Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, GAVOTTE IN D MINOR, by AMY LOWELL



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GAVOTTE IN D MINOR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: She wore purple, and when other people slept
Last Line: And the ruffling of her train against the stones.


She wore purple, and when other people slept
She stept lightly -- lightly -- in her ruby powdered slippers
Along the flags of the East portico.
And the moon slowly rifting the heights of cloud
Touched her face so that she bowed
Her head, and held her hand to her eyes
To keep the white shining from her. And she was wise,
For gazing at the moon was like looking on her own dead face
Passing alone in a wide place,
Chill and uncosseted, always above
The hot protuberance of life. Love to her
Was morning and a great stir
Of trumpets and tire-women and sharp sun.
As she had begun, so she would end,
Walking alone to the last bend
Where the portico turned the wall.
And her slipper's sound
Was scarce as loud upon the ground
As her tear's fall.
Her long white fingers crisped and clung
Each to each, and her weary tongue
Rattled always the same cold speech:
"Gold was not made to lie in grass,
Silver dints at the touch of brass,
The days pass."

Lightly, softly, wearily,
The lady paces, drearily
Listening to the half-shrill croon
Leaves make on a moony Autumn night
When the windy light
Runs over the ivy eerily.

A branch at the corner cocks an obscene eye
As she passes -- passes -- by and by --
A hand stretches out from a column's edge,
Faces float in a phosphorent wedge
Through the points of arches, and there is speech
In the caryen roof-groins out of reach.
A love-word, a lust-word, shivers and mocks
The placid stroke of the village clocks.
Does the lady hear?
Is any one near?
She jeers at life, must she wed instead
The cold dead?
A marriage-bed of moist green mould.
With an over-head tester of beaten gold.
A splendid price for a splendid scorn,
A tombstone pedigree snarled with thorn
Clouding the letters and the fleur-de-lis,
She will have them in granite for her heart's chill ease.

I set the candle in a draught of air
And watched it swale to the last thin flare.
They laid her in a fair chamber hung with arras,
And they wept her virgin soul.
The arras was woven of the story of Minos and Dictynna.
But I grieved that I could no longer hear the shuffle of her feet along the portico,
And the ruffling of her train against the stones.





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