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Poem by Stephen Phillips


The Apparition


1.  
 
MY dead Love came to me, and said:      
    God gives me one hours rest,      
To spend upon the earth with thee:      
    How shall we spend it best?      
     
Why as of old, I said, and so      
    We quarrelled as of old.      
But when I turned to make my peace,      
    That one short hour was told.      
 
2.  
     
NINE nights she did not come to me      
    The heaven was filled with rain;      
And as it fell, and fell, I said,      
    She will not come again.      
     
Last night she came, not as before,      
    But in a strange attire;      
Weary she seemed, and very faint,      
    As though she came from fire.      
 
3.      
     
SHE is not happy! It was noon;      
    The sun fell on my head:      
And it was not an hour in which      
    We think upon the dead.      
     
She is not happy! I should know      
    Her voice, much more her cry;      
And close beside me a great rose      
    Had just begun to die.      
     
She is not happy! As I walked,      
    Of her I was aware:      
She cried out, like a creature hurt,      
    Close by me in the air.      
 
4.     
      
UNDER the trembling summer stars,      
    I turned from side to side;      
When she came in and sat with me,      
    As though she had not died.      
 
And she was kind to me and sweet,      
    She had her ancient way;      
Remembered how I liked her hand      
    Amid my hair to stray.   
      
She had forgotten nothing, yet      
    Older she seemed, and still:      
All quietly she took my kiss,      
    Even as a mother will.      
      
She rose, and in the streak of dawn      
    She turned as if to go:      
But then again came back to me;      
    My eyes implored her so!      
      
She pushed the hair from off my brow,      
    And looked into my eyes.      
I live in calm, she said, and there      
    Am learning to be wise.      
 
Why grievest thou? I pity thee      
        Still turning on this bed.      
And art thou happy? I exclaimed.      
    Alas! she sighed, and fled.      
 
5. 
      
I WOKE: she had been standing by,      
    With wonder on her face.      
She came toward me, very bright,      
    As from a blessed place.      
 
She touched me not, but smiling spoke,      
    And softly as before.      
They gave me drink from some slow stream;      
    I love thee now no more.      
 
6.     
     
THE other night she hurried in,      
    Her face was wild with fear:      
Old friend, she said, I am pursued,      
    May I take refuge here?   



Stephen Phillips


Stephen Phillips's other poems:
  1. The Kaiser and Belgium
  2. Poems
  3. Orestes
  4. To a Lost Love
  5. The Shirker


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