by: Arthur Symons (1865-1945)
- HY is it I remember yet
- You, of all women one has met,
- In random wayfare, as one meets
- The chance romances of the streets,
- The Juliet of a night? I know
- Your heart holds many a Romeo.
- And I, who call to mind your face
- In so serene a pausing-place,
- Where the bright pure expanse of sea,
- Seems a reproach to you and me,
- I too have sought on many a breast
- The ecstasy of an unrest,
- I too have had my dreams, and met
- (Ah me!) how many a Juliet.
- Why is it, then, that I recall
- You, neither first nor last of all?
- For, surely as I see to-night
- The phantom of the lighthouse light,
- Against the sky, across the bay,
- Fade, and return, and fade away,
- So surely do I see your eyes
- Out of the empty night arise;
- Child, you arise and smile to me
- Out of the night, out of the sea,
- The Nereid of a moment there,
- And is it seaweed in your hair?
- O lost and wrecked, how long ago,
- Out of the drowning past, I know
- You come to call me, come to claim
- My share of your delicious shame.
- Child, I remember, and can tell
- One night we loved each other well,
- And one night's love, at least or most,
- Is not so small a thing to boast.
- You were adorable, and I
- Adore you to infinity,
- That nuptial night too briefly borne
- To the oblivion of morn.
- Ah! no oblivion, for I feel
- Your lips deliriously steal
- Along my neck, and fasten there;
- I feel the perfume of your hair,
- I feel your breast that heaves and dips
- Desiring my desirous lips,
- And that ineffable delight
- When souls turn bodies, and unite
- In the intolerable, the whole
- Rapture of the embodied soul.
- That joy was ours, we passed it by;
- You have forgotten me, and I
- Remember you thus strangely, won
- An instant from oblivion.
- And I, remembering, would declare
- That joy, not shame, is ours to share,
- Joy that we had the frank delight
- To choose the chances of one night,
- Out of vague nights, and days at strife,
- So infinitely full of life.
- What shall it profit me to know
- Your heart holds many a Romeo?
- Why should I grieve, though I forget
- How many another Juliet?
- Let us be glad to have forgot
- That roses fade, and loves are not,
- As dreams, immortal, though they seem
- Almost as real as a dream.
- It is for this I see you rise,
- A wraith, with starlight in your eyes,
- Where calm hours weave, for such a mood
- Solitude out of solitude;
- For this, for this, you come to me
- Out of the night, out of the sea.
POEMS BY ARTHUR SYMONS
"Stella Maris" is reprinted
from Poetica Erotica. Ed. T.R. Smith. New York: Crown