I upbraided the night


Some sympathy, you dizzy earth atilt,
Affect beneath that heavenly morass
Of point-lights mirrored in your dewy grass
Where lustful suitors plead, prim damsels lilt.
So ruthless a machine your Maker built
That as men dote, the years like minutes pass,
And teach of wisdom only its most crass:

"Just like the earth's, so lovers' flowers wilt,
And he who dares on worldly flesh to chart
His destiny, and thereon fix his eyes,
Will learn, at last, how all flesh falls apart."

Then, he may kneel on meadows, watch the skies,
And beg the stars or dews to mend his heart.
They never will; they shimmer on his sighs.


I watched my beauty stand upon that field
And falter; all this drove her into swoons.
Come to, she'd eye the stars like mystic runes,
But seeing there no text, she bawled and reeled.

For one who dealt in wounds that never healed
Called his her heart; she quarreled not with such wounds.
I did, to her, and sweetly; but she'd steeled
Herself against such praise, and in the moon's
Light chid herself for looking so unkempt:

"Though fair, I am a wretch; though young, so old";
Then, to complacence by the silence lulled,
Her thoughts returned to him of whom she'd dreamt:
"He wants them all; but me, he will not hold,
Except," she wept, "to hold me in contempt."


Another's tears carved halting rivulets
In cheeks whose patterns all too well I knew.
I murmured, "All my life, I owe to you";

She scrunched her nose and frowned: "I shun such debts."
For of her sad life, chain of phony fetes,
I'd seen the darkest days, and got her through.
Then she saw through me, calling me untrue,
As one reborn who former lives forgets.

Those eyes have cast on me their final look,
Those eyes like stars. Oh, who from them escapes?

I shall plod on, while she may skip and traipse
'Neath myriad stars o'er myriads she forsook.
They dance for her, those false celestial shapes,
Which shone stock-still while maidens wailed and shook.

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