaned that godlike form: around
His neck high held an ever-moving crowd
Of locks hung glistening: while such perfect sound
Fell from his bowstring, that th'ethereal dome
Thrilled as a dewdrop; and each passing cloud
Expanded, whitening like the ocean foam.



William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)


Sailing To Byzantium
I

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

II

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

III

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

IV

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


A Drinking Song

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.


To Ireland In The Coming Times

Know, that I would accounted be
True brother of a company
That sang, to sweeten Ireland's wrong,
Ballad and story, rann and song;
Nor be I any less of them,
Because the red-rose-bordered hem
Of her, whose history began
Before God made the angelic clan,
Trails all about the written page.
When Time began to rant and rage
The measure of her flying feet
Made Ireland's heart hegin to beat;
And Time bade all his candles flare
To light a measure here and there;
And may the thoughts of Ireland brood
Upon a measured guietude.
Nor may I less be counted one
With Davis, Mangan, Ferguson,
Because, to him who ponders well,
My rhymes more than their rhyming tell
Of things discovered in the deep,
Where only body's laid asleep.
For the elemental creatures go
About my table to and fro,
That hurry from unmeasured mind
To rant and rage in flood and wind,
Yet he who treads in measured ways
May surely barter gaze for gaze.
Man ever journeys on with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem.
Ah, faerics, dancing under the moon,
A Druid land, a Druid tune.!
While still I may, I write for you
The love I lived, the dream I knew.
From our birthday, until we die,
Is but the winking of an eye;
And we, our singing and our love,
What measurer Time has lit above,
And all benighted things that go
About my table to and fro,
Are passing on to where may be,
In truth's consuming ecstasy,
No place for love and dream at all;
For God goes by with white footfall.
I cast my heart into my rhymes,
That you, in the dim coming times,
May know how my heart went with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem.


Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852)


At the Mid Hour of Night

At the mid hour of night, when stars are weeping, I fly
To the lone vale we loved, when life shone warm in thine eye;
And I think oft, if spirits can steal from the regions of air,
To revisit past scenes of delight, thou wilt come to me there,
And tell me our love is remember'd, even in the sky.

Then I sing the wild song 'twas once such pleasure to hear!
When our voices commingling breathed, like one, on the ear;
And, as Echo far off through the vale my said orison rolls,
I think, oh my love! 'tis thy voice from the Kingdom of Souls,
Faintly answering still the notes that once were so dear.


Erin! The Tear and the Smile in Thine Eyes

Erin! the tear and the smile in thine eyes
Blend like the rainbow that hangs in thy skies,
Shining through sorrow's stream,
Saddening through pleasure's beam,
Thy suns with doubtful gleam,
Weep while they rise.

Erin, thy silent tear never shall cease,
Erin, thy languid smile ne'er shall increase,
Till, like the rainbow's light,
Thy various tints unite,
And form in heaven's sight
One arch of peace!


Oh, the Shamrock

Through Erin's Isle
To sport awhile
As Love and Valour wander'd,
With Wit, the sprite,
Whose quiver bright
A thousand arrows squander'd;
Where'er they pass,
A triple grass
Shoots up, with dew-drops streaming,
As softly green
As emeralds seen
Through purest crystal gleaming.
Oh the Shamrock, the green, immortal Shamrock!
Chosen leaf
Of Bard and Chief,
Old Erin's native Shamrock!

Says Valour, "See,
They spring for me,
Those leafy gems of morning!" --
Says Love, "No, no,
For me they grow,
My fragrant path adorning."
But Wit perceives
The triple leaves,
And cries, "Oh! do not sever
A type that blends
Three godlike friends,
Love, Valour, Wit, for ever!"
Oh, the Shamrock, the green, immortal Shamrock!
Chosen leaf, etc.

So firmly fond
May last the bond
They wove that morn together,
And ne'er may fall
One drop of gall
On Wit's celestial feather.
May Love, as twine
His flowers divine,
Of thorny falsehood weed 'em:
May Valour ne'er
His standard rear
Against the cause of Freedom!
Oh the Shamrock, the green, immortal Shamrock!
Chosen leaf, etc.



Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)


Sonnet To Liberty

These are the letters which Endymion wrote
To one he loved in secret, and apart.
And now the brawlers of the auction mart
Bargain and bid for each poor blotted note,
Ay! for each separate pulse of passion quote
The merchant's price. I think they love not art
Who break the crystal of a poet's heart
That small and sickly eyes may glare and gloat.

Is it not said that many years ago,
In a far Eastern town, some soldiers ran
With torches through the midnight, and began
To wrangle for mean raiment, and to throw
Dice for the garments of a wretched man,
Not knowing the God's wonder, or His woe?


LA MER

A white mist drifts across the shrouds,
A wild moon in this wintry sky
Gleams like an angry lion's eye
Out of a mane of tawny clouds.

The muffled steersman at the wheel
Is but a shadow in the gloom; -
And in the throbbing engine-room
Leap the long rods of polished steel.

The shattered storm has left its trace
Upon this huge and heaving dome,
For the thin threads of yellow foam
Float on the waves like ravelled lace.


My Voice

Within this restless, hurried, modern world
We took our hearts' full pleasure - You and I,
And now the white sails of our ship are furled,
And spent the lading of our argosy.

Wherefore my cheeks before their time are wan,
For very weeping is my gladness fled,
Sorrow has paled my young mouth's vermilion,
And Ruin draws the curtains of my bed.

But all this crowded life has been to thee
No more than lyre, or lute, or subtle spell
Of viols, or the music of the sea
That sleeps, a mimic echo, in the shell.


Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745)


The Progress of Poetry

The Farmer's Goose, who in the Stubble,
Has fed without Restraint, or Trouble;
Grown fat with Corn and Sitting still,
Can scarce get o'er the Barn-Door Sill:
And hardly waddles forth, to cool
Her Belly in the neighb'ring Pool:
Nor loudly cackles at the Door;
For Cackling shews the Goose is poor.

But when she must be turn'd to graze,
And round the barren Common strays,
Hard Exercise, and harder Fare
Soon make my Dame grow lank and spare:
Her Body light, she tries her Wings,
And scorns the Ground, and upward springs,
While all the Parish, as she flies,
Hear Sounds harmonious from the Skies.

Such is the Poet, fresh in Pay,
(The third Night's Profits of his Play;)
His Morning-Draughts 'till Noon can swill,
Among his Brethren of the Quill:
With good Roast Beef his Belly full,
Grown lazy, foggy, fat, and dull:
Deep sunk in Plenty, and Delight,
What Poet e'er could take his Flight?
Or stuff'd with Phlegm up to the Throat,
What Poet e'er could sing a Note?
Nor Pegasus could bear the Load,
Along the high celestial Road;
The Steed, oppress'd, would break his Girth,
To raise the Lumber from the Earth.

But, view him in another Scene,
When all his Drink is Hippocrene,
His Money spent, his Patrons fail,
His Credit out for Cheese and Ale;
His Two-Year's Coat so smooth and bare,
Through ev'ry Thread it lets in Air;
With hungry Meals his Body pin'd,
His Guts and Belly full of Wind;
And, like a Jockey for a Race,
His Flesh brought down to Flying-Case:
Now his exalted Spirit loaths
Incumbrances of Food and Cloaths;
And up he rises like a Vapour,
Supported high on Wings of Paper;
He singing flies, and flying sings,
While from below all Grub-street rings


A Satirical Elegy
On the Death of a Late FAMOUS GENERAL

His Grace! impossible! what dead!
Of old age, too, and in his bed!
And could that Mighty Warrior fall?
And so inglorious, after all!
Well, since he's gone, no matter how,
The last loud trump must wake him now:
And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger,
He'd wish to sleep a little longer.
And could he be indeed so old
As by the news-papers we're told?
Threescore, I think, is pretty high;
'Twas time in conscience he should die.
This world he cumber'd long enough;
He burnt his candle to the snuff;
And that's the reason, some folks think,
He left behind so great a stink.
Behold his funeral appears,
Nor widow's sighs, nor orphan's tears,
Wont at such times each heart to pierce,
Attend the progress of his hearse.
But what of that, his friends may say,
He had those honours in his day.
True to his profit and his pride,
He made them weep before he dy'd.
Come hither, all ye empty things,
Ye bubbles rais'd by breath of Kings;
Who float upon the tide of state,
Come hither, and behold your fate.
Let pride be taught by this rebuke,
How very mean a thing's a Duke;
From all his ill-got honours flung,
Turn'd to that dirt from whence he sprung.


