Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SONNETS OF A REMEMBERED SUMMER, by MERRILL MOORE



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SONNETS OF A REMEMBERED SUMMER, by            
First Line: You are mistaken in your naive guessing
Last Line: Is all this knowledge and all this loneliness.
Subject(s): Memory; Summer


I

You are mistaken in your naive guessing
That novelty is now my chief desire.
You fail to see the thing that I am stressing
Is not these ashes but the former fire.
Some men, you say, have simpler ways for knowing
Than one who would wander in a backward path
Like undecided winds about their blowing
In spite of storms and winter's gusty wrath?

That may be, I am not one for denying
The things that were for those that cannot be,
And I regret that there is any sighing
Instead of wanton laughter over me,
So I say humbly of a race of men,
No, nothing new, only the old again.

II

You have a new voice from that other one,
The one I knew last summer and recognized
The moment I picked up the telephone,
The one that changed then, leaving me surprised,
The old voice of beaches and grey sands
And white sails in the distance growing dimmer,
Of stout sea-grass and sturdy sea-washed lands,
Of ocean, and a certain silent summer.

The new voice has an unsure note for me,
A note of the dawn-call of the golden plover,
A welling note of constant inconstancy
Like that of a frightened sea-gull winging over,
Or like a remembered song I might have heard
Meshed in the night cry of a hidden bird.

III

If you would ask me, then I might see reason
For answering lightly in another mood
That I'd seen twilights of another season
That moved less hurriedly my sordid blood,
That evening came down softly for me once
From silent heavens, before unheeding eyes,
Shouting no story with its bold magnificence,
Claiming no share of the sunset's glorious dyes.

But I would lie -- there could have been no silence
Nor is there now, for all the new-lit heaven
And all the late-lit earth make one far flame
That outbreasts time and overtowers distance.
Burning one face there, and the twilight even,
Even the diffident twilight sings one name!

IV

You are away . . . tomorrow you shall return
Then it will seem right that it be Spring again,
Spring may with justice bring her silver rain
To cool the sky, her golden sun to burn
The earth to bloom, and I will not complain
Whatever lovely way her feet may turn,
I see stout reasons that I can maintain
When you are here . . . tomorrow you return . . .

You have not come. Tomorrow's bread is bitterness.
Tomorrow's April air is sour wine,
Today . . . I dare not look upon today,
Remembering that the pillars of yesterday
Crumbled because you did not touch them . . . mine
Is all this knowledge and all this loneliness.





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