Verse > George William Russell > Collected Poems by A.E.
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George William (“A. E.”) Russell (1867–1935).  Collected Poems by A.E.  1913.
 
162. Endurance
 
 
HE bent above: so still her breath
What air she breathed he could not say,
Whether in worlds of life or death:
So softly ebbed away, away,
The life that had been light to him,        5
So fled her beauty leaving dim
The emptying chambers of his heart
Thrilled only by the pang and smart,
The dull and throbbing agony
That suffers still, yet knows not why.        10
Love’s immortality so blind
Dreams that all things with it conjoined
Must share with it immortal day:
But not of this—but not of this—
The touch, the eyes, the laugh, the kiss,        15
Fall from it and it goes its way.
So blind he wept above her clay,
“I did not think that you could die.
Only some veil would cover you
Our loving eyes could still pierce through;        20
And see through dusky shadows still
Move as of old your wild sweet will,
Impatient every heart to win
And flash its heavenly radiance in.”
Though all the worlds were sunk in rest        25
The ruddy star within his breast
Would croon its tale of ancient pain,
Its sorrow that would never wane,
Its memory of the days of yore
Moulded in beauty evermore.        30
Ah, immortality so blind,
To dream all things with it conjoined
Must follow it from star to star
And share with it immortal years.
The memory, yearning, grief, and tears,        35
Fall from it and it goes afar.
He walked at night along the sands,
He saw the stars dance overhead,
He had no memory of the dead,
But lifted up exultant hands        40
To hail the future like a boy,
The myriad paths his feet might press.
Unhaunted by old tenderness
He felt an inner secret joy—
A spirit of unfettered will        45
Through light and darkness moving still
Within the All to find its own,
To be immortal and alone.
 

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