A black cat among roses, Phlox, lilac-misted under a first-quarter moon, The sweet smells of heliotrope and night-scented stock. The garden is very still, It is dazed with moonlight, Contented with perfume, Dreaming the opium dreams of its folded poppies. Firefly lights open and vanish High as the tip buds of the golden glow Low as the sweet alyssum flowers at my feet. Moon-shimmer on leaves and trellises, Moon-spikes shafting through the snow ball bush. Only the little faces of the ladies’ delight are alert and staring, Only the cat, padding between the roses, Shakes a branch and breaks the chequered pattern As water is broken by the falling of a leaf. Then you come, And you are quiet like the garden, And white like the alyssum flowers, And beautiful as the silent sparks of the fireflies. Ah, Beloved, do you see those orange lilies? They knew my mother, But who belonging to me will they know When I am gone.
I cannot tell you how it was, But this I know: it came to pass Upon a bright and sunny day When May was young; ah, pleasant May! As yet the poppies were not born Between the blades of tender corn; The last egg had not hatched as yet, Nor any bird foregone its mate.
I cannot tell you what it was, But this I know: it did but pass. It passed away with sunny May, Like all sweet things it passed away, And left me old, and cold, and gray.
When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.