Richard Le Gallienne

(1866-1947 / England)

An Old Love Letter - Poem by Richard Le Gallienne

I was reading a letter of yours to-day,
The date--O a thousand years ago!
The postmark is there--the month was May:
How, in God's name, did I let you go?
What wonderful things for a girl to say!
And to think that I hadn't the sense to know--
What wonderful things for a man to hear!
O still beloved, O still most dear.

'Duty' I called it, and hugged the word
Close to my side, like a shirt of hair;
You laughed, I remember, laughed like a bird,
And somehow I thought that you didn't care.
Duty!--and Love, with her bosom bare!
No wonder you laughed, as we parted there--
Then your letter came with this last good-by--
And I sat splendidly down to die.

Nor Duty, nor Death, would have aught of me:
'He is Love's,' they said, 'he cannot be ours;'
And your laugh pursued me o'er land and sea,
And your face like a thousand flowers.
'Tis her gown!' I said to each rustling tree,
'She is coming!' I said to the whispered showers;
But you came not again, and this letter of yours
Is all that endures--all that endures.

These aching words--in your swift firm hand,
That stirs me still as the day we met---
That now 'tis too late to understand,
Say 'hers is the face you shall ne'er forget;'
That, though Space and Time be as shifting sand,
We can never part--we are meeting yet.
This song, beloved, where'er you be,
Your heart shall hear and shall answer me.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010



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