--Cat

Thursday, January 25, 2018

January 25 – Robbie Burns Day!

A favorite Burns poem [originally posted in 2006].


To A Mouse, On Turning Her up in Her Nest With the Plough

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie,
O what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request:
I'll get a blessin' wi' the lave,
And never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin':
And naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin'
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste
An' weary winter comin' fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till, crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o'
leaves an' stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble
An' cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.

Still thou art blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But, oh! I backward cast my e'e
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,I guess an' fear!

-- Robert Burns 1785


– Cat

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas 2017

[originally posted December 18, 2007]
 

 I can't resist the older classics, and a new one I came across--


Voices in the Mist
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The time draws near the birth of Christ:
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound:

Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.



Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’



I found the following poem on a website by poet NicholasGordon
who offers free use of his vast body of work.


Evidence of Paradise


by Nicholas Gordon

Evidence of paradise
Veils its rainbowed wings,
Enters life like one of us,
Like spirit wrapped in things.
Yet angels sing in Bethlehem
No more than in Mobile,
And kings careen through Rocky Mount
No less than through Jezreel.
Dream, then, of the bitter wind,
Nights for which one yearns
In sorrow and unsullied joy,
Child on whom life turns,
Older than the universe,
Love haunting, hurting, healing, worse,
An anguished joy one can't reverse
So long as blood still burns.


Peace

--Cat

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

August 8 - Sarah Teasdale

[first posted on August 8, 2007]






Sara Teasdale August 8, 1884- January 29, 1933

American lyric poet, born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her delicate, personal poetry often deals with love, death, disillusionment, and also the beauties of the natural world. She ended her life by suicide at the age of 48.

Some of Sara Teasdale's poems:

Longing

I am not sorry for my soul
That it must go unsatisfied,
For it can live a thousand times,
Eternity is deep and wide.

I am not sorry for my soul,
But oh, my body that must go
Back to a little drift of dust
Without the joy it longed to know.


Immortal

So soon my body will have gone
Beyond the sound and sight of men,
And tho' it wakes and suffers now,
Its sleep will be unbroken then;
But oh, my frail immortal soul
That will not sleep forevermore,
A leaf borne onward by the blast,
A wave that never finds the shore.


If Death Is Kind

Perhaps if Death is kind, and there can be returning,
We will come back to earth some fragrant night,
And take these lanes to find the sea, and bending
Breathe the same honeysuckle, low and white.

We will come down at night to these resounding beaches
And the long gentle thunder of the sea,
Here for a single hour in the wide starlight
We shall be happy, for the dead are free.


Barter

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things;
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up,
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell;
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And, for the Spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Give all you have for loveliness;
Buy it, and never count the cost!
For one white, singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost;
And for a breath of ecstasy,
Give all you have been, or could be.


At Midnight

Now at last I have come to see what life is,
Nothing is ever ended, everything only begun,
And the brave victories that seem so splendid
Are never really won.

Even love that I built my spirit's house for,
Comes like a brooding and a baffled guest,
And music and men's praise and even laughter
Are not so good as rest.


-- Cat

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 22 – Emma Lazarus



                 Emma Lazarus  July 22, 1849 – November 19, 1887

New York born  American Jewish poet best known for "The New Colossus" written in 1883. In 1912 the lines from her poem were used on a bronze plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. 




    1492 by Emma Lazarus
                              

    Thou two-faced year, Mother of Change and Fate,
    Didst weep when Spain cast forth with flaming sword,
    The children of the prophets of the Lord,
    Prince, priest, and people, spurned by zealot hate.
    Hounded from sea to sea, from state to state,
    The West refused them, and the East abhorred.
    No anchorage the known world could afford,
    Close-locked was every port, barred every gate.
    Then smiling, thou unveil'dst, O two-faced year,
    A virgin world where doors of sunset part,
    Saying, "Ho, all who weary, enter here!
    There falls each ancient barrier that the art
    Of race or creed or rank devised, to rear
    Grim bulwarked hatred between heart and heart!"




