The Rapture of My Dark Dream
Dreamed mid-1940s by Edna St Vincent Millay
When the tree-sparrows with no sound through the pearl-pale air
Of dawn, down the apple-branches, stair by stair,
With utmost, unforgettable, elegance and grace
Descended to the bare ground (never bare
Of small strewn seeds
For forced-down flyers at this treacherous time of year),
And richly and sweetly twittered there,
I pressed my forehead to the window, butting the cold glass
Till I feared it might break, disturbing the sparrows, so let the moment pass
When I had hoped to recapture the rapture of my dark dream;
I had heard as I awoke my own voice thinly scream,
"Where? in what street? (I knew the city) did they attack
You, bound for home?"
You were, of course, not there.
And I of course wept, remembering where I last had met you
Yet clawed with desperate nails at the sliding dream, screaming not to lose, since I cannot forget you.
I felt the hot tears come;
Streaming with useless tears, which make the ears roar and the eyelids swell,
My blind face sought the window-sill
To cry on--frozen mourning melted by sly sleep,
Slapping hard-bought repose with quick successive blows until it whimper and outright weep.
The tide pulls twice a day,
The sunlit and the moonlit tides
Drag the rough ledge away
And bring back seaweed, little else besides.
Oh, do not weep these tears salter than the flung spray!--
Weepers are the sea's brides...
I mean this the drowning way.
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