Her kisses are sharp buds of fire; and I burn back against her, a jewel

Hard and white; a stalked, flaming flower; till I break to

a handful of cinders,

And open my eyes to the scarf, shining blue in the afternoon sunshine.

How loud clocks can tick when a room is empty, and one is alone!

White and Green

Hey! My daffodil-crowned,

Slim and without sandals!

As the sudden spurt of flame upon darkness

So my eyeballs are startled with you,

Supple-limbed youth among the fruit-trees,

Light runner through tasselled orchards.

You are an almond flower unsheathed

Leaping and flickering between the budded branches.


As I would free the white almond from the green husk

So would I strip your trappings off,


And fingering the smooth and polished kernel

I should see that in my hands glittered a gem beyond counting.


The neighbour sits in his window and plays the flute.

From my bed I can hear him,

And the round notes flutter and tap about the room,

And hit against each other,

Blurring to unexpected chords.

It is very beautiful,

With the little flute-notes all about me,

In the darkness.

In the daytime,

The neighbour eats bread and onions with one hand

And copies music with the other.

He is fat and has a bald head,

So I do not look at him,

But run quickly past his window.

There is always the sky to look at,

Or the water in the well!

But when night comes and he plays his flute,

I think of him as a young man,

With gold seals hanging from his watch,

And a blue coat with silver buttons.

As I lie in my bed

The flute-notes push against my ears and lips,

And I go to sleep, dreaming.

A Lady

You are beautiful and faded

Like an old opera tune

Played upon a harpsichord;

Or like the sun-flooded silks

Of an eighteenth-century boudoir.

In your eyes

Smoulder the fallen roses of out-lived minutes,

And the perfume of your soul

Is vague and suffusing,

With the pungence of sealed spice-jars.

Your half-tones delight me,

And I grow mad with gazing

At your blent colours.

My vigour is a new-minted penny,

Which I cast at your feet.

Gather it up from the dust,

That its sparkle may amuse you.

In a Garden

Gushing from the mouths of stone men

To spread at ease under the sky

In granite-lipped basins,

Where iris dabble their feet

And rustle to a passing wind,

The water fills the garden with its rushing,

In the midst of the quiet of close-clipped lawns.

Damp smell the ferns in tunnels of stone,

Where trickle and plash the fountains,

Marble fountains, yellowed with much water.

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