Young Love XIV - A June Lily

A poem by Richard Le Gallienne

[The poet dramatises his Lady's loneliness]

Alone! once more alone! how like a tomb
My little parlour sounds which only now
Yearned like some holy chancel with his voice.
So still! so empty! Surely one might fear
The walls should meet in ruinous collapse
That held no more his music. Yet they stand
Firm in a foolish firmness, meaningless
As frescoed sepulchre some Pharaoh built
But never came to sleep in; built, indeed,
For - that grey moth to flit in like a ghost!

Alone! another feast-day come and gone,
Watched through the weeks as in my garden there
I watch a seedling grow from blade to bud
Impatient for its blossom. So this day
Has bloomed at last, and we have plucked its flower
And shared its sweetness, and once more the time
Is as that stalk from which but now I plucked
Its last June-lily as a parting sign.
Yea, but he seemed to love it! yet if he
But craved it in deceit of tenderness
To make my heart glow brighter with a lie!
Will it indeed be cherished as he said,
Or will he keep it near his book a while,
And when grown rank forget it in his glass,
And leave it for the maid who dusts his room
To clear away and cast upon the heap?
Or, may be, will he bury it away
In some old drawer with other mummy-flowers?

Nay, but I wrong thee, dear one, thinking so.
My boy, my love, my poet! Nay, I know
Thy lonely room, tomb-like to thee as mine,
Tomb-like as tomb of some returning ghost
Seems only bright about my lily-flower.
And, mayhap, while I wrong thee thus in thought
Thou bendest o'er it, feigning for some ease
Of parted ache conceits of poet-wit
On petal and on stamen - let me try!
If lilies be alike thine is as this,
I wonder if thy reading tallies too.

Six petals with a dewdrop in their heart,
Six pure brave years, an ivory cup of tears;
Six pearly-pillared stamens golden-crowned
Growing from out the dewdrop, and a seventh
Soaring alone trilobed and mystic green;
Six pearl-bright years aflower with gold of joy,
Sprung from the heart of those brave tear-fed years:
But what that seventh single stamen is
My little wit must leave for thee to tell.

But neither poet nor a sibyl thou!
What brave conceit had he, my poet, built;
No jugglery of numbers that mean nought,
That can mean nought for ever, unto us.

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