Alfred Noyes

Here you will find the Poem Niobe of poet Alfred Noyes


How like the sky she bends above her child, 
One with the great horizon of her pain! 
No sob from our low seas where woe runs wild, 
No weeping cloud, no momentary rain, 
Can mar the heaven-high visage of her grief, 
That frozen anguish, proud, majestic, dumb. 
She stoops in pity above the labouring earth, 
Knowing how fond, how brief 
Is all its hope, past, present, and to come, 
She stoops in pity, and yearns to assuage its dearth. 

Through that fair face the whole dark universe 
Speaks, as a thorn-tree speaks thro? one white flower; 
And all those wrenched Promethean souls that curse 
The gods, but cannot die before their hour, 
Find utterance in her beauty. That fair head 
Bows over all earth?s graves. It was her cry 
Men heard in Rama when the twisted ways 
With children?s blood ran red. 
Her silence towers to Silences on high; 
And, in her face, the whole earth?s anguish prays. 

It is the pity, the pity of human love 
That strains her face, upturned to meet the doom, 
And her deep bosom, like a snow-white dove 
Frozen upon its nest, ne?er to resume 
Its happy breathing o?er the golden brace 
That she must shield till death. Death, death alone 
Can break the anguished horror of that spell. 
The sorrow on her face 
Is sealed: the living flesh is turned to stone; 
She knows all, all, that Life and Time can tell. 

Ah, yet, her woman?s love, so vast, so tender, 
Her woman?s body, hurt by every dart, 
Braving the thunder, still, still hide the slender 
Soft frightened child beneath her mighty heart. 
She is all one mute immortal cry, one brief 
Infinite pang of such victorious pain 
That she transcends the heavens and bows them down! 
The majesty of grief 
Is hers, and her dominion must remain 
Eternal. Grief alone can wear that crown.