Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IF ONE WERE TO KEEP...., by CHARLES VILDRAC



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

IF ONE WERE TO KEEP...., by             Poet's Biography
First Line: If one were to keep for many years and days
Last Line: That I would call for death -- with a great cry! . . .
Alternate Author Name(s): Messager, Charle
Subject(s): Autumn; Birds; Death; Kisses; Sea; Seasons; Women; Fall; Dead, The; Ocean


IF one were to keep for many years and days,
If one were to keep the lithe and fragrant grace
Of all the hair of women who are dead,
All the blond hair and all the hair of white,
Tresses of gold and coils the hue of night,
And hair of bronze like Autumn's foliage dead,
If one kept these for many years and days,
And wove long veils of them that were to be
Stretched out across the sea,
So many would be stretched over the sea,
So many coils of red, so many tresses bright,
So many silken strands in the sunlight
Would glitter or in billowing breezes play,
That the great birds who fly over the sea
Would often feel, the shadowy birds of grey,
On wing and plumage there,
The kisses ever breathing from this hair,
The many kisses given to this hair,
And then in the great winds blown far away.

If one were to keep for many years and days,
If one were to keep the lithe and fragrant grace
Of all the hair of women who are dead,
All the blond hair and all the hair of white,
Tresses of gold and coils the hue of night,
And hair of bronze like Autumn's foliage dead,
If one kept these for many years and days,
And twisted ropes of dark and gold and red,
And tethered then
To the great links all earth's imprisoned men,
And bade the prisoners go forth again
Far as the lithe rope led --
The ropes would stretch so far on hill and plain
From all dark thresholds out through sun and rain,
That if all prisoners in the world went forth,
Each, wandering South or North,
Would reach his home again.

If Clotho on her busy distaff spun
Instead of my brief life's soon ended thread
The long hair and the heavy of women dead,
Hair dark as rust, hair radiant as the sun,
Hair as the raven's wing,
Or argent as the birches are in Spring,
If Clotho on her busy distaff spun
All tresses of all women who are dead,
I should be lone, so weary and so old,
In a high tower with no thing to behold
And no hope any coming thing to see,
And so bowed down with heavy memory
Of all who had to die,
That I would call for Death -- with a great cry! . . .





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