Merely Suburban.

A poem by Thomas Runciman

Dry light reverberates, colour withdrawing
Into a sky so white, sight cannot follow it.
While in the shadows cast, rich hues, intenser
Far than in light spaces, offer me gladness.
Sun reigns triumphantly, thinning all vapour
Into translucency, through which the foliage
Bears out in sparkles of full golden greenery.
O'er this, short dashes of keen grey-green masses lie;
Even the cooler tints, pitched in this higher key -
Purpling and greening greys - are fierce as fires.
All the vast universe lives in one beautiful
Summer - made lambent light, offering gladness.
Who can accept of it? Hearts where no echo rings
Wildly recalling deeds done by old Destiny -
Deeds of finality, darkening the spirit -
Rousing the echoes of thought to reverberate
Ever and ever "Alas!" evermore.

Once in a burning day's brightness like this,
Sad I awaited the quenching forever of
Light that had mantled and flickered and ebbed out
Unto some twilight of hope and of reason.
Out of his own unto future time's darkness
Wistfully gazed he, as one who unhelped floats,

Swept by a current past land out to sea.
He started alertly with laughter and mockery,
Loud at its height with the rapture of contest.
For him the light focusses now to one vision,
Shot through its beautiful heart with black terror,
Terror from weakness, remorse and leave-taking.
To his scared eye the day's bitter brightness
Circles about the dark doorway set open
Awaiting his entrance ere shut to for ever.
Ever he harkens to voices behind him
Dolefully hinting defect and omission;
Cruelly shouting: "This, this was the true path;
Here greatness lay, by humility guarded,
She whom thou soughtest through mountains of pride!
What avails tenderness now so belated?
What gaining love with no deed as its child?"
Whitening intenselier ever to setting
Down sank the last sun save one he should gaze on.
In the next dawning, with dull apprehensiveness,
Groped he mid recent and older remembrance,
Mingled with mad vain desires for a helping hand;
Then off reeled his soul from my speechless adieus.
Once more the whole blaze triumphed through the welkin,
Bitter in brightness in memory for ever.

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