Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
To Celia
By Witter Bynner
 
I—CONSUMMATION

THERE was a strangeness on your lips,
  Lips that had been so sure;
You still were mine but in eclipse,
  Beside me but obscure.
 
There was a cloud upon your heart;        5
  For, Celia, where you lay,
Death, come to break your life apart,
  Had led your love away.
 
Through the cold distance of your eyes
  You could no longer see.        10
But when you died, you heard me rise
  And followed suddenly.
 
And close beside me, looking down
  As I did on the dead,
You made of time a wedding-gown,        15
  Of space a marriage-bed.
 
I took, in you, death for a wife,
  You married death in me,
Singing, “There is no other life,
  No other God than we!”        20
 
II—DURING A CHORALE BY CESAR FRANCK

In an old chamber softly lit
  We heard the Chorale played,
And where you sat, an exquisite
Image of Life and lover of it,
  Death sang a serenade.        25
 
I know now, Celia, what you heard,
  And why you turned and smiled.
It was the white wings of a bird
Offering flight, and you were stirred
  Like an adventurous child.        30
 
Death sang: “O lie upon your bier,
  Uplift your countenance!”
Death bade me be your cavalier,
Called me to march and shed no tear
  But sing to you and dance.        35
 
And when you followed, lured and led
  By those mysterious wings,
And when I heard that you were dead,
I could not weep. I sang instead,
  As a true lover sings.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .
Today a room is softly lit;
        40
  I hear the Chorale played.
And where you come, an exquisite
Image of death and lover of it,
  Life sings a serenade.        45
 
III—SONGS ASCENDING

Love has been sung a thousand ways—
  So let it be;
The songs ascending in your praise
Through all my days
  Are three.        50
 
Your cloud-white body first I sing;
  Your love was heaven’s blue,
And I, a bird, flew carolling
In ring on ring
  Of you.        55
 
Your nearness is the second song;
  When God began to be,
And bound you strongly, right or wrong,
With his own thong,
  To me.        60
 
But oh, the song, eternal, high,
  That tops these two!—
You live forever, you who die,
I am not I
  But you.        65
 
 
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