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But suddenly, afar, beyond the wood,
Beyond the dark pall of my brooding thought,
I saw lights cluster like a swarm of wasps
Among the branches caught.
“The inn l’” I cried, and on his living flesh
My broncho felt the lash and neighed with eagerness.
And all this time the cool and quiet wood
Uttered no sound, as though it understood.
Until there came to me upon the night
A voice so clear, so clear, so ringing sweet!—
A voice as of a woman, and her song
Dropped like soft music winging at my feet,
And seemed a sigh that, with my spirit blending,
Lengthened and lengthened out, and had no ending.
And through the empty silence of the night,
And through the quiet of the hills, I heard
That music; and the sounds the night wind bore me,
Like spirit voices from an unseen world,
Came drifting o'er me.
I curbed my horse, to catch what she might say:
“At night they come, and they are gone by day.”
And then another voice, with low refrain
And untold tenderness, took up the strain:
“Oh, love is but an inn upon life's way—
At night they come, and they are gone by day.”
Their voices mingled in that wistful lay.
Then I dismounted and stretched out my length
Beside a pool, and while my mind was bent
Upon that mystery within the wood
My eyes grew heavy and my strength was spent.
And so I slept there, huddled in my cloak.
And now, when by untrodden paths I go
Through the dim forest, no repose I know
At any inn at nightfall, but apart
I sleep beneath the stars, for through my heart
Echoes the burden of that wistful lay:
“At night they come, and they are gone by day;
And love is but an inn upon life's way.”
A coat of silk, cheap jewels he loves to flaunt,
Some tawdry lace that serves him for a frill:
He grasps a pistol butt, and seems to taunt
The world and grip it in his ugly will.
Striding his bronco with its braided tail,
Crowned by a hat that tapers to a cone—
One feels no bribe nor violence could prevail
To make him change his saddle for a throne.
Proud of his seat, he cracks his rawhide lash.
The brute obeys, a spark flies from his hoof,
He plunges; and with pistol at his sash
His master strides him, haughty and aloof.
These seem no man and horse in mortal strife,
But some Olympic figure come to life.
Deep in the wood, of scent and song the daughter,
Perfect and bright is the magnolia born;
White as a flake of foam upon still water,
White as soft fleece upon rough brambles torn.
Hers is a cup a workman might have fashioned
Of Grecian marble in an age remote.
Hers is a beauty perfect and impassioned,
As when a woman bares her rounded throat.
There is a tale of how the moon, her lover,
Holds her enchanted by some magic spell;
Something about a dove that broods above her,
Or dies within her breast—I cannot tell.
I cannot say where I have heard the story,
Upon what poet's lips; but this I know :
Her heart is like a pearl's, or like the glory
Of moonbeams frozen on the spotless snow. /
José Santos Chocano
Translated by John Pierrepont Rice .
I have seen old roofs,
Broken for winds to enter, -
All their secrets flown like homing birds.
It seemed to o were like broken words.
They babbled, inarticulate, of men
Who came and went and will not come again.
They were full of whispers and of shadows,
Provisioned for a dream's viaticum.
These only had a voice,
All, all the other roofs were dumb'
Under an old roof I went one day,
But there was naught to see.
Singing, silken drapery
Went down the hall with me.
I was aware
Of feet upon the stair;
Soft laughter and a little sound of tears,
Muffled by many years.
It was the roof, the broken roof, that sung.
The living roofs were silent,
But the dead roof had a tongue!
All the men of Harbury go down to the sea in ships, The wind upon their faces, the salt upon their lips.
The little boys of Harbury when they are laid to sleep, Dream of masts and cabins and the wonders of the deep.
The women-folk of Harbury have eyes like the sea,
Wide with watching wonder, deep with mystery. ~
I met a woman: “Beyond the bar,” she said,
“Beyond the shallow water where the green lines spread,
“Out beyond the sand-bar and the white spray,
My three sons wait for the Judgment Day.”
I saw an old man who goes to sea no more,
Watch from morn till evening down on the shore.
“The sea's a hard mistress,” the old man said;
“The sea is always hungry and never full fed.
“The sea had my father and took my son from me— Sometimes I think I see them, walking on the sea!
“I’d like to be in Harbury on the Judgment Day, When the word is spoken and the sea is wiped away,