Louise Bogan

(August 11, 1897 – February 4, 1970 / Maine)

Song For The Last Act - Poem by Louise Bogan

Now that I have your face by heart, I look
Less at its features than its darkening frame
Where quince and melon, yellow as young flame,
Lie with quilled dahlias and the shepherd's crook.
Beyond, a garden, There, in insolent ease
The lead and marble figures watch the show
Of yet another summer loath to go
Although the scythes hang in the apple trees.

Now that I have your face by heart, I look.

Now that I have your voice by heart, I read
In the black chords upon a dulling page
Music that is not meant for music's cage,
Whose emblems mix with words that shake and bleed.
The staves are shuttled over with a stark
Unprinted silence. In a double dream
I must spell out the storm, the running stream.
The beat's too swift. The notes shift in the dark.

Now that I have your voice by heart, I read.

Now that I have your heart by heart, I see
The wharves with their great ships and architraves;
The rigging and the cargo and the slaves
On a strange beach under a broken sky.
O not departure, but a voyage done!
The bales stand on the stone; the anchor weeps
Its red rust downward, and the long vine creeps
Beside the salt herb, in the lengthening sun.

Now that I have your heart by heart, I see.

Form: Villanelle


Comments about Song For The Last Act by Louise Bogan

  • Greg Bell (2/24/2017 7:40:00 PM)


    Perfect pairing of for with the creative impulse. Glorious! (Report) Reply

    Greg Bell (2/26/2017 11:42:00 AM)

    (Um, ... that's pairing of form, not for...)

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (5/23/2016 7:38:00 AM)


    Having heart by heart, great poem with great imagery. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • B.m. Biswas (5/23/2016 5:50:00 AM)


    Heat in heart......l see....great poem. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (5/23/2016 5:47:00 AM)


    Another summer loath! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (5/23/2016 12:32:00 AM)


    .....a wonderful composition with amazing imagery ★ (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »



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Read poems about / on: music, beach, running, silence, summer, heart, red, dream, dark, sky, sun, song, tree



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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