In this category:

Or see the index

All categories

  1. CINEMA, RADIO & TV
  2. DANCE
  3. DICTIONARY OF IDEAS
  4. EXHIBITION – art, art history, photos, paintings, drawings, sculpture, ready-mades, video, performing arts, collages, gallery, etc.
  5. FICTION & NON-FICTION – books, booklovers, lit. history, biography, essays, translations, short stories, columns, literature: celtic, beat, travesty, war, dada & de stijl, drugs, dead poets
  6. FLEURSDUMAL POETRY LIBRARY – classic, modern, experimental & visual & sound poetry, poetry in translation, city poets, poetry archive, pre-raphaelites, editor's choice, etc.
  7. LITERARY NEWS & EVENTS – art & literature news, in memoriam, festivals, city-poets, writers in Residence
  8. MONTAIGNE
  9. MUSEUM OF LOST CONCEPTS – invisible poetry, conceptual writing, spurensicherung
  10. MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY – department of ravens & crows, birds of prey, riding a zebra
  11. MUSEUM OF PUBLIC PROTEST- photos, texts, videos, street poetry
  12. MUSIC
  13. PRESS & PUBLISHING
  14. REPRESSION OF WRITERS, JOURNALISTS & ARTISTS
  15. STORY ARCHIVE – olv van de veestraat, reading room, tales for fellow citizens
  16. STREET POETRY
  17. THEATRE
  18. TOMBEAU DE LA JEUNESSE – early death: writers, poets & artists who died young
  19. ULTIMATE LIBRARY – danse macabre, ex libris, grimm and others, fairy tales, the art of reading, tales of mystery & imagination, sherlock holmes theatre, erotic poetry, the ideal woman
  20. ·




  1. Subscribe to new material:
    RSS     ATOM

Levy, Amy

· Amy Levy: Ballade of a Special Edition · Amy Levy: Borderland · Amy Levy: Christopher Found · Amy Levy: A Farewell · Amy Levy: To Vernon Lee · Amy Levy: Ballade of an Omnibus · Amy Levy: A June-Tide Echo · Amy Levy: Epitaph · Amy Levy: A Greek Girl · Amy Levy: A March Day in London · Amy Levy: A London Plane-Tree

Amy Levy: Ballade of a Special Edition

Amy Levy

(1861-1889)

 

Ballade of a Special Edition

 

He comes; I hear him up the street–

Bird of ill omen, flapping wide

The pinion of a printed sheet,

His hoarse note scares the eventide.

Of slaughter, theft, and suicide

He is the herald and the friend;

Now he vociferates with pride–

A double murder in Mile End!

 

A hanging to his soul is sweet;

His gloating fancy’s fain to bide

Where human-freighted vessels meet,

And misdirected trains collide.

With Shocking Accidents supplied,

He tramps the town from end to end.

How often have we heard it cried–

A double murder in Mile End.

 

War loves he; victory or defeat,

So there be loss on either side.

His tale of horrors incomplete,

Imagination’s aid is tried.

Since no distinguished man has died,

And since the Fates, relenting, send

No great catastrophe, he’s spied

This double murder in Mile End.

 

Fiend, get thee gone! no more repeat

Those sounds which do mine ears offend.

It is apocryphal, you cheat,

Your double murder in Mile End.

 

Amy Levy poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Amy Levy, Archive K-L, Levy, Amy


Amy Levy: Borderland

Amy Levy

(1861-1889)

 

Borderland

Am I waking, am I sleeping?

As the first faint dawn comes creeping

Thro’ the pane, I am aware

Of an unseen presence hovering,

Round, above, in the dusky air:

A downy bird, with an odorous wing,

That fans my forehead, and sheds perfume,

As sweet as love, as soft as death,

Drowsy-slow through the summer-gloom.

My heart in some dream-rapture saith,

It is she. Half in a swoon,

I spread my arms in slow delight.–

O prolong, prolong the night,

For the nights are short in June!

 

Amy Levy poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Amy Levy, Archive K-L, Levy, Amy


Amy Levy: Christopher Found

Amy Levy

(1861-1889)

Christopher Found


I

At last; so this is you, my dear!

How should I guess to find you here?

So long, so long, I sought in vain

In many cities, many lands,

With straining eyes and groping hands;

The people marvelled at my pain.

They said: “But sure, the woman’s mad;

What ails her, we should like to know,

That she should be so wan and sad,

And silent through the revels go?”

