Robert Graves (1895 - 1985 / London / England)
Love, do not count your labour lost
Though I turn sullen, grim, retired
Even at your side; my thought is crossed
With fancies by old longings fired.
And when I answer you, some days
Vaguely and wildly, do not fear
That my love walks forbidden ways,
Breaking the ties that hold it here.
If I speak gruffly, this mood is
Mere indignation at my own
Shortcomings, plagues, uncertainties;
I forget the gentler tone.
'You,' now that you have come to be
My one beginning, prime and end,
I count at last as wholly 'me,'
Lover no longer nor yet friend.
Friendship is flattery, though close hid;
Must I then flatter my own mind?
And must (which laws of shame forbid)
Blind love of you make self-love blind?
... Do not repay me my own coin,
The sharp rebuke, the frown, the groan;
No, stir my memory to disjoin
Your emanation from my own.
Help me to see you as before
When overwhelmed and dead, almost,
I stumbled on that secret door
Which saves the live man from the ghost.
Be once again the distant light,
Promise of glory not yet known
In full perfection — -wasted quite
When on my imperfection thrown.
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