Robert Laurence Binyon

(1869-1943 / England)

Queen Venus - Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon

Queen Venus on a day of cloud
Forsook heaven's argent palaces,
Beneath the roofing vapours bowed
And sought a promontory loud
Far in the utmost seas.
There to a caverned shore she made retreat,
Where granite shoulders of the mountain slant
Down to wet ledges that the waters beat,
Haunted of gull and diving cormorant.
Her garment was of green that deeply glowed;
One foot beneath its fluttering border showed,
As on a rocky solitary seat,
Sitting with both hands clasped about her knee,
She gazed unmoving over restless sea,
Heard not the wild birds scream and circling soar
Up the black cliffs and round their craggy tops,
But watched the full waves towering toward the shore,
Heaved up and ever falling in dumb roar,
And snowed into a thousand stormy drops.
Gardens of sultry Paphos, far away
Your doves among the strewn rose--petals play!
But doves nor roses please her heart to--day,
Who, child of ocean, comes to taste once more
The sting and splendour of the ocean spray.

Out of the cold mist curling,
The waters onward hurling,
As if a wizard driving
A myriad rebel spirits swept them thither,
Mounting, despairing, crying, and ever striving,
Swell toward her feet and in a moment wither.
But idly in the wells of Venus' eyes
Those perishing proud glories fall and rise.
Like to a mirror where have come and gone
Faces of pain and passion, nor have left
Of all the abandoned story of their sighs
An image more than where a moonbeam shone,
She sees, she hearkens, but of thought bereft;
Her gaze holds neither pity, fear, nor wonder:
Yet in the exultation and the thunder
Of those waves moving as to music rolled,
Wherein their briefness is a tone half--told,
A spirit lives that doth her spirit claim;
Then she remembers how she also came
From deep--moved waters tossing and uptorn,
And 'mid such bitter idle foam was born
The serene charm that sets the world aflame.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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