But this I thought was gone with a fresher year

Another invented character in an invented situation.

I received this on 4 October 1955. For the funeral, Marion removed the original character’s declaration of a passion, and asked only for time, to prepare to find out what claims of lifelong constancy might be worth

5. But this I thought was gone with a fresher year—
The lift of heart when gesture and glance and word
Laughter and touch of the hand or turn of the head
Seem suddenly more than their meaning, expected , apart,
As music soon to be loved but now first heard
Is well and perfect and strange to the silent heart.
Perceptions are graced by your life as beads by a thread,
Dear for themselves, for their linking doubly dear.

Yet now great words that confident once I said
Crash hollow like coals where sleepers wake with a start:
Since coin and pebble the well of my dreaming stirred
I watch the dissolving image of joy or fear,
Ring upon ring, while I feel no glory, no smart:
I have seen the cost of your being and being dead,
And even as air accepts the wings of a bird
I can offer you only the now and only the here.

10 September 1958

Brief life and warping fear

Brief life and warping fear
Temper elation :
Lovers however dear
Use in their dealings here
Some reservation .

Love not on terms like these :
Make song thy passion ;
Love brings but little ease ,
Music thy soul can please
In purer fashion .

Strengthened there , purified
Beyond fear of cost
Love may halt time and tide ,
Nothing can be denied ,
Nothing be lost .

Received Aug. 2nd. 1951

Benenden Churchyard

Benenden Churchyard

Ivy and moss our names depose
Where bell and passing bell
Long vigil keep :
Here rest we old , secure in homely haven
We young now ageless in the youth of heaven :
Here we who fought for Kent with bat and ball ,
And we , war’s pawns , strangers and loved at peace
Together sleep .

Now in the misty autumn dawn
A poet and his love
Walk sorrowing here :
He , sure alone of life’s felicity
Mourns not for us , but for mortality ;
For us who moulder and were once alive ,
She , because life most sweet so soon is done
Lets fall a tear .

To damp recesses creep the toads ,
From earth to heaven a lark
Springs light as breath :
The higher yet , of mercy infinite ,
Succour these souls here lingering desolate ,
For round our stones will bramble fingers lurk
The snatching fears , the choking platitudes
That wait on death .

16 October 1953

Bereaved

Bereaved

What was that eager one in white ,
Who walked beside thee day and night ?
My sleep is broken .
He would not brook that I should be
One poor half-hour alone with thee —
My dream is spoken .

I saw thee once with careless grace
Lie reading in a sunny place :
My sleep is broken .
Between us then , as I adored ,
There fell the shadow of his sword —
My dream is spoken .

Last night I passed upon the stair
Two presences with shining hair :
My sleep is broken .
I knew not then and know not now
Which was thy guardian , which wast thou —
My dream is spoken .

Received October 10th 1953

Bar fast the gate of memory when my ghost

[on the reverse of The Rivals]

Bar fast the gate of memory when my ghost
Whines for admission ;
Why should you favour me above the lost
In like position ?

Reserve your favours now for men that live ,
The dead need none :
Slip me from mind as sands slip through a sieve ,
Or in an hourglass run .

The hourglass runs to rescue living men :
You must grow old :
Like a rose drab and shrivelled , you shall then
Lie in the cold .

And when the wind , a lover at your door ,
Whispers importunate ,
Remember one whose love was even more
Unfortunate .

The Rivals was dated 24 September 1951

Brief life and warping fear

Brief life and warping fear
Temper elation :
Lovers however dear
Use in their dealings here
Some reservation .

Love not on terms like these :
Make song thy passion ;
Music thy soul can please
In purer fashion .

Strengthened there , purified
Beyond fear of cost
Love may halt time and tide ,
Nothing can be denied ,
Nothing be lost .

August 2nd 1951