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Christopher John Brennan

Black on the Depths

Black on the depths of blackest skies
whence even the levin seems withdrawn,
the cities threaten: burning eyes
ask what dread hand hath slain the dawn.

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O White Wind, Numbing the World

O WHITE wind, numbing the world
to a mask of suffering hate!
and thy goblin pipes have skirl’d
all night, at my broken gate.

O heart, be hidden and kept
in a half-light colour’d and warm,
and call on thy dreams that have slept
to charm thee from hate and harm.

They are gone, for I might not keep;
my sense is beaten and dinn’d;
there is no peace but a grey sleep
in the pause of the wind.

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I saw my life as whitest flame

I saw my life as whitest flame
light-leaping in a crystal sky,
and virgin colour where it came
pass'd to its heart, in love to die.
It wrapped the world in tender harm
rose-flower'd with one ecstatic pang:
God walk'd amid the hush'd alarm,
and all the trembling region rang
music, whose silver veils dispart
around the carven silences
Memnonian in the hidden heart —
now blithe, effulgurant majesties.

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When the spring mornings grew more long

When the spring mornings grew more long
early I woke from dream that told
of dreaded parting and the cold
of the gray dawns when I should long
to see once more that clear light fall
upon my hands and know that near
the yellow meadows shone with dear
small flowers and hear thy laughter fall
— as now I long only to wake
once in that quiet shine of spring
and dream an hour the hour will bring
thy laughing call that bids me wake

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Deep mists of longing blur the land

Deep mists of longing blur the land
as in your late October eve:
almost I think your hand might leave
its old caress upon my hand —
for sure this floating world of dream
hath touch'd that far reality
of memory's heaven; nor would I deem
the chance a strange one, if to thee
my feet should stray ere fall the night,
or, reaching to that lucent shore,
these eyes should wake on tenderer light
to greet the spring and thee once more.

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Was it the sun that broke my dream

Was it the sun that broke my dream
or was't the dazzle of thy hair
caught where our olden meadows seem
themselves again and yet more fair?
Ah, sun that woke me, limpid stream,
then in spring-mornings' rapture of air!
Was it the sun that broke my dream
or was 't the dazzle of thy hair?
And didst not thou beside me gleam,
brought hither by a tender care
at least my slumbering grief to share?
Are only the cold seas supreme?
Was it the sun that broke my dream?

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Spring-ripple of green along the way

Spring-ripple of green along the way,
keen plash of aery waves that play,
and in my heart
thy dreamy smart, O distant day!
Oh whisper hidden in the spring
of days when soul and song took wing
beneath her eyes,
twin smiling skies bent listening.
Oh cruel spell the season weaves!
heart-piercing smell of smoky eves,
all, all is old!
ironic gold that but deceives!
Strange spring, wilt only make me mourn?
Ah, for thy grace is overworn!
we are the ghost
of spring-tides lost and singing morn!

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Sweet Silence After Bells

Sweet silence after bells!
deep in the enamour'd ear
soft incantation dwells.

Filling the rapt still sphere
a liquid crystal swims,
precarious yet clear.

Those metal quiring hymns
shaped ether so succinct:
a while, or it dislimns,

the silence, wanly print
with forms of lingering notes,
inhabits, close. distinct;

and night, the angel, floats
on wings of blessing spread
o'er all the gather'd cotes

[...] Read more

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Spring Breezes

Spring breezes over the blue,
now lightly frolicking in some tropic bay,
go forth to meet her way,
for here the spell hath won and dream is true.

0 happy wind, thou that in her warm hair
mayst rest and play!
could I but breathe all longing into thee,
so were thy viewless wing
as flame or thought, hastening her shining way.

And now I bid thee bring
tenderly hither over a subject sea
that golden one whose grace hath made me king,
and, soon to glad my gaze at shut of day,
loosen'd in happy air
her charmed hair.

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Under a sky of uncreated mud

Under a sky of uncreated mud
or sunk beneath the accursed streets, my life
is added up of cupboard-musty weeks
and ring'd about with walls of ugliness:
some narrow world of ever-streaming air.
My days of azure have forgotten me.
Nought stirs, in garret-chambers of my brain,
except the squirming brood of miseries
older than memory, while, far out of sight
behind the dun blind of the rain, my dreams
of sun on leaves and waters drip thro' years
nor stir the slumbers of some sullen well,
beneath whose corpse-fed weeds I too shall sink.

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