Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FRIENDS, by OLIVE TILFORD DARGAN



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FRIENDS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There's one comes often as the sun
Last Line: I sometimes see across the world—a room.
Alternate Author Name(s): Burke, Fielding
Subject(s): Friendship; Man-woman Relationships; Male-female Relations


THERE'S one comes often as the sun
And fills my room with morning; comes with step
Light as a youth's that joy has hurried home.
If he should greet my cheek, so might a wind
Blow roses till they touch, silk leaf to leaf,
And on their beauty leave no deeper dye;
But with that touch an old world is untombed,
Gay, festal-gowned; and two with nuptial eyes
Walk arm-locked there, flinging the curls of Greece
From proud, smooth brows. As trapped between two throbs,
Their laughter dies in silent passion's kiss;
And I from glow of ancient dust look up
To meet the untroubled eyes of my friend's bride,
Her pretty, depthless eyes that smile and smile
Possessingly, not grudging alien me
A footstool place about her sceptred love.
And I, too, from imperial largess, smile.

Another comes more rarely than new moon,
And always with a flower,—one; pours tea
Like an old picture softly made alive,
Sings me a ballad that once teased the ears
Of golden Bess, and reads the book I love.
If he must journey, first he comes to lay
Knight-service on my hand; no passion then
More swift than when a last cool petal falls
To faded summer grass; but as he goes
I see a girl deep in a forest lane,
A narrow lane dark-roofed with locking firs;
And there are purple foxgloves shoulder high,
And round the girl's knees Canterbury bells.
Upon the air is scent of wounded trees,
As though a storm had passed there, and great owls
Ruffle a shade unloved of birds that sing.
But at the green lane's end, far down
A bit of heart-shaped sun tells where the road
Lies wide and open; on the sun the still
Dark shadow of a steed: and by the girl
One who shall ride,—unvisored now, and pale.
"And when I come," he says, to me who know
He'll come that way no more; then hear my door
Closed softly on a sob ten centuries old.

And there is one whom never sun or moon
Brings to my gate; but when amid a throng
That fills some worldly room I see him pass.
The light about me is of regions where
Cold peaks are blue against a colder sky,
And in the dusk-line where begins the Doubt
Men call the Known, we stand in wingless pause,
Unheavened weariness in untaught feet,
And in our hearts sad longing for the fire
Of stars from whence we came. "The earth," he says,
And warms in his my hand amazed to lie
In strange, near comfort,—blossom of first pain.
Then low we dip into the clinging night
That is the Lethe of God-memories;
Stumble and sink in chains of time and sense
Tangle in treacheries of a weed-hung globe,
And tread the dun, dim verges of defeat
Till spirit chafes to vision, and we learn
What morning is, and where the way of love.
In that gold dawn we part, knowing at last
That earth can not divide us. With a smile
He goes, and Fate leads not but runs before
Like an indulgèd child. That smile again
I sometimes see across the world—a room.





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