Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XXXII. Visions
The Apparition
By Stephen Phillips (1868–1915)
 
I
MY dead Love came to me, and said:
  ‘God gives me one hour’s rest,
To spend upon the earth with thee:
  How shall we spend it best?’
 
‘Why as of old,’ I said, and so        5
  We quarrelled as of old.
But when I turned to make my peace,
  That one short hour was told.
 
II
Nine nights she did not come to me:
  The heaven was filled with rain;        10
And as it fell, and fell, I said,
  ‘She will not come again.’
 
Last night she came, not as before,
  But in a strange attire;
Weary she seemed, and very faint,        15
  As though she came from fire.
 
III
She is not happy! It was noon;
  The sun fell on my head:
And it was not an hour in which
  We think upon the dead.        20
 
She is not happy! I should know
  Her voice, much more her cry;
And close beside me a great rose
  Had just begun to die.
 
She is not happy! As I walked,        25
  Of her I was aware:
She cried out, like a creature hurt,
  Close by me in the air.
 
IV
Under the trembling summer stars,
  I turned from side to side;        30
When she came in and sat with me,
  As though she had not died.
 
And she was kind to me and sweet,
  She had her ancient way;
Remembered how I liked her hand        35
  Amid my hair to stray.
 
She had forgotten nothing, yet
  Older she seemed, and still:
All quietly she took my kiss,
  Even as a mother will.        40
 
She rose, and in the streak of dawn
  She turned as if to go:
But then again came back to me;
  My eyes implored her so!
 
She pushed the hair from off my brow,        45
  And looked into my eyes.
‘I live in calm,’ she said, ‘and there
  Am learning to be wise.
 
‘Why grievest thou? I pity thee
  Still turning on this bed.’        50
‘And art thou happy?’ I exclaimed.
  ‘Alas!’ she sighed, and fled.
 
V
I woke; she had been standing by,
  With wonder on her face.
She came toward me, very bright,        55
  As from a blessèd place.
 
She touched me not, but smiling spoke,
  And softly as before.
‘They gave me drink from some slow stream;
  I love thee now no more.’        60
 
VI
The other night she hurried in,
  Her face was wild with fear:
‘Old friend,’ she said, ‘I am pursued,
  May I take refuge here?’
 
 
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