Ballade Of Running Away With Life

A poem by Richard Le Gallienne

O ships upon the sea, O shapes of air,
O lands whose names are made of spice and tar,
Old painted empires that are ever fair,
From Cochin-China down to Zanzibar!
O Beauty simple, soul-less, and bizarre!
I would take Danger for my bosom-wife,
And light our bed with some wild tropic star -
O how I long to run away with Life!

To run together, Life and I! What care
Ours if from Duty we may run so far
As to forget the daily mounting stair,
The roaring subway and the clanging car,
The stock that ne'er again shall be at par,
The silly speed, the city's stink and strife,
The faces that to look on leaves a scar:
O how I long to run away with Life!

Fling up the sail - all sail that she can bear,
And out across the little frightened bar
Into the fearless seas alone with her,
The great sail humming to the straining spar,
Curved as Love's breast, and white as nenuphar,
The spring wind singing like a happy fife,
The keen prow cutting like a scimitar:
O how I long to run away with Life!


Princess, the gates of Heaven are ajar,
Cut we our bonds with Freedom's gleaming knife, -
Lo! where Delight and all the Dancers are!
O how I long to run away with Life!

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