Thursday, February 11, 2010

the lily all her sweetness

This is part one of a two-part series. I'm thinking Valentine's, but they aren't doggerel for the holiday. More like, ways of speaking to or thinking about the love in one's life.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), was the most Victorian of Victorians, a poet laureate, wildly famous in his day.  This is a mystical poem full of longing in a time where certain phrases to a lover could not be published clearly, but were felt just the same.

Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal

"Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the the white;
nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font.
The fire-fly wakens; waken thou with me.

"Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.

"Now lies the Earth all Danae to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.

"Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.

"Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake.
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me."

[Porphyry--a dense purple-red stone used in carving, here for a large stone fountain containing goldfish. Danae--a princess who was kept by her father underground; Zeus discovered her and she became the mother of Perseus and ultimately an ancestress of Herakles.]

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