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Cromwell, Gladys

· Gladys Cromwell: Autumn Communion (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: Choice (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: The Beggar (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: The Gates of Utterance (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: The Breath (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: Compensation (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: The Crowning Gift (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: The Fugitive (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: Transmission · Gladys Cromwell: Preparation · Gladys Cromwell: Grief · Gladys Cromwell: The Actor-Soldier

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Gladys Cromwell: Autumn Communion (Poem)

 

Autumn Communion

This autumn afternoon
My fancy need invent
No untried sacrament.
Man can still commune
With Beauty as of old:
The tree, the wind’s lyre,
The whirling dust, the fire—
In these my faith is told.

Beauty warms us all;
When horizons crimson burn,
We hold heaven’s cup in turn.
The dry leaves gleaming fall,
Crumbs of mystical bread;
My dole of Beauty I break,
Love to my lips I take,
And fear is quieted.

The symbols of old are made new:
I watch the reeds and the rushes,
The spruce trees dip their brushes
In the mountain’s dusky blue;
The sky is deep like a pool;
A fragrance the wind brings over
Is warm like hidden clover,
Though the wind itself is cool.

Across the air, between
The stems and the grey things,
Sunlight a trellis flings.
In quietude I lean:
I hear the lifting zephyr
Soft and shy and wild;
And I feel earth gentle and mild
Like the eyes of a velvet heifer.

Love scatters and love disperses.
Lightly the orchards dance
In a lovely radiance.
Down sloping terraces
They toss their mellow fruits.
The rhythmic wind is sowing,
Softly the floods are flowing
Between the twisted roots.

What Beauty need I own
When the symbol satisfies?
I follow services
Of tree and cloud and stone.
Color floods the world;
I am swayed by sympathy;
Love is a litany
In leaf and cloud unfurled.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Autumn Communion

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Gladys Cromwell: Choice (Poem)

 

Choice

Imperious Time, I must prefer
Thy just necessity:
Resign the silent, earlier
Beliefs grown dear to me.

The stillness left alternatives
To youth, a freedom wide
And dim as dreaming, but man lives,
And must one day decide.

There is a doom the years compel:
I must approach the goal
Decreed, where it behooves me dwell:
I must declare my soul;

Must speak and choose what stars pertain
To me ; needs must I rest
In their most intimate beams, remain
Committed and confessed.

I claim a tent of stars in place
Of heaven’s confusing dome:
A tent of stars in a dark space —
The sky must be my home.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Choice
From: Poems 1919

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Gladys Cromwell: The Beggar (Poem)

 

The Beggar

Showing his ill-made frame
And mumbling of troubles many,
Along a public street,

The cripple calls for a penny.
Inviting sympathy,
By his rags and his withered arm,
He follows and frets till we argue

A penny can do him no harm.
Just now, in this intimate room,
Sagacious, clever and witty,

Exposing his hardships, a Beggar
Beckoned his friends for pity.
Ugh! By displaying his pains,
By showing his heart was ashen,

By revealing his twisted life,
He played for a glance of compassion.
Strange how I longed to laugh ;

His feebleness was funny.
I thought : ” He’s only a Beggar
And affection is golden money.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
The Beggar
From: Poems 1919

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Gladys Cromwell: The Gates of Utterance (Poem)

 

The Gates of Utterance

There is a throng within the gates,
A pressing, diverse throng;

Without, a peaceful throng awaits,
To which I would belong.

Within the gates the varied folk

Advise discordantly;
Without, the poet-crowds convoke

To council harmony.

Within the gates are all the heights
And depths of serried powers;

But when a lyric theme invites,
I reach out-lying bowers

Where dwell the bards of quiet years ;

I join my song to theirs;
My glad, unfettered spirit hears

The melody it shares.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
The Gates of Utterance
From: Songs of the Dust, 1915

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Gladys Cromwell: The Breath (Poem)

 

The Breath

A trembling crest
Of smoke, the winter sky
Congeals to bloom,
To please a poet’s eye:

A slender reed
Arisen from some gold
Recess or womb
Of flame to spaces cold.

