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Madison Julius Cawein (Мэдисон Джулиус Кавейн)


Lalage


What were sweet life without her
 Who maketh all things sweet
With smiles that dream about her,
 With dreams that come and fleet!
Soft moods that end in languor;
 Soft words that end in sighs;
Curved frownings as of anger;
 Cold silence of her eyes.

Sweet eyes born but for slaying,
 Deep violet-dark and lost
In dreams of whilom Maying
 In climes unstung of frost.
Wild eyes shot through with fire
 God's light in godless years,
Brimmed wine-dark with desire,
 A birth for dreams and tears.

Dear tears as sweet as laughter,
 Low laughter sweet as love
Unwound in ripples after
 Sad tears we knew not of.
What if the day be lawless,
 What if the heart be dead,
Such tears would make it flawless,
 Such laughter make it red.

Lips that were curled for kisses,
 For loves and hates and scorns,
Brows under gold of tresses,
 Brows beauteous as the Morn's.
Imperial locks and tangled
 Down to the graceful hips;
Hair where one might be strangled
 Carousing on thy lips.

Rose-lovely lips that hover
 About the honeyed words,
That slip wild bees from clover
 Whose sweets their sweet affords.
Though days be robbed of sunlight,
 White teeth make light thereof;
Though nights unknown of onelight,
 Thine eyes were stars enough.

Ah, lily-lovely features,
 Round temples, throat, and chin,
Sweet gods of godless natures,
 Sweet love of loveless men!
Still moods and slumberous fanned on
 To dreams that rock to sleep,
Unmerciful abandon,
 That haunts or makes one weep.

She walks as if with sorrows
 And all unknown of joy;
Eyes fixed on dim to-morrows
 That all sad feet decoy.
Yet she, a peer of pleasures,
 Tears from Time's taloned hand
The hour-glass he treasures,
 And wastes its sullen sand.

Makes of all hours a beaker
 Brimmed full of lordly wine,
Cold gold of Life's mad liquor,
 And quaffs to me and mine.
The love on lips grows fairer,
 Keen lights in eyes make wars,
And throat and breast grow rarer
 Than the white-throated stars.

Fleet smiles come fleet and faster
 And web the willing soul;
Warm breasts of alabaster
 Have snared it as a whole.
What then were hell or heaven,
 The fear of heaven or hell!
Lost in the life thus given
 We well might bid farewell.

To leap against thy bosoms!
 Live at thy ardent throat!
Kiss clinging to its blossoms,
 Die kissing and not know't!
Wound in tumultuous tresses
 Pulse like a naked hair,
Held in long hands for kisses,
 And killed and never care.

Clasped limb and marble member,
 Long raven hair with gold,
To dream, forget, remember,
 Grow slowly still and cold.
Feel earth and hell forever
 Remote from thee and me,
Nor strong enough to sever
 Through all eternity.

Feel godlike power for evil
 High throned within the heart,
Should God and hell's arch devil
 Cast dice our souls to part:
Part eyes hot as a jewel,
 Part covering deeps of curl,
Sweet lips as sweet as cruel,
 And limbs of living pearl.

What if in the hereafter
 Our love must weep farewell
'Mid the hoarse, strident laughter
 Of devils deep in hell;
We'll know that all infernal,
 All cactus-growth of time,
Slays not that hour eternal
 That sinned with love to crime.

Love, we could live all tearless,
 Remember and have breath,
Of hell and heaven fearless
 In love more strong than death.
When hope shall be forgotten
 And death be one with both,
Flesh, soul, and spirit rotten
 And wrapped with clay in sloth.

Take comfort, love, remember
 Love chastened with his rod,
And member torn from member
 Would leave him still a god.
Though soul from soul be riven,
 God knows we shall regret!
In hell or highest heaven
 We never can forget!



Madison Julius Cawein's other poems:
  1. Hackelnberg
  2. Kentucky
  3. Pause
  4. Pictured
  5. The Dream of Christ


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