New Poems

Page 02

PRAYER

I ASK good things that I detest, With speeches fair; Heed not, I pray Thee, Lord, my breast, But hear my prayer.

I say ill things I would not say - Things unaware: Regard my breast, Lord, in Thy day, And not my prayer.

My heart is evil in Thy sight: My good thoughts flee: O Lord, I cannot wish aright - Wish Thou for me.

O bend my words and acts to Thee, However ill, That I, whate'er I say or be, May serve Thee still.

O let my thoughts abide in Thee Lest I should fall: Show me Thyself in all I see, Thou Lord of all.

LO! IN THINE HONEST EYES I READ

LO! in thine honest eyes I read The auspicious beacon that shall lead, After long sailing in deep seas, To quiet havens in June ease.

Thy voice sings like an inland bird First by the seaworn sailor heard; And like road sheltered from life's sea Thine honest heart is unto me.

THOUGH DEEP INDIFFERENCE SHOULD DROWSE

THOUGH deep indifference should drowse The sluggish life beneath my brows, And all the external things I see Grow snow-showers in the street to me, Yet inmost in my stormy sense Thy looks shall be an influence.

Though other loves may come and go And long years sever us below, Shall the thin ice that grows above Freeze the deep centre-well of love? No, still below light amours, thou Shalt rule me as thou rul'st me now.

Year following year shall only set Fresh gems upon thy coronet; And Time, grown lover, shall delight To beautify thee in my sight; And thou shalt ever rule in me Crowned with the light of memory.

MY HEART, WHEN FIRST THE BLACK-BIRD SINGS

MY heart, when first the blackbird sings, My heart drinks in the song: Cool pleasure fills my bosom through And spreads each nerve along.

My bosom eddies quietly, My heart is stirred and cool As when a wind-moved briar sweeps A stone into a pool

But unto thee, when thee I meet, My pulses thicken fast, As when the maddened lake grows black And ruffles in the blast.

I DREAMED OF FOREST ALLEYS FAIR

I.

I DREAMED of forest alleys fair And fields of gray-flowered grass, Where by the yellow summer moon My Jenny seemed to pass.

I dreamed the yellow summer moon, Behind a cedar wood, Lay white on fields of rippling grass Where I and Jenny stood.

I dreamed - but fallen through my dream, In a rainy land I lie Where wan wet morning crowns the hills Of grim reality.

II.

I am as one that keeps awake All night in the month of June, That lies awake in bed to watch The trees and great white moon.

For memories of love are more Than the white moon there above, And dearer than quiet moonshine Are the thoughts of her I love.

III.

Last night I lingered long without My last of loves to see. Alas! the moon-white window-panes Stared blindly back on me.

To-day I hold her very hand, Her very waist embrace - Like clouds across a pool, I read Her thoughts upon her face.

And yet, as now, through her clear eyes I seek the inner shrine - I stoop to read her virgin heart In doubt if it be mine -

O looking long and fondly thus, What vision should I see? No vision, but my own white face That grins and mimics me.

IV.

Once more upon the same old seat In the same sunshiny weather, The elm-trees' shadows at their feet And foliage move together.

The shadows shift upon the grass, The dial point creeps on; The clear sun shines, the loiterers pass, As then they passed and shone.

But now deep sleep is on my heart, Deep sleep and perfect rest. Hope's flutterings now disturb no more The quiet of my breast.

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Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson
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