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- Nets to Catch the Wind - 4/6 -

I shall stop fighting and escape Into a little house I'll build.

But first I'll shrink to fairy size, With a whisper no one understands, Making blind moons of all your eyes, And muddy roads of all your hands.

And you may grope for me in vain In hollows under the mangrove root, Or where, in apple-scented rain, The silver wasp-nests hang like fruit.


Here's a wonderful thing, A humming-bird's wing In hammered gold, And store well chosen Of snowflakes frozen In crystal cold.

Black onyx cherries And mistletoe berries Of chrysoprase, Jade buds, tight shut, All carven and cut In intricate ways.

Here, if you please Are little gilt bees In amber drops Which look like honey, Translucent and sunny, From clover-tops.

Here's an elfin girl Of mother-of-pearl And moonshine made, With tortoise-shell hair Both dusky and fair In its light and shade.

Here's lacquer laid thin, Like a scarlet skin On an ivory fruit; And a filigree frost Of frail notes lost From a fairy lute.

Here's a turquoise chain Of sun-shower rain To wear if you wish; And glimmering green With aquamarine, A silvery fish.

Here are pearls all strung On a thread among Pretty pink shells; And bubbles blown From the opal stone Which ring like bells.

Touch them and take them, But do not break them! Beneath your hand They will wither like foam If you carry them home Out of fairy-land.

O, they never can last Though you hide them fast From moth and from rust; In your monstrous day They will crumble away Into quicksilver dust.


For this you've striven Daring, to fail: Your sky is riven Like a tearing veil.

For this, you've wasted Wings of your youth; Divined, and tasted Bitter springs of truth.

From sand unslaked Twisted strong cords, And wandered naked Among trysted swords.

There's a word unspoken, A knot untied. Whatever is broken The earth may hide.

The road was jagged Over sharp stones: Your body's too ragged To cover your bones.

The wind scatters Tears upon dust; Your soul's in tatters Where the spears thrust.

Your race is ended-- See, it is run: Nothing is mended Under the sun.

Straight as an arrow You fall to a sleep Not too narrow And not too deep.


Once, when my husband was a child, there came To his father's table, one who called him kin, In sunbleached corduroys paler than his skin. His look was grave and kind; he bore the name Of the dead singer of Senlac, and his smile. Shyly and courteously he smiled and spoke; "I've been in the laurel since the winter broke; Four months, I reckon; yes, sir, quite a while."

He'd killed a score of foemen in the past, In some blood-feud, a dark and monstrous thing; To him it seemed his duty. At the last His enemies found him by a forest spring, Which, as he died, lay bright beneath his head, A silver shield that slowly turned to red.


The old moon is tarnished With smoke of the flood, The dead leaves are varnished With color like blood,

A treacherous smiler With teeth white as milk, A savage beguiler In sheathings of silk,

The sea creeps to pillage, She leaps on her prey; A child of the village Was murdered to-day.

She came up to meet him In a smooth golden cloak, She choked him and beat him To death, for a joke.

Her bright locks were tangled, She shouted for joy, With one hand she strangled A strong little boy.

Now in silence she lingers Beside him all night To wash her long fingers In silvery light.


You are a rose, but set with sharpest spine; You are a pretty bird that pecks at me; You are a little squirrel on a tree, Pelting me with the prickly fruit of the pine; A diamond, torn from a crystal mine, Not like that milky treasure of the sea A smooth, translucent pearl, but skilfully Carven to cut, and faceted to shine.

Nets to Catch the Wind - 4/6

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