Five sonnets of contemplation.
A continuation of Five sonnets of erstwhile joy, Five sonnets of vanity.
What fortune you have had to be yourself,
Not someone of a lesser, rougher mold,
That men may want you, as from a high-off shelf,
Without requiring you allow their hold
Before themselves committing to your cause.
If twenty hairs that crown you lost their place,
Then all your good would fade behind your flaws;
For in you now, your virtues leave no trace
That we may see without pain to our eyes –
Long have I searched – more prominent your features
Are, they being what they judge you by,
Instead of what makes one a noble creature:
If nymphs had not so formed your awesome head,
Your outside would show through to thoughts of lead.
I once remember looking on a hill
In dead of winter, seeing it untrod,
And glad, for it has only boded only ill
When unexpecting strata of the sod
Have had to bear your presence, ever slight,
Yet no less strenuous than Atlas' burden.
And without you, the hill appeared so bright! –
How wonderful the field that no one stirred in!
But in the next moment, there appeared your mien
Above the grass – a somewhat different guise,
Yet not enough to fool me, who had seen
Your image – true, before, and otherwise –
Indelible so long as it shall stay
To turn glad winter into summery gray.
As there I stood encircled by the trees,
Deep in the bosom of amnesiac woods,
My mind could free itself of all with ease,
And fix on life alone – not on bad, on good,
On beauty or on ugliness – just life.
I tried to stop all things to classify,
For placing things apart gives light to strife,
And muddies further that morass in me
I call my mind (with none around to hear).
What is your purpose? where do you belong?
Here at my side, or no? This far? that near?
I ask, yet every answer turns out wrong,
As of you I can never cease to think,
For which my hopes of peace begin to sink.
Afflicted by the wariest of states,
I rub my eyes, for I seem to see transformed
The natural laws that make us hesitate
To creatures of your own, by you adorned:
A golden scepter in your ivory hand
That even your majesty did not expect.
Subjects unknowing come from all the land,
And all but me, immobile, genuflect.
Although your fiat bids me stay content
And not disturb the princess in my sights,
Know longings shall return once elsewhere sent;
Poor queen – I must surrender to my frights,
While for the sake of inclarities I toil,
Though afraid I'll render things confounded royal.
In mythic hours you have shown me glimpses
To your insides, that shine like suns beside
Your other actions; prime among these hints is
Capacity for love you have, but hide;
And you and you alone can know what for!
You shield me from these visions I have sought:
Mundanities you force me to endure,
In girlish circumvention to you taught
By others in the know, but who have known
When openness is best, when to stay shut.
Their purest judgment you have overthrown
In trapping me within this constant rut
From which I always see the dark horizon,
But never sunlight to elate my eyes in.