Robin Hyde


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Here is no joy, to gleam like jewelled waters
Of those blue lakes that desert-goers find,
No little rain of peace, no dew of dreaming,
No chalice for the thirsting of my mind.

Bold and blue, the mirage of many palm trees,
Of mocking fountains, grows and glimmers nigh.
I stumble, clutch at ghostly sapphires, waken
Blind in the sand, with lips and fingers dry.

Are you indeed a guarded city? Wander
Old wisdoms and young ardours in your street?
Does ever Pity, in some fragrant courtyard,
Unloose the sandals from the traveller’s feet?

And does your palace keep such darkling perfumes,
Such songs as haunted men since time began,
Somewhere, beyond the desert of your silence,
Beyond the last bewildered caravan?

Daylong you haunt my dream, a restless legend
Of sharp blue towers nobody can find,
Their calling bells remembered in the twilight
By men who seek no more, grown old and blind.

Does the wind lie, that leans against your bosom,
Touches your hair, and suddenly is sweet,
Where naught prevaileth but the sun’s white passion,
The blind, long desert, burning for my feet?

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Robin Hyde