Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IN PRAISE OF ABRIGADA, by LEONORA SPEYER



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IN PRAISE OF ABRIGADA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I had been told
Last Line: With abrigada's gesture toward the sky.


I had been told
A foolish tale --
Of stone -- dank -- cold:
But you,
Held to wide winter storm,
To clutch of blackening frost and ocean gale,
Are warm!

I thought that stone was silent too,
Unmoved by beauty,
Unaware of season or of mirth:
But I hear laughter, singing, as I lay
My face against your gray;
Surely I hear the ritual of far waves
And scent their winging spray,
Mixed with wild-rose and honeysuckle,
Budding sassafras,
And the cool breath of pungent, leafy bay.

I knew that walls were sheltering
And strong;
But you have sheltered love so long
That love is part
Of your high towering,
Lifting you higher still,
As heart lifts heart. . . .

Hush!
How the whip-poor-will
Wails from his bush:
The thrush
Grows garrulous with delight!
There is a rapture in that liquid monotone,
"Bob White! Bob -- White!"
Dear living stone!
. . . . . . . .
In the great room below,
Where arches hold the listening spaces,
Flames crackle, leap and gleam
In the deep fire-places;
Memories dream . . .
Of other memories, perhaps,
Of gentle lives,
Of births, and of those other births that men call death,
Of voices, foot-steps tapping the stone floor,
And faces . . . faces . . .

Beyond, the open door,
The meadows drowsy with the moon,
The faint outline of dune,
The lake, the silver magic in the trees:
Walls, you are one with these!
. . . . . . . .
High on the loggia-roof,
Under the stars as pale as they,
Two silent ones have crept away,
Seeking the deeper silence lovers know:
Into the radiant shadows of the night,
Into the aching beauty of the night,
They dare to go!

The moon
Is a vast cocoon,
Spinning her wild, white thread
Across the sky.
A thousand crickets croon
Their sharp-edged lullaby.
I hear a murmuring of lips on lips:
"All that I am, beloved!
All!" --
Lovers' eternal cry!
Lift them still higher, wall!
. . . . . . . .
You stand serene:
The great winds linger, lean
Upon your breast;
The mist
Lifts up a gray face to be kissed;
The east and west
Hang you with banners,
Flaunt their bold victories of dusk and dawn;
Seasons salute you as they pass,
Call to you and are gone.
Amid your meadow-grass
Lush, green,
You stand serene.
. . . . . . . .
Houses, like hearts, are living, loving,
Joyful or woeful,
Forget or are forgot;
Houses, like tired hearts,
Sicken at last, and die,
Crumble and rot:
But they who know you, Abrigada,
They -- and I --
Forget you not!

Nor they who stand on Abrigada's roof,
Glowing, aloof!
. . . . . . . .
Come with me now,
Climb with me, stand, look down
In new content of mood,
Withdrawn from clasp of crowd
And tangle of the town!
Climb swifter still --
From safe companionship of cloud
The deeper to look down!

Not back!
Forget the thirst, the sordid cup,
The plethora, the piteous lack;
Forget the trafficking in tears,
The arrogance of scars.
Look up . . .
To dream undaunted dreams aloud,
And stumble toward the stars!
. . . . . . . .
This be in praise
Of Abrigada;
In all the ways
That come to me
Through the wise, wistful summer days.

In speech, in rhyme and rhythm of word --
Call it a poem, maybe!

In song -- tuck the brown shining wood
Under my chin!
Call it my bird,
My heart,
My violin!
In prayer . . .
In dream . . .
In silence, best of all,
Leaning on the beloved dew-drenched wall.
Leaning and lifting . . .
High . . .
With Abrigada's gesture toward the sky.





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