Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LES BARICADES MISTERIEUSES (AFTER FRANCOIS COUPERIN), by GORDON BOTTOMLEY



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LES BARICADES MISTERIEUSES (AFTER FRANCOIS COUPERIN), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In this unsought and lonely glade
Last Line: In night that closes everything.


FOR J. A. FULLER-MAITLAND

IN this unsought and lonely glade
That closes with a twilit shade
Is some retreating presence near;
Has someone gone away from here?
Though all is still, that quiet veil
Of misty green is thrilled and pale;
As though it has been moved, a thin
Hesitant light has crept within,
And one spray stirs with restless leaves
That seem brushed back by trailing sleeves
Or green and trailing skirts withdrawn.
Press on ward through the hush, press on
Past the green shadow and the touch
Of fingering leaves that know so much
Of what they hide, of what they met
Three breaths ago, and reach and fret
As though at last they still might stay
That presence moving still away.
The green veil closes in and drops
Behind us, and the empty copse
Widens and leaves another dell
Where the far tree-tides break and swell
But never surge across the space
Where the tall brackens interlace
At such a height that in between
Lovers might stand and clasp unseen;
Yet it is less than human breathing
Wandering in their feathery wreathing
Which sways the frondy plumes so slightly
That burning moths can lie there lightly
And sleep although a wing may lift.
What is it, then, that seems to shift
Deep down the dell? A closing veil
Is dim and shivering and pale,
As though some marvel vanished there
Of gleaming face and shadowy hair.
Who is she? What of her is known?
Press onward through the hush, press on
Through the green shadow and the dropped
Leafage whose voices lately stopped.
Is this another glade, or is
Night rising with its mysteries
On either hand? Frail glow-worms shine
Except where feet not yours or mine
Have dimmed them. Is there no one here?
Why does a sudden night-jar shear
The twilight soundlessly if none
Has startled him? Press on, press on,
Lest this new veil each moment dimmer
Should for a moment move and shimmer
And shew the Spirit of Beauty there
With starry eyes, intent and fair,
Waiting, withdrawing, vanishing
In night that closes everything.





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