A faint, sickening scent of irises
Persists all morning. Here in a jar on the table
A fine proud spike of purple irises
Rising up in the class-room litter, makes me unable
To see the class’s lifted and bended faces
Save in a broken pattern, amid purple and gold and sable.
I can smell the bog-end, gorgeous in its breathless
Dazzle of may-blobs, where the marigold glare overcast you
With fire on your cheeks and your brow and your chin as you dipped
Your face in the marigold bunch, to touch and contrast you,
Your own dark mouth with the bridal faint lady-smocks,
And the kingcups’ glisten, that shall long outlast you.
You amid the bog-end’s yellow incantation,
You sitting in the cowslips of the meadow above,
Me, your shadow on the bog-flame flowery may-blobs,
Me full length in the cowslips, muttering you love;
You, your soul like a lady-smock, lost, evanescent,
You with your face all rich, like the sheen on a dove!
You are always asking, do I remember, remember
The buttercup bog-end where the flowers rose up
And glazed you over with a sheen of gold?
You ask me, do the healing days close up
The gulf that came between us, and drew us in?
Do they wipe away the gloom the gulf throws up?
You upon the dry, dead beech-leaves, once more, only once
Taken like a sacrifice, in the night invisible;
Only the darkness, and the scent of you! —
And yes, thank God, it still is possible
The healing days shall close the dark gulf up
Wherein we fainted like a smoke or dew!
Like vapour, dew, or poison! Now, thank God,
The last year’s fire is gone, and your face is ash;
And the gulf that came between you, woman, and me, man,
That day, is half grown over, it need not abash
Either of us any more; henceforth we can
Forget each other and the bruise of our bodies’ clash.