Muriel Stuart

To A Gipsy

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ONCE when some sudden thought beseeches,
Swift as a homing bird
I shall come down with Love's young song that reaches
And whispers to the silence Sorrow teaches
One sweet April word.--
To where Wind's whitest hand invisible,
Stroking the mountain's side
To silver, breaks in edge of froth each bell
As waves against the tide.
Till a soft fringe of flowers frays on bare beaches.

--To where the blasted tree lies burst asunder
By hideous lightning's breath,
And in its track hears growl the wolf of thunder
Who follows with wide jaws a-gape for plunder
Along the path of death.
Where every sloe-tree writhles, sideways struck,
Crippled, and dumb, and torn,
And hell-black berries only gnomes would suck,
Gape on the twisted thorn
That the moor bears in shame, recoiling under.

I greet you there--there where the great winds greet you!
And they shall bring and bear
My spirit to you, though they blind and beat you,
And scream away, of this they shall not cheat you,
My hand is in their hair;
Where the rough heather gnaws the rattling stones
Where quarry soil has slipped,
And flings unshrouded to the day the bones
Of dead trees, from their crypt;
There, gipsy in your palace, I will meet you.

Out in the blare of great wind-bitten spaces,
Where from the distant shore
Fugitive foam is flung against our faces,
While on her heel the tempest raves and races,
There we shall meet once more!--
Where the sky's red is under-staunched with grey,
And sunset's livid eye
Rolls in sick film of blood to see the Day
Flash up the darkened sky,--
Young Victor, with drawn sword, upon his traces!

Then I shall have no need of song to sing you,--
No word to speak that day,
My laugh the spirit of the wild shall fling you,
My kiss the fresh lips of the gale shall bring you,
The stream my name shall say.
As, from the ditch, some hedge-wraith dartling out,
Shall prick the horse's ear,
Your heart, astir, whose word you shall not doubt,
Shall whisper I am near,
And with the old sweet tang of tears shall sting you.

Among the lanes that love--the hills that know you,
There I shall seek and find;
Across the long, blue fields at dawn, that show you
Their dream-disheveled brows, the trees that throw you
Their last leaves down the wind.
And you shall look up from a dream half-sad,
A memory half-sweet,
Find hand in yours, and finding, shall grow glad
Of feet beside your feet,
See grey sky blue, and stubble flower below you.

Then, Gipsy, then, no asking and no talking!
In that immortal hour
All has been asked and given; the cross forsaking
Crowned Love ascending is, and young bud breaking
Into one heaven, one flower.
And we shall face the morning, take the sun
In vetch and bracken root,
And build our fire, pitch tent when day is flown
Like any dusty-foot,
And find clear sky above us at our waking.

Gipsy, if we, among these grasses lying,
Could find and hold the best,--
Could wander, you and I, the world defying,
Where, on Night's silence falls the day's speech, sighing
Against the woodland's breast;
Then life should wander happy, fearless, free,
And unto both of us
A flowering, not a Crucifiction be;
Oh! once to dare and thus
Live!--and when dying, know not it was dying!

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Muriel Stuart