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Poem by Bessie Rayner Parkes


'TIS dark, and I fancy
A ring at the bell,--
My heart leapeth up
With a throb and a swell;
Is it a footstep
Away in the street,--
Or only the sound
Of my own heart's beat?

Silence is living
And breathes in my ear;
Twilight is long
In this Spring of the year:
Still she is lingering,
Tender and wan;--
Deeper--and deeper!
Now she is gone!

Brooding alone
With my head on my hand;
Watching the fall
Of the fast-flowing sand,
The sand which falls ever
When others drop tears,
To measure the fall
Of my fast-flowing years;--

Brooding alone
With my eyes on the fire,
The tick of the clock
Rises higher and higher;
Nervously catching
The beat of my breast,
And changing its note
Like a creature possessed.

Articulate meanings
It struggles to speak,
Ere one can catch them
They shiver and break;--
My books on the shelf,
And my prints on the wall,
A fantastical goblin
Makes sport of them all!

My shadow is dancing,
The thing that is I
Comes nearer, grows larger
In wavering by:
I think it will utter
My thought or my name,
Seizing something of life
In this flickering flame!

I seem to be wrapped
In the shadow of Death;
To tremble and faint
At the ice of its breath;
I know not whence comes it,
What name it deserves,
Of God or the Devil,
Or only the nerves!

But if he would come
It would vanish away,
He would call back my soul
With the warm voice of day;
The fear and the terror,
They could not abide;
I know he is true
When he sits by my side.

He will bring the new book,
He will bring the new thought,
He will leave me the richer
For all he has brought;
He will fill my heart fuller,
And widen its scope,
And leave me for comfort
Both memory and hope.

The dread is recoiling,
There's health in the air,
The clock strikes the hour,
I awake!--I am--where?--
In the land of the Living,
Where happy hearts be,
And, oh! 'tis my love
Who is coming to me!

Bessie Rayner Parkes

Bessie Rayner Parkes's other poems:
  1. The Old Chateau
  2. Rome
  3. On a Group of Justice and Charity
  4. A Midsummer NightТs Dream
  5. The Mersey and the Irwell

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Katherine Mansfield Firelight ("Playing in the fire and twilight together")

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