The Poetry Corner


By Aldous Leonard Huxley

Once more the windless days are here, Quiet of autumn, when the year Halts and looks backward and draws breath Before it plunges into death. Silver of mist and gossamers, Through-shine of noonday's glassy gold, Pale blue of skies, where nothing stirs Save one blanched leaf, weary and old, That over and over slowly falls From the mute elm-trees, hanging on air Like tattered flags along the walls Of chapels deep in sunlit prayer. Once more ... Within its flawless glass To-day reflects that other day, When, under the bracken, on the grass, We who were lovers happily lay And hardly spoke, or framed a thought That was not one with the calm hills And crystal sky. Ourselves were nought, Our gusty passions, our burning wills Dissolved in boundlessness, and we Were almost bodiless, almost free. The wind has shattered silver and gold. Night after night of sparkling cold, Orion lifts his tangled feet From where the tossing branches beat In a fine surf against the sky. So the trance ended, and we grew Restless, we knew not how or why; And there were sudden gusts that blew Our dreaming banners into storm; We wore the uncertain crumbling form Of a brown swirl of windy leaves, A phantom shape that stirs and heaves Shuddering from earth, to fall again With a dry whisper of withered rain. Last, from the dead and shrunken days We conjured spring, lighting the blaze Of burnished tulips in the dark; And from black frost we struck a spark Of blue delight and fragrance new, A little world of flowers and dew. Winter for us was over and done: The drought of fluttering leaves had grown Emerald shining in the sun, As light as glass, as firm as stone. Real once more: for we had passed Through passion into thought again; Shaped our desires and made that fast Which was before a cloudy pain; Moulded the dimness, fixed, defined In a fair statue, strong and free, Twin bodies flaming into mind, Poised on the brink of ecstasy.