They clacked with such a sorry stir!

Was I to tell? were they to know

That I had lost you, Christopher?

Will you forgive me for one thing?

Whiles, when a stranger came my way,

My heart would beat and I would say :

” Here’s Christopher!” –then lingering

With longer gaze, would turn away

Cold, sick at heart. My dear, I know

You will forgive me for this thing.

It is so very long ago

Since I have seen your face–till now;

Now that I see it–lip and brow,

Eyes, nostril, chin, alive and clear;

Last time was long ago; I know

This thing you will forgive me, dear.

 

II

There is no Heaven–This is the best;

O hold me closer to your breast;

Let your face lean upon my face,

That there no longer shall be space

Between our lips, between our eyes.

I feel your bosom’s fall and rise.

O hold me near and yet more near;

Ah sweet ; I wonder do you know

How lone and cold, how sad and drear,

Was I a little while ago;

Sick of the stress, the strife, the stir;

But I have found you, Christopher.

 

III

If only you had come before!

(This is the thing I most deplore)

A seemlier woman you had found,

More calm, by courtesies more bound,

Less quick to greet you, more subdued

Of appetite; of slower mood.

But ah! you come so late, so late!

This time of day I can’t pretend

With slight, sweet things to satiate

The hunger-cravings. Nay, my friend,

I cannot blush and turn and tremble,

Wax loth as younger maidens do.

Ah, Christopher, with you, with you,

You would not wish me to dissemble?

 

IV

So long have all the days been meagre,

With empty platter, empty cup,

No meats nor sweets to do me pleasure,

That if I crave–is it over-eager,

The deepest draught, the fullest measure,

The beaker to the brim poured up?

 

V

Shelley, that sprite from the spheres above,

Says, and would make the matter clear,

That love divided is larger love;–

We’ll leave those things to the bards, my dear.

For you never wrote a verse, you see;

And I–my verse is not fair nor new.

Till the world be dead, you shall love but me,

Till the stars have ceased, I shall love but you.

 

EPILOGUE

Thus ran the words; or rather, thus did run

Their purport. Idly seeking in the chest

(You see it yonder), I had found them there:

Some blotted sheets of paper in a case,

With a woman’s name writ on it: “Adelaide.”

Twice on the writing there was scored the date

Of ten years back; and where the words had end

Was left a space, a dash, a half-writ word,

As tho’ the writer minded, presently

The matter to pursue.

I questioned her,

That worthy, worthy soul, my châtelaine,

Who, nothing loth, made answer.

There had been

Another lodger ere I had the rooms,

Three months gone by–a woman.

“Young, sir ? No.

Must have seen forty if she’d seen a day!

A lonesome woman; hadn’t many friends;

Wrote books, I think, and things for newspapers.

Short in her temper–eyes would flash and flame

At times, till I was frightened. Paid her rent

Most regular, like a lady.

Ten years back,

They say (at least Ann Brown says), ten years back

The lady had a lover. Even then

She must have been no chicken.

Three months since

She died. Well, well, the Lord is kind and just.

I did my best to tend her, yet indeed

It’s bad for trade to have a lodger die.

Her brother came, a week before she died:

Buried her, took her things, threw in the fire

The littered heaps of paper.

Yes, the sheets,

They must have been forgotten in the chest;–

I never knew her name was Adelaide.”

 

Amy Levy poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Amy Levy, Archive K-L, Levy, Amy


Amy Levy: A Farewell

Amy Levy

(1861-1889)

 

A Farewell

(After Heine.)

The sad rain falls from Heaven,
A sad bird pipes and sings ;
I am sitting here at my window
And watching the spires of “King’s.”

O fairest of all fair places,
Sweetest of all sweet towns!
With the birds, and the greyness and greenness,
And the men in caps and gowns.

All they that dwell within thee,
To leave are ever loth,
For one man gets friends, and another
Gets honour, and one gets both.

The sad rain falls from Heaven;
My heart is great with woe–
I have neither a friend nor honour,
Yet I am sorry to go.

 

Amy Levy poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Amy Levy, Levy, Amy


Amy Levy: To Vernon Lee

Amy Levy

(1861-1889)


To Vernon Lee

 

On Bellosguardo, when the year was young,

We wandered, seeking for the daffodil

And dark anemone, whose purples fill

The peasant’s plot, between the corn-shoots sprung.

