by: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873)

      MONG the gray roofs nooked,
      As Chronos in the skies,
      Red chimneys, old and crook'd,
      Like headstones round me rise.
      The chimneys, crook'd and old,
      My neighbors in the air,
      Like gods of dingy gold,
      Bend sadly here and there.
      The crows to roost returning
      In their misty woods below--
      The hill-tops dimly burning
      In the sun's refracted glow--
      Like purple shadows sailing
      Across the sea-green sky,
      Like far waves hoarsely wailing
      Call dimly as they fly.
      My senses, sadly dreaming,
      Just hear and see them fly,
      Like bygone shadows streaming
      Along pale memory's sky.
      From the gray tower with its corbels,
      And its belfry arching fair,
      The mellow curfew warbles
      Its old tune on the air;
      It sails above me welling
      Like long soft summer waves,
      Still quivering on and swelling
      Across the village graves.
      My lattice open flies,
      The dewy evening air,
      Fresh from the starry skies,
      Just stirs my silvered hair.
      Come forth, my graceful pipe,
      My halfpenny pipe of clay,
      With Latachia rope
      We'll wile the hour away.
      Then musical by space,
      Up from the gloaming street
      Float sounds and songs apace,
      And random prattle sweet--
      Bold fellows laughing boldly
      With soft-tongued maidens near,
      Old people prating odly,
      And children's voices clear.
      And in their faint gradations,
      While changeless stars gleam o'er us,
      I hear three generations
      All chiming in one chorus.
      The twilight deepens fast,
      My pipe grows like a star,
      Or a distant smithy's blast,
      Or a lighthouse flash from afar.
      A lonely man am I,
      In my dormant-window thinking,
      So lowly, and so high,
      The dreamy vapour drinking.
      The vapour hangs and dozes,
      And the stars no more I see;
      The opening film discloses
      A loved pale face to me.
      The sad face smiling there,
      The young face as of yore,
      Inexorably fair,
      To speak or change no more.
      The brown hair is now gray,
      Of him you loved, but to
      Your lovely shadow years away
      His lonely heart beats true.
      And now my pipe is out,
      I drop it in the weeds,
      It served its little bout,
      And quietude succeeds.
      And when my glow is o'er,
      In ashes quenched by fire,
      When its fragrance is no more
      And spark and smoke expire;
      O'er me may some one say,
      As I, of you to-day,
      Beneath the nettles and the flowers
      Where lies my worn-out clay;
      He did in his allotted hours--
      What fellows sometimes shirk--
      In this enormous world of ours,
      His halfpenny-worth of work.




[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z ]

Home · Poetry Store · Links · Email · © 2002 Poetry-Archive.com