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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1931


page 27


Tell me where, the watcher said,
Sleep has lain her lovely head,

In what Botticellian grove
Lies she with my fickle love,

On his bosom her dark hair,
Twisting like a thrush's snare,

Or a willow Ethiope,
Drooping, stirred by windy hope

Of passion deeper than that stream—
Murky as a sabbot dream—

That murky and unpurging, long
And evil river of quiet song,

Where she stoops through the long day
To watch her black leaves twirl away.

* * * *

I have toiled from star to star,
Seeking where those lovers are,

Swinging in my hungry hand
Lantern moon from land to land,

Now beneath this olive tree
Whose shade casts sadness over me,

In this land whose contours seem
A primitive Italian dream

Of tilted, unperspective glade
And grave, undappled light and shade

I ease my star-bruised, mortal feet
And hark to the nepenthe sweet

And voiceless song that silence sings
Swooping past on gentle wings.

Silence only sings. No bird
In the petit-point wood is heard,

And the calm ghosts that walk this ground
Go noiselessly. They make no sound;

While poets dead in the dead vale
Lament the earthly nightingale.

* * * *

I can no further go; but here,
Where twilight covers the long year,

I'll draw a rain-cloud round my head
—Sad mortal, strayed among the dead—

And for my sleep-rapt love I'll make
Lament. He will no more awake.

—Antonietta McGrath.