 

Over the grey, low wall the olive flung

Her deeper greyness ; far off, hill on hill

Sloped to the sky, which, pearly-pale and still,

Above the large and luminous landscape hung.

 

A snowy blackthorn flowered beyond my reach;

You broke a branch and gave it to me there;

I found for you a scarlet blossom rare.

 

Thereby ran on of Art and Life our speech;

And of the gifts the gods had given to each–

Hope unto you, and unto me Despair

 

Amy Levy poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Amy Levy, Archive K-L, Levy, Amy


Amy Levy: Ballade of an Omnibus

Amy Levy

(1861-1889)

Ballade of an Omnibus

“To see my love suffices me.”

Ballades in Blue China

 

Some men to carriages aspire;

On some the costly hansoms wait;

Some seek a fly, on job or hire;

Some mount the trotting steed, elate.

I envy not the rich and great,

A wandering minstrel, poor and free,

I am contented with my fate —

An omnibus suffices me.

 

In winter days of rain and mire

I find within a corner strait;

The ‘busmen know me and my lyre

From Brompton to the Bull-and-Gate.

When summer comes, I mount in state

The topmost summit, whence I see

Crœsus look up, compassionate —

An omnibus suffices me.

 

I mark, untroubled by desire,

Lucullus’ phaeton and its freight.

The scene whereof I cannot tire,

The human tale of love and hate,

The city pageant, early and late

Unfolds itself, rolls by, to be

A pleasure deep and delicate.

An omnibus suffices me.

 

Princess, your splendour you require,

I, my simplicity; agree

Neither to rate lower nor higher.

An omnibus suffices me.

 

Amy Levy poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Amy Levy, Archive K-L, Levy, Amy


Amy Levy: A June-Tide Echo

 

Amy Levy

(1861-1889)

 

A June-Tide Echo

(After a Richter Concert)

 

In the long, sad time, when the sky was grey,

And the keen blast blew through the city drear,

When delight had fled from the night and the day,

My chill heart whispered, ” June will be here!

 

” June with its roses a-sway in the sun,

Its glory of green on mead and tree.”

Lo, now the sweet June-tide is nearly done,

June-tide, and never a joy for me

 

Is it so much of the gods that I pray?

Sure craved man never so slight a boon!

To be glad and glad in my heart one day–

One perfect day of the perfect June.

 

Sweet sounds to-night rose up, wave upon wave;

Sweet dreams were afloat in the balmy air.

This is the boon of the gods that I crave–

To be glad, as the music and night were fair.

 

For once, for one fleeting hour, to hold

The fair shape the music that rose and fell

Revealed and concealed like a veiling fold;

To catch for an instant the sweet June spell.

 

For once, for one hour, to catch and keep

The sweet June secret that mocks my heart;

Now lurking calm, like a thing asleep,

Now hither and thither with start and dart.

 

Then the sick, slow grief of the weary years,

The slow, sick grief and the sudden pain;

The long days of labour, the nights of tears–

No more these things would I hold in vain.

 

I would hold my life as a thing of worth;

Pour praise to the gods for a precious thing.

Lo, June in her fairness is on earth,

And never a joy does the niggard bring.

 

Amy Levy poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Amy Levy, Archive K-L, Levy, Amy


Amy Levy: Epitaph

Amy Levy

(1861-1889)


Epitaph

(On a Commonplace Person Who Died in Bed)

THIS is the end of him, here he lies:
The dust in his throat, the worm in his eyes,
The mould in his mouth, the turf on his breast;
This is the end of him, this is best.
He will never lie on his couch awake,
Wide-eyed, tearless, till dim daybreak.
Never again will he smile and smile
When his heart is breaking all the while.
He will never stretch out his hands in vain
Groping and groping–never again.
Never ask for bread, get a stone instead,
Never pretend that the stone is bread.
Never sway and sway ‘twixt the false and true,
Weighing and noting the long hours through.
Never ache and ache with chok’d-up sighs;
This is the end of him, here he lies.


Amy Levy poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Amy Levy, Archive K-L, Levy, Amy


Amy Levy: A Greek Girl

Amy Levy

(1861-1889)


A Greek Girl

I may not weep, not weep, and he is dead.

