When she says goodbye.
What touch, what breath, what lips now turned away,
And what embrace I shared and share no more,
And where now fled, the one I did adore
Although remotely, for it is my way;
What hours and evenings, now a foggy gray
Of, no, not tears – for shuttered is that door –
Of just more loss, which mind cannot ignore
But its remembrance passes as a day –
What is it like? No solstice winds delay
Nor dally, no, nor tarry in their chore,
But strew the sky with icy ash and pour
Out on the land a breathless snow to stay,
Benumbing, til the vernal sun allay
The frost, and kindle warmth, and breath restore.
And then, later, when she says perhaps.
What is it? Hope? What murmurs might restore,
What whispers might conspire and soft allay
My heart left open with unease? – to stay
A moment at my ear before they pour
Like birdsong calling to some morning chore,
For so they must, and shatter sleep. Delay
A while that rousing ray, that coming day
When dreams are brushed away. Ignore
A while that beating fist upon the door
And fold your voice in muted shades of gray,
For softly sounds the song that finds a way
To raise up joy. Too dimly I adore,
But this is just my way – and nothing more
May come from me, but cast me not away.