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.’

you fucked me good

like a read receipt that creeps
on the corner of every virtual textual transaction,

you cannot erase this relationship.
you cannot evade the effects of correspondence.

if you try,
it sinks its teeth deeper
on the repressed side of your heart
like an anti-rape condom.

well,
you fucked me.

you fucked me good.

but not even a doctor
can help you now.

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.

Poem of the Day: With only one life by Marin Sorescu

Hold with both hands
The tray of every day
And pass in turn
Along this counter.

There is enough sun
For everybody.
There is enough sky,
And there is moon enough.

The earth gives off the smell
Of luck, of happiness, of glory,
Which tickles your nostrils
Temptingly.

So don’t be miserly,
Live after your heart.
The prices are derisory.

For instance, with only one life
You can acquire
The most beautiful woman,
Plus a biscuit.

[Trans. Joana Russell-Gebbett and D.J. Enright]

cinnamon swirl

I love to swipe the crispy flakes of leftover pastry
in the steel trays of Sainsbury’s bakery section.

It’s not a sin,
or is it?

Isn’t it?
Psh!
It’s harmless!

They would have thrown them away
anyways, into the putrid food waste bag,
alongside a load of unopened packets
which lie discarded, rejected, reduced,
and perfectly edible,
but awfully illegal to give
to the starving mouths in this city
and on these streets
for some reason.

Some friends of mine fish out these remains
to save some expense from their always shrinking pockets
and their always worrying conscience.

Last they told me,
in utter lament-

“They locked the bins.”

Access to their trash.
Our treasure.