O let your beauty lie in quietude,
Live to eternity by spurning life:
Time’s heedless finger smudges every portrait
And love shrinks from the ugliness of age .
My darling , grow not old — live not to see
Your blemished beauty mirrored in my eyes .
Not all the summer warmth of our swift love ,
The vivid sunlight burnishing your hair
Could thaw the wintry terror of your heart
If close behind you in the gloom there smiled
Death , dim reflection in the cold green mirrors
Deliberately lingering in the shadows
To taunt you with your own decrepitude ,
To watch you wince from my unwilling pity —
Compassion after passion is a torment
Beyond your strength , my darling : grow not old .
Now, while green mirrors idolize the sun ,
O let your beauty lie in quietude .
I am your immortality, my darling .
You laugh at the kaleidoscopic years ,
Gay jewels cast haphazard at your feet ;
But I will shatter the kaleidoscope ,
And knot the years upon a golden cord ,
A rosary immortal as my grief :
For I will mourn you as the stars of heaven
Come sorrowing to worship at your grave .
Go now, my darling while the wind is warm
And the green mirrors glory in the sun —
Go swift before me to that quiet haven
Where green waves whisper to the wind at dusk
Death’s lullaby of endless lassitude .
You are the candle of my restless life
Flickering on life’s altar :
You shall live
Dream-vivid , beautiful as sudden flame
In my dark memory : you shall be immortal —
O let your beauty lie in quietude Summer 1948