To My Wife, Mildred
Dear wife, there is no word in all my songs
But unto thee belongs:
Though I indeed before our true day came
Mistook thy star in many a wandering flame,
Singing to thee in many a fair disguise,
Calling to thee in many another's name,
Before I knew thine everlasting eyes.
Faces that fled me like a hunted fawn
I followed singing, deeming it was Thou,
Seeking this face that on our pillow now
Glimmers behind thy golden hair like dawn,
And, like a setting moon, within my breast
Sinks down each night to rest.
Moon follows moon before the great moon flowers,
Moon of the wild wild honey that is ours;
Long must the tree strive up in leaf and root,
Before it bear the golden-hearted fruit:
And shall great Love at once perfected spring,
Nor grow by steps like any other thing?
The lawless love that would not be denied,
The love that waited, and in waiting died,
The love that met and mated, satisfied.
Ah, love, 'twas good to climb forbidden walls,
Who would not follow where his Juliet calls?
'Twas good to try and love the angel's way,
With starry souls untainted of the clay;
But, best the love where earth and heaven meet,
The god made flesh and dwelling in us, sweet.
(October 22, 1891.)