Here you will find the Long Poem Love-Laurel of poet Victor James Daley
Ah! that God once would touch my lips with song To pierce, as prayer doth heaven, earth?s breast of iron, So that with sweet mouth I might sing to thee, O sweet dead singer buried by the sea, A song, to woo thee, as a wooing siren, Out of that silent sleep which seals too long Thy mouth of melody. For, if live lips might speak awhile to dead, Or any speech could reach the sad world under This world of ours, song surely should awake Thee who didst dwell in shadow for song?s sake! Alas! thou canst not hear the voice of thunder, Nor low dirge over thy low-lying head The winds of morning make. Down through the clay there comes no sound of these; Down in the grave there is no sign of Summer, Nor any knowledge of the soft-eyed Spring; But Death sits there, with outspread ebon wing, Closing with dust the mouth of each new-comer To that mute land, where never sound of seas Is heard, and no birds sing. Now thou hast found the end of all thy days Hast thou found any heart a vigil keeping For thee among the dead?some heart that heard Thy singing when thou wert a brown, sweet bird Gray Æons gone, in some old forest sleeping Beneath the seas long since? in Death?s dim ways Has thy heart any word? For surely those in whom the deathless spark Of song is kindled, sang from the beginning If life were always? But the old desires? Do they exist when sad-eyed Hope expires? How live the dead? what crowns have they for winning? Have they, to warm them in the dreamless dark, For sun earth?s central fires? Are the dead dead indeed whom we call dead? Has God no life but this of ours for giving?? When that they took thee by each well-known place, Stark in thy coffin with a cold white face, What thought, O Brother, hadst thou of the living? What of the sun that round thee glory shed? What of the fair day?s grace? Is thy new life made up of memories Or dreams that lull the dead, bright visions bringing Of Spring above! Are thy days short or long? Thou who wert master of our singing throng Mayhap in death thou hast not lost thy singing, But chauntst unheard, beside the moaning sea, A solitary song. The chance spade turns up skulls. God help the dead And thee whose singing days have all passed over? Thee, whom the gold-haired Spring shall seek in vain When at the glad year?s doors she stands again, Remembering the song-garlands thou hast wove her In years gone by: but all these years have fled With all their joy and pain. My soul laughed out to hear my heart speak so, And sprang forth skyward, as an eagle, hoping To look upon thy soul with living eyes, Until it came to where our dim life dies, And dead suns darkly for a grave are groping Through cycles of immeasurable woe, Stone-blind in the blind skies. The stars walk shuddering on that awful verge From which my soul, with swift and fearless motion, Clove the black depths, and sought for God and thee; But God dwells where nor stars nor suns there be? No shore there is to His Eternal Ocean; A thousand systems are a fringe of surge On that great starless sea. And thou wert not. So that, with weary plumes, My soul through the great void its way came winging To earth again. ?What hope for him who sings Is there?? it sighed. ?Death ends all sweetest things.? When lo! there came a swell of mighty singing, Flooding all space, and swift athwart the glooms A flash of sudden wings. Dreamer of dreams, thy songs and dreams are done. Down where thou sleepest in earth?s secret bosom There is no sorrow and no joy for thee, Who canst not see what stars at eve there be, Nor evermore at morn the green dawn blossom Into the golden king-flower of the sun Across the golden sea. But haply there shall come in days to be One who shall hear his own heart beating faster, Plucking a rose sprung from thy heart beneath, And from his soul, as sword from out its sheath, Song shall leap forth where now, O silent master, On thy lone grave beside the sounding sea, I lay this laurel-wreath.