In an Artist’s Studio

image

One face looks out from all his canvasses,
One self same figure sits or walks or leans;
We found her hidden just behind those screens,
That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
A queen in opal or in ruby dress,
A nameless girl in freshest summer greens,
A saint, an angel; – every canvass means
The same one meaning, neither more nor less.
He feeds upon her face by day and night,
And she with true kind eyes looks back on him
Fair as the moon and joyful as the light;
Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;
Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.

 

Christina Rossetti

Paradise Lost – Book I

Geometric Urania in Libourne by Boulogne, le Jeune (1654-1733).

Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,

In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth

Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion Hill

Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flow’d

Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence

Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,

That with no middle flight intends to soar

Above th’ Aonian Mount, while it pursues

Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.

And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer

Before all Temples th’ upright heart and pure,

Instruct me, for Thou know’st; Thou from the first

Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread

Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss

And mad’st it pregnant: What in me is dark

Illumin, what is low raise and support;

That to the highth of this great Argument

I may assert Eternal Providence,

And justifie the wayes of God to men.

 

Exerpt from Milton’s Paradise Lost (Book 1)

Go From Me

BanishedfromEden

Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand
Henceforward in thy shadow. Nevermore
Alone upon the threshold of my door
Of individual life, I shall command
The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand
Serenely in the sunshine as before,
Without the sense of that which I forbore, ..
Thy touch upon the palm. The widest land
Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine
With pulses that beat double. What I do
And what I dream include thee, as the wine
Must taste of its own grapes. And when I sue
God for myself, He hears that name of thine,
And sees within my eyes, the tears of two.

 
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I Died for Beauty

 

angel

I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
“For beauty,” I replied.
“And I for truth – the two are one;
We brethren are,” he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a-night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.

Resurrection

Resurrection

His unravelling – of sacred shroud.

 

The suffocation of

her melancholic madness

by cloth of self-belief

blesses a new beginning.

 

The emancipation from

Poetess to temple Papess

his ruin miraculously raised

to unrepentant penitent.

 

The revealing complete

unveils fervent holiness,

his new bride of a Christ

in divine ambiguity.

 

His lost gospel – finally found.

 

© Katypoetess 2016

The Best Thing In The World

 

What’s the best thing in the world?
June-rose, by May-dew impearled;
Sweet south-wind, that means no rain;
Truth, not cruel to a friend;
Pleasure, not in haste to end;
Beauty, not self-decked and curled
Till its pride is over-plain;
Love, when, so, you’re loved again.
What’s the best thing in the world?
–Something out of it, I think.

 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Dead Love

 

Oh never weep for love that’s dead
Since love is seldom true
But changes his fashion from blue to red,
From brightest red to blue,
And love was born to an early death
And is so seldom true.

Then harbour no smile on your bonny face
To win the deepest sigh.
The fairest words on truest lips
Pass on and surely die,
And you will stand alone, my dear,
When wintry winds draw nigh.

Sweet, never weep for what cannot be,
For this God has not given.
If the merest dream of love were true
Then, sweet, we should be in heaven,
And this is only earth, my dear,
Where true love is not given.

Lizzie Siddal (date unknown)

Forsaken

 

I search

for your soul

in every passing stranger’s face.

Knowing it is too late.

 

I dreamt

we met again

soothing all the pain between us.

The cruellest of dreams.

 

I crucify

time through mourning

yet it cannot hold back dawning,

of my emancipation.

 

© Katypoetess 2016

 

beata-beatrix_1863-70_

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

image

 

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful—a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
‘I love thee true’.

She took me to her Elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!—
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
Thee hath in thrall!’

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.

And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

 

John Keats

My Knight

Redgirl_and_knight01 - Copy

I do not know who you were,

or when I knew and loved you.

You are not the man I am with now,

but there is an essence of his spirit

that has travelled through time

and rescued me

from some situation

that is lost in years gone by.

This life with you

where we met once again

I am reluctant, cynical and suspicious

and search for the look in your eyes

that won my heart hundreds of years ago.

I cannot see, hear or touch that soul but I feel it.

It was not there when I met you again

but gently over time, I feel him coming

over hills, forests and desert.

And I watch for him.

And I wait.

And I hope he does not arrive too late.

La Petite Mort of Creativity

Katy Vampire May16 small[1]

Let me bleed out a moment’s release,

from this contemptible inner peace.

 

my tears are too clear of midnight ink,

my thoughts are apathetic and indistinct.

 

I look for omens, cracks in bedroom mirrors,

for owls, magpies – among nests of unfamiliar

 

I churlishly spread my coquettish legs

seducing any passing stranger’s death.

 

To be touched – trembled by fingers of grief,

so I can weave a wanton poetic wreath

 

I call all gods to bring me a sultry storm,

traumas to ride wild into rhythm and form.

 

I hunger for blood of an illicit lover’s return

to break open my heart, leave me spurned,

filling this barren womb with words

that haven’t been born, read, or heard.

 

© Katypoetess 2016

 

 

Immortal Soliloquy

Immortal Soliloquy

They say that the worst kind of grieving

is when the lost antagonist is still alive,

whether sudden as a spring swallow’s dive

or a slow wintered bewilderment in the leaving.

Buried, burnt or butchered cruelly out of heart

that did endure with vexation and veneration,

fear of being alone or guilt of being causation

of their final yield to the wind that blows love apart.

 

But do we still wish to live in a solitary moratorium,

coveting our fervorous hearts in a slate stone mirth?

 

©  Katypoetess 2016

 

 

 

Clenched Soul

 

We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world.

I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.

Sometimes a piece of sun
burned like a coin in my hand.

I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.

Where were you then?
Who else was there?
Saying what?
Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly
when I am sad and feel you are far away?

The book fell that always closed at twilight
and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet.

Always, always you recede through the evenings
toward the twilight erasing statues.

Pablo Neruda