Poem of the Day: Two Loves (1894) by Lord Alfred Douglas

Reprinted from The Chameleon, December 1894. See highlighted lines.

I dreamed I stood upon a little hill,
And at my feet there lay a ground, that seemed
Like a waste garden, flowering at its will
With buds and blossoms. There were pools that dreamed
Black and unruffled; there were white lilies
A few, and crocuses, and violets
Purple or pale, snake-like fritillaries
Scarce seen for the rank grass, and through green nets
Blue eyes of shy peryenche winked in the sun.
And there were curious flowers, before unknown,
Flowers that were stained with moonlight, or with shades
Of Nature’s willful moods; and here a one
That had drunk in the transitory tone
Of one brief moment in a sunset; blades
Of grass that in an hundred springs had been
Slowly but exquisitely nurtured by the stars,
And watered with the scented dew long cupped
In lilies, that for rays of sun had seen
Only God’s glory, for never a sunrise mars
The luminous air of Heaven. Beyond, abrupt,
A grey stone wall. o’ergrown with velvet moss
Uprose; and gazing I stood long, all mazed
To see a place so strange, so sweet, so fair.
And as I stood and marvelled, lo! across
The garden came a youth; one hand he raised
To shield him from the sun, his wind-tossed hair
Was twined with flowers, and in his hand he bore
A purple bunch of bursting grapes, his eyes
Were clear as crystal, naked all was he,
White as the snow on pathless mountains frore,
Red were his lips as red wine-spilith that dyes
A marble floor, his brow chalcedony.
And he came near me, with his lips uncurled
And kind, and caught my hand and kissed my mouth,
And gave me grapes to eat, and said, ‘Sweet friend,
Come I will show thee shadows of the world
And images of life. See from the South
Comes the pale pageant that hath never an end.’
And lo! within the garden of my dream
I saw two walking on a shining plain
Of golden light. The one did joyous seem
And fair and blooming, and a sweet refrain
Came from his lips; he sang of pretty maids
And joyous love of comely girl and boy,
His eyes were bright, and ‘mid the dancing blades
Of golden grass his feet did trip for joy;
And in his hand he held an ivory lute
With strings of gold that were as maidens’ hair,
And sang with voice as tuneful as a flute,
And round his neck three chains of roses were.
But he that was his comrade walked aside;
He was full sad and sweet, and his large eyes
Were strange with wondrous brightness, staring wide
With gazing; and he sighed with many sighs
That moved me, and his cheeks were wan and white
Like pallid lilies, and his lips were red
Like poppies, and his hands he clenched tight,
And yet again unclenched, and his head
Was wreathed with moon-flowers pale as lips of death.
A purple robe he wore, o’erwrought in gold
With the device of a great snake, whose breath
Was fiery flame: which when I did behold
I fell a-weeping, and I cried, ‘Sweet youth,
Tell me why, sad and sighing, thou dost rove
These pleasent realms? I pray thee speak me sooth
What is thy name?’ He said, ‘My name is Love.’
Then straight the first did turn himself to me
And cried, ‘He lieth, for his name is Shame,
But I am Love, and I was wont to be
Alone in this fair garden, till he came
Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill
The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame.’
Then sighing, said the other, ‘Have thy will,
I am the love that dare not speak its name.’

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Sentimentality Hour: Thank You

In my fear to categorise my friendships, I found myself surrounded in multiple forms of diverse and multicultural respect and affection. However foolish it may sound, I am always astonished at myself when I see how different people understand reality. It is so easy to forget that people do not perceive the world that you do. What key words they hear in conversations, what food catches their eye, what gestures elicit the strongest responses. What hurts their feelings and what makes them laugh until they are rolling around in the Chaplaincy floor, replacing the peaceful vibe with whimsy.

Despite having come to Edinburgh for a higher education in Business and Spanish, I can safely say that the places I have learned the most have been in kitchens and bedrooms, coffee shops and supermarkets, walking in the Meadows and into the streets of residential areas in misty rain and skin-piercing cold breezes. My best teachers have been all of the people I have had the pleasure to meet, no matter how brief, in this quaint and loving city in Scotland and all the other countries it lead me to.

