David William Paley
Had blooms left in their bowers
Known that the clocks had stopped
Or we not forgotten that flowers
Should fade in the vase when cropped,
We would have lived on a stage without hours
Unaware that the curtain had dropped
On scenes that, forever, would last;
But the smoke, now, clears revealing the past
Whence our seclusion emerges, again,
Showing our dwelling of so long ago
As vivid as fire with feverish glow.
Those were the days without end
And we were the lovers floating in time
Thinking that life would be waiting for us.
The seasons paused; the world stood still;
Silence sufficed as pure, golden speech
Untarnished by riches far from our reach.
A touch, a glance, was our reward
Lovingly cast on our mountainous hoard
In seams as deep as radiant night
Where love was steeped in silvery light.
But we were enveloped by cloud
And we stepped our separate ways,
Parted by that envious shroud,
Our hands meeting no longer
When loosened by our baseless concern
That even a stone may melt into haze.
Where there was, once, close embrace,
We found but a broad, empty space.
Dawn had revealed in a blaze
The extent of the wide rolling plain;
But a land without blossom
Where briars, alone, entertain.
Was this a dream that fades upon waking
But gains new lease in calm recollection;
Or merely a thought from wild agitation
That galloped on winds familiar with change
That now have reversed their direction;
Or the stirrings of youth in a warrior
Who senses his strength leaping a barrier;
Or a memory of an encounter
That happened a lifetime before;
Or is it more than merely a reverie
That what had been, is, still, yet to be?
If waves submit to the moon's command
But play beneath the roaring blast
Upon their oceans of delight,
May I not, too, deny restraint
And tread, again, the cobwebbed shaft
That led me from that alluring past:
To wake the sleepers in their graves,
Who, thus, regain their youthful voices;
To rid December of its dotage
And, thus, revert to April's state;
To claim our futures from the wind,
And, thus, retrieve our lives from fate?
I look about this hallowed ground
And feel the scent of distant seas
So far away, so close the land,
That I can hear our words resound
Urging me with outstretched hand
To roll the flood of swirling time
Back through that malicious mist
To sail again that flimsy craft
Finely spun from gossamer thread
That drapes a heart now turned to frost
Where flames still burn for treasure lost.
Let go the weight that drags me down;
Release the ropes that bind my soul
And waft me, also, through the air
To drift toward the scenes I knew,
So sharply, now, remembered.
Let slip those suns of former years
To sparkle on our life new launched
That I may, then, at last, dismiss
The burden of my darkness
And clamber from this steep abyss
Released from depths of sadness.