Monday, 20 May 2019

Poetry Revisited: Eolie by Edith May


(from Poems by Edith May: 1850)

Oh ! you are welcome as the dew
       To the worn feet of pilgrim day.
And wild and fresh as flowers that keep
       The virgin bloom and breath of May;
Yet wilful as a hawk set free
       Ere whistle lure or huntsman tame her.
Capricious as the bridal smile.
       Spring half denies the skies that claim her.
You've slept since morning unbetrayed
       By waving grass, or whispering tree,
You're loitering now through grove and glade,
                                                 Wild Eolie

Oh! we were playmates long ago.
       And then I chased your flying feet
Over the brave rock-terraced hills,
       Over the valleys green and sweet.
Your kisses woke me, if I slept
       Where boughs unclasp and shadows play,
And, starting from my childish dreams,
       I heard your low laugh far away.
Most gentle in your wily mirth.
       Yet elfin half, you seemed to me,
I loved you more than I can tell.
                                                 Wild Eolie!

I love you still; when evening comes,
       I hear you tread my chamber floor,
You sweep aside my curtain's fold,
       And close the page I linger o'er.
For sunset is our trysting time.
       Our tryst we keep till stars convene,
Till, Thetis-like, from deeps of blue
       Upwends the silver-footed queen—
Breaking the crystal calm of night.
       As light wings break a glassy sea,
Your low voice hymns me to my rest,
                                                 Wild Eolie!

When through the heavens' serenest blue
       Move car-like clouds with lingering flight
I image you a nymph like those
       That urge the shell of Amphitrite.
At morn you are a huntress fleet;
       And cloistered from the heats of noon,
You seem at night a sister pale,
       Low chanting to the halved moon.
By morn, and noon, and saintly night,
       I imagine what I cannot see,
And give your elfin tones a soul,
                                                 Wild Eolie!

Edith May (1827-1903), real name Annie Drinker
American poet

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