My Little Dreams
I’m folding up my little dreams
Within my heart tonight,
And praying I may soon forget
The torture of their sight.
For time’s deft fingers scroll my brow
With fell relentless art—
I’m folding up my little dreams
Tonight, within my heart.
BENEATH the flat and paper sky
The sun, a demon’s eye,
Glowed through the air, that mask of glass;
All wand’ring sounds that pass
Seemed out of tune, as if the light
Were fiddle-strings pulled tight.
The market-square with spire and bell
Clanged out the hour in Hell;
The busy chatter of the heat
Shrilled like a parakeet;
And shuddering at the noonday light
The dust lay dead and white
As powder on a mummy’s face,
Or fawned with simian grace
Round booths with many a hard bright toy
And wooden brittle joy:
The cap and bells of Time the Clown
That, jangling, whistled down
Young cherubs hidden in the guise
Of every bird that flies;
And star-bright masks for youth to wear,
Lest any dream that fare
–Bright pilgrim–past our ken, should see
Hints of Reality.
Upon the sharp-set grass, shrill-green,
Tall trees like rattles lean,
And jangle sharp and dissily;
But when night falls they sign
Till Pierrot moon steals slyly in,
His face more white than sin,
Black-masked, and with cool touch lays bare
Each cherry, plum, and pear.
Then underneath the veiled eyes
Of houses, darkness lies–
Tall houses; like a hopeless prayer
They cleave the sly dumb air.
Blind are those houses, paper-thin
Old shadows hid therein,
With sly and crazy movements creep
Like marionettes, and weep.
Tall windows show Infinity;
And, hard reality,
The candles weep and pry and dance
Like lives mocked at by Chance.
The rooms are vast as Sleep within;
When once I ventured in,
Chill Silence, like a surging sea,
Slowly enveloped me.
"Fire and Sleet and Candlelight" by ELINOR MORTON WYLIE For this you’ve striven Daring, to fail: Your sky is riven Like a tearing veil. For this, you’ve wasted Wings of your youth; Divined, and tasted Bitter springs of truth. From sand unslakèd Twisted strong cords, And wandered naked Among trysted swords. There’s a word unspoken, A knot untied. Whatever is broken The earth may hide. The road was jagged Over sharp stones: Your body’s too ragged To cover your bones. The wind scatters Tears upon dust; Your soul’s in tatters Where the spears thrust. Your race is ended— See, it is run: Nothing is mended Under the sun. Straight as an arrow You fall to a sleep Not too narrow And not too deep.
"By Candlelight" BY EDITH SITWELL
Houses red as flower of bean, Flickering leaves and shadows lean! Pantalone, like a parrot, Sat and grumbled in the garret— Sat and growled and grumbled till Moon upon the window-sill Like a red geranium Scented his bald cranium. Said Brighella, meaning well: “Pack your box and—go to Hell! Heat will cure your rheumatism!” . . . Silence crowned this optimism— Not a sound and not a wail: But the fire (lush leafy vales) Watched the angry feathers fly. Pantalone ’gan to cry— Could not, would not, pack his box! Shadows (curtseying hens and cocks) Pecking in the attic gloom Tried to smother his tail-plume . . . Till a cockscomb candle-flame Crowing loudly, died: Dawn came.
The night was dark and fearful,
The blast swept wailing by;
A Watcher, pale and tearful,
Look’d forth with anxious eye;
How wistfully she gazes—
No gleam of morn is there!
And then her heart upraises
Its agony of prayer!
Within that dwelling lonely,
Where want and darkness reign,
Her precious child, her only,
Lay moaning in his pain;
And death alone can free him—
She feels that this must be:
“But oh! for morn to see him
Smile once again for me!”
A hundred lights are glancing
In yonder mansion fair,
And merry feet are dancing—
They heed not morning there.
Oh! young and lovely creatures,
One lamp, from out your store,
Would give that poor boy’s features
To her fond gaze once more.
The morning sun is shining—
She heedeth not its ray;
Beside her dead, reclining,
That pale, dead mother lay!
A smile her lip was wreathing,
A smile of hope and love,
As though she still were breathing—
“There’s light for us above!”
"Bells in the Rain" by Elinor Wylie Sleep falls, with limpid drops of rain, Upon the steep cliffs of the town. Sleep falls; men are at peace again While the small drops fall softly down. The bright drops ring like bells of glass Thinned by the wind; and lightly blown; Sleep cannot fall on peaceful grass So softly as it falls on stone. Peace falls unheeded on the dead Asleep; they have had deep peace to drink; Upon a live man’s bloody head It falls most tenderly, I think.