Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ELSWITHA, by MARY BARRY

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ELSWITHA, by            
First Line: Elswitha knitteth the stocking blue
Last Line: Not a dream -- but a prophecy.
Subject(s): Evening; Sunset; Twilight

ELSWITHA knitteth the stocking blue
In the flickering firelight's glow;
Dyed are her hands in its ruddy hue,
And it glints on the shining needles too,
And flushes her cap of snow.

Elswitha dreameth a waking dream,
As busy her fingers ply;
And it lights her eye with its olden gleam,
For the world seems now as it used to seem,
And the things far off are nigh!

The things far off in the lapse of years,
Dead faces and loves outgrown;
Oh, many a form at her side appears,
And many a voice in her soul she hears,
And many a long-hushed tone.

For Memory walks through her halls to-night,
A torch in her lifted hand;
And lo! at the sound of her footsteps light
They shake them free from the dust and blight,
And trooping around her stand.

Bright curls of auburn and braids of brown,
With the sunlight sifted through,
And foreheads white as the hawthorn's crown,
And garlands fresh as when last thrown down,
Ay, fresher in scent and hue!

They come from the aisles of the buried past,
From the faded long ago,
From sepulchres old and dim and vast,
They come with their grave-clothes from them cast,
To stand in the firelight glow.

And weird is the charm they weave, I trow --
Elswitha is young and fair,
Gone are the furrows and tear-stains now,
Gone are the wrinkles from hand and brow,
The silver from shining hair.

Gone are the years with their heavy weight
(And heavy the years had grown),
For Love hath entered the lists with Fate,
And Memory needeth not name nor date,
For Memory knoweth her own.

Now haste thee, Dame, for the fire is low,
And the good man waits his tea;
Back to their tombs do the phantoms go,
And dark and deep do the shadows grow,
But Elswitha smileth -- her dream to know,
Not a dream -- but a prophecy.

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