Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

Absence


GOODNIGHT, my love, for I have dreamed of thee,
In walking dreams, until my soul is lost —
Is lost in passion's wide and shoreless sea,
Where, like a ship unruddered, it is tossed
Hither and thither at the wild waves will.
There is no potent Master's voice to still
This newer, more tempestuous Galilee!

The stormy petrels of my fancy fly
In warning course across the darkening green,
And, like a frightened bird, my heart doth cry
And seek to find some rock of rest between
The threatening sky and the relentless wave.
It is not length of life that grief doth crave,
But only calm and peace in which to die.

Here let me rest upon this single hope,
For oh, my wings are weary of the wind,
And with its stress no more may strive or cope.
One cry has dulled mine ears mine eyes are blind—
Would that o'er all the intervening space,
I might fly forth and see thee face to face.
I fly; I search, but, love, in gloom I grope.

Fly home, far bird, unto thy waiting nest;
Spread they strong wings above the wind-swept sea.
Beat the grim breeze with thy ruffled breast
Until thou sittest wing to wing with me.
Then, let the past bring up its tales of wrong;
We shall chant low our sweet connubial song,
Till storm and doubt past no more shall be!

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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