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Hilltop: A Literary Paper. Volume 1 Number 1

Alistair Campbell

page 16

Alistair Campbell


Evening through the gorge,
And my lover steps through the ladened
Orchard trees
As easily as a breeze.

Through the green rain
Of her frock, her white flesh shows
Like flowers
Discerned through running glass.

Her legs are long and lonely . .
The peaches fall in the wind spilling
Gold-white flesh,
Like the crushed hands of girls.

Her flower-pale hair falling
Across her shoulders, attracts the wind
That casts
A shadow of honey on her brow.

Her sex is a swarm of bees
In the bruised rose of her belly. There
In a golden hive
The wild Love keeps his ease.

A breeze descends from the hill,
And wakes in her throat the palaver of birds:
She herself
Is a song uttered by evening

In the jewelled ear of night.
I wait for her, here as always . .
She has seen me:
And O, she runs, she runs.

The Girl at the Library

You are as beautiful as a tree that grows
Close to a railroad, once glimpsed by one
Whom much travel greyed to the bone;
And which he remembers all his life
In dreams, or whenever his train grinds
Steaming to a halt at some bone-bare siding
For water, where the white heat rises
Out of the brilliant plain, and a tree grows
Cool among stones and is very beautiful,
But is not and cannot be the same.

Warm heart, warm mouth,
Lie still, lie beautiful.
You have no need to stir
Anymore, to-day;
You have no other function to fulfil.

Was it like this you
Lay, cool in your frock,
When your lover came
And kissed you
In the grass, and you lay still as a rock ?

Is this white hand
A dove, that the small
Wind seems to lift it from
The grass, lady
In the frock that half from the shoulder falls?

Are your eyes flowers?
Do they call you Rose,
May or Elizabeth ? And are
Your limbs always
So white they show like snowflakes upon grass?

Warm heart, warm mouth,
Lie still; lie beautiful.
You have no need to stir
Anymore, to-day;
You have no other function to fulfil.

Because beauty passes,
And other men bearing
Of your beauty, would not,
Or could not believe
Even if they tried,
You are so beautiful,
I wonder what's the price
To keep green the image
Of your memory; and who
Would not think me foolish
Supposing I paid the price.

page 17

I will remember this day as childhood
Its first birthday, or a man grown old
With despair, some one not perfect nor good,
But who once poured into life's dull mould
Her special sweetness; as a girl in love,
Hurt into great beauty in her lover's arms
Remembers her girlhood with tears wrung out of
Anguish and of joy.
Out of the night's alarms
You came into my life like the morning star.
Not time, nor rage, nor hate, nor bitterness,
Nor great wrongs done in passion's name, shall scar
The pure white of that remembered loveliness.


Meeting my childhood love one day in magnicent
August, at the time when tree is wooed into leaf
And conjuring pond surprises the world with lilies
And wise-cracking ducks, when the green graminivorous
Sun releases snow-fettered hills

Into a myriad field-wandering trespassing streams,
Her face—the shape of my heart, her mouth——
The guileless texture of a blackbird's song,
I hardly knew her for the frock she wore
Of the colour of August, and her body

Loose as the wind-delighting poplar tree; stepping
So gaily out like a word from the cool white
Language of girls, my name so warm on her lips,
And the day so rare, that from the cave-cool
Band rotunda, sweet sexual music

Straddled the wind-ruffled lake and excited
The inhibited swan and drove him crazy;
And O, through foam of alder and cherry trees,
The sparrows tumbled bewitched with song. with song:
—That love did not come to anything.


Easily you move; and easily as a tree
To the first small wind of March
Lets loose its blossoms, you sing, you sing.
Your golden rain of hair

Drifts between bare towers; and stone
Grows human where your cool hands
Nestle like birds. O love, nowhere
Have skies been frailer

Than the breathing moon of your great
Splendour; frailer than are the white breasts
Of first love, or the dove-borne limbs
Of her who rose glittering

Out of the white-fiery spray like a rainbow.
Lie still, lie still; for when you stir
Upon me, the air about you aches
As if with pearl-white birds

Come home from summer seas. Your heart
Is a pearl in my hand that weeps
When I touch you; and when I turn away
Shadows your brow like mist

On mirrors. But when we kiss, sunlight
Comes easily, breeding from foreheads
Forgetful waters, lighting cold
Hands that winter

Humbled on stone. Then somewhere
Along your limbs a well opens,
O drawing me down to waters where
My hands lie drowned.

For Bill Mabbett

Dressed in green she came, and like
A tulip leaned her head against

The door and looked at me. Her hand
Lay cool as a stone against her dress;

And her sandled feet showed white
As a pair of doves on the grass.

She did not stir, but wanted me
To speak to her.

Her words were lilies
On a green stem the small wind shakes.