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Collected Poems

Winter Night

page 90

Winter Night

The candles gutter and burn out,
and warm and snug we take our ease,
and faintly comes the wind's great shout
as he assails the frozen trees.

The vague walls of this little room
contract and close upon the soul;
deep silence hangs amid the gloom;
no sound but the small voice of the coal.

Here in this sheltered firelit place
we know not wind nor shivering tree;
we two alone inhabit space,
locked in our small infinity.

This is our world, where love enfolds
all images of joy, all strife
resolves in peace: this moment holds
within its span the sum of life.

For Time's a ghost: these reddening coals
were forest once ere he'd begun,
and now from dark and timeless boles
we take the harvest of the sun;

and still the flower-lit solitudes
are radiant with the springs he stole
where violets in those buried woods
wake little blue flames in the coal.

Great stars may shine above this thatch;
beyond these walls perchance are men
with laws and dreams: but our thin latch
holds all such things beyond our ken.

The fire now lights our cloudy walls,
now fails beneath the singing pot,
and as the last flame leaps and falls
the far wall is and then is not.

Now lovelier than firelight is the gleam
of dying embers, and your face
shines through the pathways of my dream
like young leaves in a forest place.