Conrad Potter Aiken

(5 August 1889 – 17 August 1973 / Savannah, Georgia)

The Cornet - Poem by Conrad Potter Aiken

When she came out, that white little Russian dancer,
With her bright hair, and her eyes, so young, so young,
He suddenly lost his leader, and all the players,
And only heard an immortal music sung,-

Of dryads flashing in the green woods of April,
On cobwebs trembling over the deep, wet grass:
Fleeing their shadows with laughter, with hands uplifted,
Through the whirled sinister sun he saw them pass,-

Lovely immortals gone, yet existing somewhere,
Still somewhere laughing in woods of immortal green,
Young he had lived among fires, or dreamed of living,
Lovers in youth once seen, or dreamed he had seen. . .

And watched her knees flash up, and her young hands beckon,
And the hair that streamed behind, and the taunting eyes.
He felt this place dissolving in living darkness,
And through the darkness he felt his childhood rise.

Soft, and shining, and sweet, hands filled with petals. . .
And watching her dance, he was grateful to forget
The fiddlers, leaning and drawing their bows together,
And the tired fingers on the stops of his cornet.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010



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