Alice Cary

(1820-1871 / USA)

The Coming Of Night


As white as the moonlight that fell at her feet
She stood, but for blushes, as many and sweet
As the tops of the blossoms that grew in the wheat,
And softly caressed me -
Her eyes on the light of the valley hard by;
I rose for the bidding, and kissed back the sigh
And the speaking to silence, that said 'I would die
Where the love-story blessed me!'

The wind sung her lullabies out of the trees
With starlights betwixt them - her head on my knees,
She said to me only such sad words as these -
'Farewell, I am going.'
And so fell the watches, and so on the night,
Came wider and wider the daybreak so white,
Till shadows of flying larks went through the light
Where the shroud must be sewing.

I felt on my bosom the burden grow cold,
And holding her closer, said, 'Sweet one, behold,
The sunrise is turning the woodside to gold.
And birds go up singing!'
She smiled not, and knowing my terrible loss,
I made her a pillow of loveliest moss,
And laid her down gently - her white hands across,
While mine fell a wringing.

I gathered her black tresses up from the ground,
Away from her forehead their beauty I wound,
And when with fair pansies and roses I bound
Their dim lengths from straying,
And smoothed out her garment so soft and so white,
Lying there in the shadows of morning and night,
She looked like a bride gone asleep in the light
Of the sweet altar-praying.

I knelt to the white ones who live in the blue,
And told them how good she had been and how true,
And then there was nothing more that I could do,
The need was all over -
Low down in a valley of quietest shade
With blossoms strewed over the shrowd which I made
On a bed very narrow and still she is laid,
To sleep by her lover.

Submitted: Friday, April 11, 2014

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