A weary, weary weight of tears unshed

Through the long day in my sad heart I bear;

The horrid sun with all unpitying glare

Shines down into the dreary weaving-room,

Where clangs the ceaseless clatter of the loom,

And ceaselessly deft maiden-fingers weave

The fine-wrought web; and I from morn till eve

Work with the rest, and when folk speak to me

I smile hard smiles; while still continually

The silly stream of maiden speech flows on:–

And now at length they talk of him that’s gone,

Lightly lamenting that he died so soon–

Ah me! ere yet his life’s sun stood at noon.

Some praise his eyes, some deem his body fair,

And some mislike the colour of his hair!

Sweet life, sweet shape, sweet eyes, and sweetest hair,

What form, what hue, save Love’s own, did ye wear?

I may not weep, not weep, for very shame.

 

He loved me not. One summer’s eve he came

To these our halls, my father’s honoured guest,

And seeing me, saw not. If his lips had prest

My lips, but once, in love; his eyes had sent

One love-glance into mine, I had been content,

And deemed it great joy for one little life;

Nor envied other maids the crown of wife:

The long sure years, the merry children-band–

Alas, alas, I never touched his hand!

And now my love is dead that loved not me.

 

Thrice-blest, thrice-crowned, of gods thrice-lovèd she–

That other, fairer maid, who tombward brings

Her gold, shorn locks and piled-up offerings

Of fragrant fruits, rich wines, and spices rare,

And cakes with honey sweet, with saffron fair;

And who, unchecked by any thought of shame,

May weep her tears, and call upon his name,

With burning bosom prest to the cold ground,

Knowing, indeed, that all her life is crown’d,

Thrice-crowned, thrice honoured, with that love of his;–

No dearer crown on earth is there, I wis.

 

While yet the sweet life lived, more light to bear

Was my heart’s hunger; when the morn was fair,

And I with other maidens in a line

Passed singing through the city to the shrine,

Oft in the streets or crowded market-place

I caught swift glimpses of the dear-known face;

Or marked a stalwart shoulder in the throng;

Or heard stray speeches as we passed along,

In tones more dear to me than any song.

These, hoarded up with care, and kept apart,

Did serve as meat and drink my hungry heart.

 

And now for ever has my sweet love gone;

And weary, empty days I must drag on,

Till all the days of all my life be sped,

By no thought cheered, by no hope comforted.

For if indeed we meet among the shades,

How shall he know me from the other maids?–

Me, that had died to save his body pain!

 

Alas, alas, such idle thoughts are vain!

O cruel, cruel sunlight, get thee gone!

O dear, dim shades of eve, come swiftly on!

That when quick lips, keen eyes, are closed in sleep,

Through the long night till dawn I then may weep.


Amy Levy poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Amy Levy, Archive K-L, Levy, Amy


Amy Levy: A March Day in London

Amy Levy

(1861-1889)

 

A March Day in London

The east wind blows in the street to-day;
The sky is blue, yet the town looks grey.
‘Tis the wind of ice, the wind of fire,
Of cold despair and of hot desire,
Which chills the flesh to aches and pains,
And sends a fever through all the veins.

From end to end, with aimless feet,
All day long have I paced the street.
My limbs are weary, but in my breast
Stirs the goad of a mad unrest.
I would give anything to stay
The little wheel that turns in my brain;
The little wheel that turns all day,
That turns all night with might and main.

What is the thing I fear, and why?
Nay, but the world is all awry–
The wind’s in the east, the sun’s in the sky.
The gas-lamps gleam in a golden line;
The ruby lights of the hansoms shine,
Glance, and flicker like fire-flies bright;
The wind has fallen with the night,
And once again the town seems fair
Thwart the mist that hangs i’ the air.

And o’er, at last, my spirit steals
A weary peace ; peace that conceals
Within its inner depths the grain
Of hopes that yet shall flower again.

Amy Levy poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Amy Levy, Levy, Amy


Amy Levy: A London Plane-Tree

Amy Levy

(1861-1889)


A London Plane-Tree

Green is the plane-tree in the square,
The other trees are brown;
They droop and pine for country air;
The plane-tree loves the town.

Here from my garret-pane, I mark
The plane-tree bud and blow,
Shed her recuperative bark,
And spread her shade below.

Among her branches, in and out,
The city breezes play;
The dun fog wraps her round about;
Above, the smoke curls grey.

Others the country take for choice,
And hold the town in scorn;
But she has listened to the voice
On city breezes borne.


Amy Levy poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Amy Levy, Levy, Amy


Thank you for reading FLEURSDUMAL.NL - magazine for art & literature