The Poetry Corner


By Francis Brett Young

Whither, O, my sweet mistress, must I follow thee? For when I hear thy distant footfall nearing, And wait on thy appearing, Lo! my lips are silent: no words come to me. Once I waylaid thee in green forest covers, Hoping that spring might free my lips with gentle fingers; Alas! her presence lingers No longer than on the plain the shadow of brown kestrel hovers. Through windless ways of the night my spirit followed after; Cold and remote were they, and there, possessed By a strange unworldly rest, Awaiting thy still voice heard only starry laughter. The pillared halls of sleep echoed my ghostly tread. Yet when their secret chambers I essayed My spirit sank, dismayed, Waking in fear to find the new-born vision fled. Once indeed - but then my spirit bloomed in leafy rapture - I loved; and once I looked death in the eyes: So, suddenly made wise, Spoke of such beauty as I may never recapture.... Whither, O, divine mistress, must I then follow thee? Is it only in love ... say, is it only in death That the spirit blossometh, And words that may match my vision shall come to me?