Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RECOLLECTIONS, by ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE



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First Line: Years upon years, as a course of clouds that thicken
Last Line: Years upon years.
Subject(s): Love; Night; Roundels; Stars; Bedtime


I.

YEARS upon years, as a course of clouds that thicken
Thronging the ways of the wind that shifts and veers,
Pass, and the flames of remembered fires requicken
Years upon years.

Surely the thought in a man's heart hopes or fears
Now that forgetfulness needs must here have stricken
Anguish, and sweetened the sealed-up springs of tears.

Ah, but the strength of regret that strain and sicken,
Yearning for love that the veil of death endears,
Slackens not wing for the wings of years that quicken --
Years upon years.

II.

Years upon years, and the flame of love's high altar
Trembles and sinks, and the sense of listening ears
Heeds not the sound that it heard of love's blithe psalter.
Years upon years.

Only the sense of heart that hearkens hears,
Louder than dreams that assail and doubts that palter,
Sorrow that slept and that wakes ere sundawn peers.

Wakes, that the heart may behold, and yet not falter,
Faces of children as stars unknown of, spheres
Seen but of love, that endures though ail things alter,
Years upon years.

III.

Years upon years, as a watch by night that passes,
Pass, and the light of their eyes is fire that sears
Slowly the hopes of the fruit that life amasses
Years upon years.

Pale as the glimmer of stars on moorland meres
Lighten the shadows reverberate from the glasses
Held in their hands as they pass among their peers.

Lights that are shadows, as ghosts on graveyard grasses,
Moving on paths that the moon of memory cheers,
Show but as mists over cloudy mountain passes
Years upon years.





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