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Richard Le Gallienne: “Face in the Tomb that Lies so Still”

 

“Face in the Tomb

 that Lies so Still”

Face in the tomb, that lies so still,
May I draw near,
And watch your sleep and love you,
Without word or tear.

You smile, your eyelids flicker;
Shall I tell
How the world goes that lost you?
Shall I tell?

Ah! love, lift not your eyelids;
‘Tis the same
Old story that we laughed at,–
Still the same.

We knew it, you and I,
We knew it all:
Still is the small the great,
The great the small;

Still the cold lie quenches
The flaming truth,
And still embattled age
Wars against youth.

Yet I believe still in the ever-living God
That fills your grave with perfume,
Writing your name in violets across the sod,
Shielding your holy face from hail and snow;
And, though the withered stay, the lovely go,
No transitory wrong or wrath of things
Shatters the faith–that each slow minute brings

That meadow nearer to us where your feet
Shall flicker near me like white butterflies–
That meadow where immortal lovers meet,
Gazing for ever in immortal eyes.

Richard Le Gallienne
(1866 – 1947)
“Face in the Tomb that Lies so Still”
From: The lonely Dancer and other Poems, 1913

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