Conrad Aiken: Evening Song of Senlin
It is moonlight. Alone in the silence
I ascend my stairs once more,
While waves, remote in a pale blue starlight,
Crash on a white sand shore.
It is moonlight. The garden is silent.
I stand in my room alone.
Across my wall, from the far-off moon,
A rain of fire is thrown …
There are houses hanging above the stars,
And stars hung under a sea:
And a wind from the long blue vault of time
Waves my curtains for me …
I wait in the dark once more,
Swung between space and space:
Before my mirror I lift my hands
And face my remembered face.
Is it I who stand in a question here,
Asking to know my name? …
It is I, yet I know not whither I go,
Nor why, nor whence I came.
It is I, who awoke at dawn
And arose and descended the stair,
Conceiving a god in the eye of the sun, —
In a woman's hands and hair.
It is I whose flesh is grey with the stones
I builded into a wall:
With a mournful melody in my brain
Of a tune I cannot recall …
There are roses to kiss: and mouths to kiss;
And the sharp-pained shadow of death.
I remember a rain-drop on my cheek, —
A wind like a fragrant breath …
And the star I laugh on tilts through heaven;
And the heavens are dark and steep …
I will forget these things once more
In the silence of sleep.