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1893 - 1967
FOR A SAD LADY
And let her love when she is dead
White this above her bones:
"No more she lives to give us bread
Who asked her only stones
The first time I died, I walked my ways;
I followed the file of limping days.
I held me tall, with my head flung up,
But I dared not look on the new moon's cup.
I dared not look on the sweet young rain,
And between my ribs was a gleaming pain.
The next time I died, they laid me deep.
They spoke worn words to hallow my sleep.
They tossed me petals, they wreathed me fern,
They weighted me down with a marble urn.
And I lie here warm, and I lie here dry,
And watch the worms slip by, slip by.
On sweet young earth where myrtle presses
Long we lay, when the May was new.
The willow was winding the moon in her tresses.
The bud of the rose was told with dew.
And now on the brittle ground I am lying,
Screaming to die with the dead year's dead;
The stem of the rose is black and drying,
The willow is tossing the wind from her head.
The stars are soft as flowers and as near.
The hills are webs of shadow, slowly spun.
No separate leaf or single blade is here -
All blend in one.
No moonbeam cuts the air; a sapphire light
Rolls lazily, and slips again to rest.
There is no edged thing in all this night,
Save in my breast.
© 2000 Elena and Yacov Feldman