Richard Le Gallienne

Desiderium

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Face in the tomb, that lies so still,
May I draw near,
And watch you sleep and love you,
Without word or tear?

You smile, your eyelids flicker;
Shall I tell
How the world goes that lost you?
Shall I tell?

Ah, love, lift not your eyelids;
'Tis the same
Old story that we laughed at,
Still the same.

We knew it, you and I,
We knew it all:
Still is the small the great,
The great the small;

Still the cold lie quenches
The flaming truth,
And still embattled age
Wars against youth.

Yet I believe still in the ever-living God
That fills your grave with perfume,
Writing your name in violets across the sod,
Shielding your holy face from hail and snow;
And, though the withered stay, the lovely go.
No transitory wrong or wrath of things
Shatters the faith -- that each slow minute brings
That meadow nearer to us where your feet
Shall flutter near me like white butterfilies --
That meadow where immortal lovers meet,
Gazing forever in immortal eyes.

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Richard Le Gallienne