The Felon Flower

As the sighing of souls that are waiting the close of the light,
As the passionate kissings of Love in the Forest of Night,
    As the swish of the wavelets that beat on a cavernless shore,
    Or the cry of the sea-mew that echoes a moment or more,
So the voice of thy spirit soft-calling my soul in its flight.

As the breath of the wind that is borne from the island of Love,
As the swift-moving cloudlets that sail in the heaven above,
    As the warmth of the sunlight that breaks on the shimmering sea,
    And the sweetness that lurks in the sting of the honey-fed bee,
So the joy of thy kiss, the dread offspring of serpent and dove.

As the trail of the fiery lightnings which gleam in the dark,
As the light from the measureless Bow of the sevenfold Arc,
    As the fires which glance o'er the face of the treacherous deep,
    When none but the furies may rest, and the nereids weep, —
So thy meteor eyes, brightest sirens alluring Love's barque.

When hid in the wonderful maze of thy whispering hair,
Alone with the shadows and thee, and away from the glare {325}
    Of the burning and pitiless day, and the pitiless light, —
    Thee only beside me, above me the mystical night,
No dream so created in darkness was ever more fair.

For then was thy touch as the light of a life-giving fire,
Which kindles, and scorches, and burns, with unsated desire,
    Thy breath the warm essence of myrtle, the fragrance of pine,
    The languorous smoke of a temple obscene yet divine,
Which gladdens the soul of a god in his passionate ire.

So silent those nights, I could fancy the uttermost deep
Engulfed us for ever, — for ever in silence to keep
    The tale of our wooing: till sweetly the murderous hours
    Had lulled us to rest; and the magical poison of flowers
Had stolen our brains, and our eyelids were heavy with sleep.

Ah love! They are banished, yet not so the strength of the spell
Which holds both our beings in bondage, a bondage so fell
    That even the angels above cannot alter its power;
    It lives in the memory yet of one passionate hour,
When from the dark bosom of Hell sprang a fair felon flower.

Ethel Archer.


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