Between the twigs,
That for a nest are spun
On flight’s grey loom,
A sapphire thread may run

And so between the grey,
The woven boughs of trees,
A little plume
Of mist the poet sees :

It will suffice —
Too scant a breath to name
For him to whom
It signifies a flame.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
The Breath
From: Poems 1919

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Gladys Cromwell: Compensation (Poem)

 

Compensation

You never told me, never, yet I know
You hold a sadness in disguise, unseen
Behind the days and years that intervene
Since you renounced ambition long ago.
Whence comes the tender love that you bestow
To feed our loves? Behind your self serene
There burns a golden passion, how you screen
With radiant life the flame you must forego !
Then you assume our love is ample meed,
Atonement, oh ! I wonder any deed
Of ours can ease your spirit s lassitude,
Or lift your lonely heart ! Our stars elude
Your sun that made them bright your solitude.
Deprived, no boon avails to fill your need.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Compensation
From: Songs of the Dust, 1915

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Gladys Cromwell: The Crowning Gift (Poem)

 

The Crowning Gift

I have had courage to accuse;
And a fine wit that could upbraid;
And a nice cunning that could bruise;
And a shrewd wisdom, unafraid
Of what weak mortals fear to lose.

I have had virtue to despise
The sophistry of pious fools;
I have had firmness to chastise;
And intellect to make me rules,
To estimate and exorcise.

I have had knowledge to be true;
My faith could obstacles remove;
But now, by failure taught anew,
I would have courage now to love,
And lay aside the strength I knew.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
The Crowning Gift

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Gladys Cromwell: The Fugitive (Poem)

 

The Fugitive

Fool, fool,
They can hear thy frighted feet,
And they poke fun at thee,
Or pity thee,
Or pity thee.
They can hear thy steps retreat,
Shuffling timidly.

Thy gait is hobbling and uncouth,
For stubborn is earth’s clay;
There was a day,
There was a day,
When from the doom of its own youth,
Thy spirit stole away.

Do they not know thy spirit’s home?
Thy spirit, glancing, glides
Beneath all tides,
Beneath all tides.
It is a coral under foam;
In the cool deep it hides.

For lo, the yielding element
Of immortality
Is like the sea,
Is like the sea.
Do they not hear, in wonderment,
The tides enfolding thee?

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
The Fugitive

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Gladys Cromwell: Transmission

 

Transmission

A shell, expressed the verity
In tones more limpid than the sea,
Distilled the sea s infinity.

A mellow leaf disclosed the true
In more than sun s pellucid hue,
The sun was tinged in passing through.

A wing revealed the sky unseen,
Till motion made the air serene,
A wing a soaring life, I mean.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Transmission

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Gladys Cromwell: Preparation

Preparation

A time will come when I shall breathe

New melodies to soothe and fold,
Like portions of a mellow sheath,

My sorrow. While my songs withhold
Their tones, I pause before the years;

I gaze on the grey world ; I strive
To clear the mist of doubting tears.

My songs, what music you ll derive
From silence in the time to come!

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Preparation

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Gladys Cromwell: Grief

 

Grief

Exultant whirlwind wrung the branches ;

And the weak leaves were loosed with power.
I heard the pelting dissonances ;

Anguish in the autumn shower.

But living petals now take wing

Like butterflies with dusky flashes;

April flutters her white ashes
Inaudibly, remembering.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Grief

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Gladys Cromwell: The Actor-Soldier

 

The Actor-Soldier

On the grass I m lying,
My blanket is the sky ;
This feeling is called dying.

No one will testify
They saw me suffer this ;
There s no one passing by.

The wonder of it is,
I m by myself at last
With plain realities.

No one is here to cast
A part for me to play ;
My term of life is past.

No one is here to see
How I can meet and take
This end ; how gallantly

Though the ice that binds a lake
Must weigh less heavily
Than Death to my soul awake.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
The Actor-Soldier

fleursdumal.nl magazine

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