Double Sonnet

Double Sonnet

No wind is stirring: round your quiet room
The wakeful shadows tread a stately measure
Honouring their partners as the fire burns low :
This hour is rescued from eternity —
See, where they gather in the candle glow,
Faint ghosts of a forgotten century ;
See where their world gathers round them in the gloom,
That world of parasols and graceful leisure
Long since imprisoned in a sunless tomb
Now fondly they revive their faded pleasure ;
Gay after croquet on the lawn they go
To gossip in the parlour, and sip tea.
Neither regret nor restlessness they know,
Content by flickering candlelight to see
What rust cannot corrupt nor moth consume,
Laid up on earth your heart’s desire and treasure.

Defiant beauty, frail inheritance,
Gleaming in candlelight has conquered time :
Destruction comes with dawn, but this shall stand
Forever exquisite in memory,
With tinted flowers and baskets yet the same,
Solace on earth, in heaven felicity.
Forget this life’s insane irrelevance,
Enchanted hear the silver quarters chime :
Never shall madman with impatient hand
Shatter that fragile immortality :
Sleep then secure, while round the candle flame
The delicate moth flutters in ecstasy.

Summer 1949