An Image from a Past Life
Never until this night have I been stirred. The elaborate star-light has thrown reflections On the dark stream, Till all the eddies gleam; And thereupon there comes that scream From terrified, invisible beast or bird: Image of poignant recollection.
An image of my heart that is smitten through Out of all likelihood, or reason, And when at last, Youth's bitterness being past, I had thought that all my days were cast Amid most lovely places; smitten as though It had not learned its lesson.
Why have you laid your hands upon my eyes? What can have suddenly alarmed you Whereon 'twere best My eyes should never rest? What is there but the slowly fading west, The river imaging the flashing skies, All that to this moment charmed you?
A sweetheart from another life floats there As though she had been forced to linger From vague distress Or arrogant loveliness, Merely to loosen out a tress Among the starry eddies of her hair Upon the paleness of a finger.
But why should you grow suddenly afraid And start—I at your shoulder— Imagining That any night could bring An image up, or anything Even to eyes that beauty had driven mad, But images to make me fonder.
Now she has thrown her arms above her head; Whether she threw them up to flout me, Or but to find, Now that no fingers bind, That her hair streams upon the wind, I do not know, that know I am afraid Of the hovering thing night brought me.