Tag Archives: poetry

The Coming of the Prince

lordandladyalfreddouglasTHE Prince has come! shy princess, Oh, be wise,
Kiss his sweet mouth, look deep into his eyes,
And let your songs, like lutes tired hands left dumb,
Learn all Love’s language now the Prince has come.

The Prince is fair, proud princess, hold him fast
With slim white hands, each kiss may be the last.

Joy is a flower whose petals fall apart,
And fade too soon. Ah, hold him to your heart.

And this sweet Prince, who never will grow old,
This boy with great blue eyes and hair like gold,
Will lead you, little princess, by the hand
Through all the gardens of his fairy land.

What though a sleepless dragon day and night
The great world watches, jealous of delight,
Strong Love shall stand with shining wings unfurled
Between you and the hatred of the world.

from Rainbows

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A Song to Beauty

SWEET! I have seen the argent moon astray
In crimson meadows of the morning sky,
Watched by the jealous Night too sad to fly
Before the bright relentless sword of day.
So, your pale lovers see you pass them by.

Proud Beauty I like that wonderful gold flower
The twilight gathers when the sun takes flight,
And lays before the silver feet of Night,
Beauty that seen in dreams has such strange power
Shine, shine upon my darkness, lovely Light !

By what enchantment were you doomed to range
The forest of this world, where joys are few?
My heart is like a hound that follows you.
My heart, a princely hunter, hears your strange
Elusive laughter and must still pursue.

Oh, once my song-bird heart was free and wise,
But now its wings are tangled in Love’s snare,
For it has seen the sunshine of your hair,
The troubled beauty of your great blue eyes,
The wild-rose whiteness of your body fair.

In vain fate strives to keep us still apart,
Death could not do it even . . . though there be
Long leagues of land, broad wastes of shining sea
Between us, yet my heart is with your heart
When in the world of dreams you walk with me.

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I am weary, let me sleep

I am weary, let me sleep
In some great embroidered bed,
With soft pillows for my head.
I am weary, let me sleep . . .
Petals of sweet roses shed
All around a perfumed heap
White as pearls, and ruby red;
Curtains closely drawn to keep
Wings of darkness o’er me spread . . .
I am weary, let me sleep
In some great embroidered bed.
Let me dream that I am dead,
Nevermore to wake and weep
In the future that I dread . . .
For the ways of life are steep . . .
I am weary, let me sleep . . .

From Inn of Dreams (1911)

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Doubts

A WEB of gold is the western sky !
Golden strands of the sun’s bright hair
Caught in the grey clouds everywhere !
Or the tangled skeins of day’s broidery ?

… And now it is that the twilight sings;
Twilight … whose voice is full of tears
Trailing athwart our hopes and fears
The drooping bows of her dusky wings !

In the fading light we dream of death
And closer cling in a long embrace.
O ! pure pale girl with the passionate face
Life strips us naked … but leaves us breath.

But when our bodies lie strange and still
They will bury us swiftly out of sight,
Shut us away from the warm sunlight  . . .
How dark the darkness will be and chill !

But ah ! I forgot, we shall not feel
Folded safe in our last deep sleep
Never again to kiss and weep —
While our lips’ rose colour the roses steal.

Dear, never again to know regret.
With its iron hand laid on the leaping heart
Its fingers thrust where the wide wounds smart,
The wounds of memory bleeding yet. . . .

Ah ! but the kisses, the tears — the fleet
Delights — slow sorrows, are life — in vain
To praise white peace when the wine of pain,
Fate’s purple wine, is so fiery sweet !

Think you we should be glad to die
Now . . . when the stars are coming soon
And the daylight pales, and the primrose moon
Is a stemless flower in a silver sky. …

From Opals, 1897.

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Statues

I HAVE loved statues . . . spangled dawns have seen
Me bowed before their beauty . . . when the green
And silver world of Spring wears radiantly
The morning rainbows of an opal sky . .
And I have chanted curious madrigals
To charm their coldness, twined for coronals
Blossoming branches, thinking thus to change
Their still contempt for mortal love, their bright
Proud scorn to something delicate and strange,
More sweet, more marvellous, than mere delight !

I have loved statues—passionately prone
My body worshipped the white form of stone!!
And like a flower that lifts its chalice up
Towards the light—my soul became a cup
That over-brimming with enchanted wine
Of ecstasy—was raised to the divine
Indifferent lips of some young silent God
Standing aloof from all our tears and strife,
Tranced in the paradise of dreams, he trod
In the untroubled summer of his life

I have loved statues . . . and at night the cold
Mysterious moon behind a mask of gold—
Or veiled in silver veils—has seen my pride
Utterly broken—seen the dream denied
For which I pleaded—heedless that for me
The miracle of joy could never be . . .
As in old legends beautiful and strange,
When bright gods loved fair mortals born to die,
And the frail daughters of despair and change
Became the brides of immortality ?

From The Blue Bird (1905)

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The White Witch (1902)

Her body is a dancing joy, a delicate delight,
Her hair a silver glamour in a net of golden light.

Her face is like the faces that a dreamer sometimes meets,
A face that Leonardo would have followed in the streets.

Her eyelids are like clouds that spread white wings across blue skies,
Like shadows in still water are the sorrow in her eyes.

How flower-like are the smiling lips so many have desired,
Curled lips that love’s long kisses have left a little tired.

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Olive Custance (Lady Alfred Douglas) back in print

The Inn of Dreams: Poems by Olive Custance

Edited, with a substantial biographical introduction by Edwin James King

List Price: $6.30
6.14″ x 9.21″ (15.596 x 23.393 cm)
Black & White on White paper
116 pages
Saint Austin Press
ISBN-13: 978-1901157697
ISBN-10: 1901157695
BISAC: Poetry / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

Olive Custance was the beautiful wife of Lord Alfred Douglas, the disgraced lover of Oscar Wilde. Apart from that, the literary world knows little of her today. Her reputation lies very much in the shadow of the men who knew and loved her. And yet this woman was a gifted poet in her own right and a friend of many key figures of the ‘fin de siècle’.

In this edition of The Inn of Dreams, a selection of poems made by Custance herself in 1911, editor Edwin King casts new light on the woman and her work with a substantial biographical introduction.

It is about time for lovers of poetry for rediscover this charming girl who once wrote to her husband :”Like a shy child I bring you all my songs”.

Available soon via http://www.Amazon.com,  www.amazon.co.uk etc

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