 

I often notice how people easily consider this place “home”, and it makes perfect sense. University itself is a life-changing journey that forces us to be with people we would have never otherwise met, and therefore are given the opportunity to finally live a life without many kinds of constraints and pressure- whether that be parental, societal, cultural, political, we are gifted a time to grow in all directions. For those of us lucky and privileged enough to come from far away lands and still be able to feel a sense of belonging in an environment so completely and utterly opposite from the one from which we came, it is magical and phenomenal all at once. To meet such a fascinating and wonderful bunch of souls from all over the globe, who have granted me access into their minds and shared with me the workings of their thoughts, countries, and ideologies, I realise more and more that we are all somewhat the same and totally different. But the even more beautiful observation is to acknowledge these elements and yet be willing to make effort to get to know each other for the simple pleasure of kinship and kindness. To know that blood runs deep, but passion runs even deeper, evident in the bonds of love that we create in the people who we choose to surround us. That no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always a reason to keep an open-mind and an open-heart. Thank you for the love! THANK YOU FOR THE LOVE. Regardless of all the hardships and difficulties, the pain has never overshadowed the sweet bliss I have received.

 

I write this on my last night in this part of the world, uncertain of when I will return…at the end of what seems like a four-year long montage filled with all the classic tropes in those coming-of-age movies I never stop obsessing over. This is a period of my life that will be bursting with sentimentality so long as I have ability to string words together.

 

Edinburgh, you are my hearth. You are the location in which so many precious memories and aspirations were born. The friends that I have met here have become part of my globally roaming family, who will never be far from my thoughts no matter where I go. It will be impossible to stay away…and it’s too difficult to say goodbye…so I say instead:

“YAAAAAHHHRRIGHT PALLLL???”

The Greatest

Are you my greatest love?
My love,
How can I know if you are?

How can I ascertain in the stars
That a latent kiss does not linger
On someone else’s lips

Despite the boundless skies
I am confined within your headspace

Yet I am happy to,
I am willing to,-
I sacrifice this
For your grace.

But how can I prove that you
Will not do as the other lovers do?

I anticipate the deception
As much as the pain
and gloom.

Or have I already had this love,
Have already lost
The best of the best?

These thoughts often plague my mind
With sadness and regret.

My love,
You have my trust now,
And I hope you do not let it die.

To leave me
Once again, on my knees
Pleading to god,
“Oh why?”

To take away my joy
With a block of text
In the blink of a shifty eye.

You are my greatest love
I want to say,
But I wonder
How many tears I will cry

When you go onwards
Having broken my soul,
Having said
our final goodbyes.

I do not mean to

​I do not mean to pry, my dear,
But soothe this bitter longing
For reasons I can justify
And muse the songs I’m dawning

I do not mean to cry, my dear
But choose your answers wisely.
For I am brittle in your gaze
And end the night in sighing

In mornings I’m abiding
So passions will start weaning
Which currently are beaming
As slight teardrops, they are streaming

I do not mean to lie, my dear
But how can I confess…
The topic of my mind is you-
Praying,
To love you less.

dinner

nascent beginnings
adjacent living
complacent sitting there,
imagining if you are eating dinner
and why i can’t be the spoon
or the napkin
watching over you-

why am i not
placed across you
surveying your face
every time you look down
for another bite of food-

no,
i cannot think like this
creepily drown myself
in obsessive thoughts like these.

ridiculous in their size and creed,
fantasising how
you feed yourself-

i have barely seen you exist.

but then i still concern for your
5-a-day
and whether you’ve had enough greens
today,
the way you take your coffee or tea
maybe two sugars or black,
or milky…

oh,
romantic child,

you are useless.

Let Me Coat Your Body

Let me coat your body, my love
Let me drink your tears.
Feel the physical strain.
Let me throw myself
in front of
projectile words
that cause you pain.

Let me attempt to vanquish
the demons that scold you.

Your sacrifice
will never be in vain.

Your willingness
is fair and bold.

As you dare to love me,
veins, tendrils, more visible,
Hopelessness more frequent
than I’ve witnessed
before.

Let me clutch at my chest,
Wedge out bodies together-
So your hurt can be mine
And my strength can be yours.

Giving Tree

I am the giving tree
You said…

But you don’t see
how much
You’ve given to me

So, who really…
is the Giving Tree?

You take my breath
and help me breathe

You cradle my head
with loving leaves

You branches hold mine
reaching up towards the sky
meeting heights never quite so excited…

Here rooted,
and I am delighted

We are united
in living
Giving
no misgivings,
forgiving this selflessness
so ridiculous

It’s worth the risk,
isn’t it?

So, let’s plant ourselves together
and go
where the sunset plays
and the calm wind blows,

swaying in sync
when night starts to sink

then I think I know
I’m no longer alone.