Orion

Orion

Now starlight is pale
I shine on thee sleeping ,
Sweet body too frail
To rest in my keeping .

My stars blaze on high :
All winter has seen them ,
Nailed out on the sky ,
Taut vastness between them .

Now starlight is pale
Rise up and behold me ,
Sweet body too frail
In love to enfold me .

Here silent I wait ,
Thine ever , thine only ,
Orion the great ,
Orion the lonely .

20 June 1954

On the cliff

On the cliff

Green eyes gazing out to sea ,
Hands cupped under pointed chin —
Mortal house , but dear to me
For the soul that lives within —
When at last the lease is run
All must fall to disrepair ;
Now , before our day is done
Let me take possession there .

Think , these breakers in the bay
Grinding on this granite steep
Even this must wear away ,
Drown five hundred fathoms deep ;
Time sweeps on , a tidal wave
Unopposed by shifting sands :
What enchantment then can save
Green eyes drowned , or gentle hands ?

Souls may fuse and live as one
When clasped hands are laid to rest ;
Yet , before our day is done
Let me learn to be your guest :
We shall rest content , they say
Though green eyes lie fathoms deep ;
Yet , sweet , come , and while we may
Counterfeit our death in sleep .

14th January 1952

Old Man

Old Man

Row slowly , boatman , over the river,
Ferry him safely to the green meadows :
Slow comes the sound of the oars falling softly,
Slow moves the shadowy boat on the water.
In cool shadows , cool shadows , in the cool shadows .

Low sweep the willows, slow glides the river,
Slow moves the shadowy boat through the shadows :
Row slowly, boatman , ferry him softly,
Ferry him slowly over the water
To green meadows , green meadows , to the green meadows .

28 April 1951

O sweet woods the delight of solitariness

two pages

[Sestina to Sidney]

O sweet woods the delight of solitariness ,
Forget that far Elizabethan autumn,
Drown my heart deep beneath your drifting leaves.
Rust and dead earth have long consumed that sword
Drawn by a poet in defence of beauty,
Drawn by a poet in defence of love.

Triumphant soul, who lived and died for love,
Fly on the wind to share this solitariness,
On this rough wind that sways the woods of autumn
To strew your path with gold of drifting leaves :
Walk here once more ; forget the rusty sword,
Remember only this autumnal beauty.

It has not changed with years, this rustling beauty :
Since last you lingered here to dream of love,
To cherish your delight in solitariness,
Walking enchanted through the woods of autumn
Beneath a golden canopy of leaves,
Nothing has changed here but the rusting sword.

Yet now between us lies the rusty sword :
You came to joy in solitary beauty.
I came to take farewell of life and love.
Do I intrude upon your solitariness,
Ghost of that far Elizabethan autumn
Dreaming forever of these drifting leaves?

You rested on this bank of rustling leaves,
And idly watched the sunlight on your sword :
You left your dreams of courtesy and beauty
To cross the sea for honour of your love,
Entered alone a greater solitariness
And came no more to see the woods of autumn.

my second side to continue

Cold in that far Elizabethan autumn
A shadow fell across the drifting leaves
War and destruction, rust upon the sword :
I walk amid this new autumnal beauty
Dreading the doom of beauty and of love
In mad destruction’s wilful solitariness .
Farewell to solitariness, farewell to autumn :
Far from these rustling leaves I draw my sword
To vindicate their beauty and my love .

[ Marion wrote this out on a single side of paper. Undated . The paper as well as the writing matches Lie down… ]