    Autumn Sadness by Emma Lazarus

               
    Air and sky are swathed in gold
    Fold on fold,
    Light glows through the trees like wine.
    Earth, sun-quickened, swoons for bliss
    'Neath his kiss,
    Breathless in a trance divine.

    Nature pauses from her task,
    Just to bask
    In these lull'd transfigured hours.
    The green leaf nor stays nor goes,
    But it grows
    Royaler than mid-June's flowers.

    Such impassioned silence fills
    All the hills
    Burning with unflickering fire-
    Such a blood-red splendor stains
    The leaves' veins,
    Life seems one fulfilled desire.

    While earth, sea, and heavens shine,
    Heart of mine,
    Say, what art thou waiting for?
    Shall the cup ne'er reach the lip,
    But still slip
    Till the life-long thirst give o'er?

    Shall my soul, no frosts may tame,
    Catch new flame
    From the incandescent air?
    In this nuptial joy apart,
    Oh my heart,
    Whither shall we lonely fare?
   
    Seek some dusky, twilight spot,
    Quite forgot
    Of the Autumn's Bacchic fire.
    Where soft mists and shadows sleep,
    There outweep
    Barren longing's vain desire.




    Idyl by Emma Lazarus
                             
    The swallows made twitter incessant,
    The thrushes were wild with their mirth.
    The ways and the woods were made pleasant,
    And the flowering nooks of the earth.
    And the sunshine sufficed to rejoice me,
    And the air was as bracing as wine,
    And the sky and the shadows and grasses
    Were enough to make living divine.

    Then I saw on the ground two gray robins,
    One with glorious flame-colored vest,
    'Neath the shade of some delicate bluebells,
    By the breeze of the morning caressed.
    They were singing of love in the shadow;
    She was bashful, and modest, and coy,
    And he sang to her tenderest love-songs,
    And madrigals full of his joy.

    And his song came forth clearer and clearer,
    With each passionate, musical note;
    Like the ripple of silvery waters,
    It gushed from his beautiful throat.
    His whole little bird-soul he offers,—
    Ah! she listens to him as he sings:
    Then he ceases, awaiting her answer,
    With bright eyes and with quivering wings.

    And I, too, stood awaiting it, breathless,
    For his song was too sweet to disdain,
    Till it came, little notes full of gladness,
    With a plaintive and tender refrain.
    And the songs died away in the distance,
    And the forest alone heard the rest,
    As the two little lovers flew upward,
    To build them together a nest.




    Morning by Emma Lazarus


    GRAY-VESTED Dawn, with flameless, tranquil eye,
    Cool hands, and dewy lips, is in the sky,
    A sober nun, with starry rosary.

    With eyes downcast and with uplifted palm,
    She seems to whisper now her silent psalm;
    Beneath her gaze the sleeping earth is calm.

    Her prayer is ended, and she riseth slow,
    And o'er the hills she quietly doth go,
    Noiseless and gentle as the midnight snow.

    Then suddenly the pale-east blushes red,
    The flowers to see upraise a sleepy head,
    The rosy colors deepen, grow, and spread.

    A cool breeze whispers: 'She is coming now!'
    And then the radiant colors burn and glow,
    The white cast blushes over cheek and brow,

    And glorious on the hills the Morning stands,
    Her saffron hair back-blown from rosy bands,
    And light and joy and fragrance in her hands.

    Her foot has touched the hill-tops, and they shine;
    She comes,— the willow rustles and the pine;
    She smiles upon the fields a smile divine,

    And all the earth smiles back; from mount to vale,
    From oak to shuddering grass, from glen to dale,
    Wet fields and flowers and glistening brooks cry
    'Hail!'


                               

    Song by Emma Lazarus
                              

    Venus.

    Frosty lies the winter-landscape,
    In the twilight golden-green.
    Down the Park's deserted alleys,
    Naked elms stand stark and lean.

    Dumb the murmur of the fountain,
    Birds have flown from lawn and hill.
    But while yonder star's ascendant,
    Love triumphal reigneth still.

    See the keen flame throb and tremble,
    Brightening in the darkening night,
    Breathing like a thing of passion,
    In the sky's smooth chrysolite.

    Not beneath the moon, oh lover,
    Thou shalt gain thy heart's desire.
    Speak to-night! The gods are with thee
    Burning with a kindred fire.

     

–– Cat
     



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