Ode to a Governess

My governess, I maintain a sickness at heart […]

Ode to a Governess

My governess, I maintain a sickness at heart:
   It is for your love, and that is all: base, low love.
Your eyes change with the seasons, autumnal gazes
   That dance in playful bind, striking at my strings:
Then Summer’s hand strokes your golden hair—
   And once again you are in my arms, breathing,
      Supplying me with wise, considered counsel:
How you saved my life! How you brought me metre!
      How I watched the light stream through your locks,
Eden in your glow; these prime moments are countless.

Yet Winter’s grasp places all kindness in stasis:
   So in this waning light my love is yet forlorn:
Your humours reborn as the seasons shift inconstant,
   Guidance on my thread becoming evertorn—
Your eyes an icy grey, your pale flesh shivers
   At my finger’s touch, your gold mane hiding
      A naïve foolishness, countering your wit
Regarded in the warmer months: it quivers
      And turns blind from my sight, never minding
   Nor caring for my heart, ne’re even a bit.

A thousand lines to your laugh! O, what else
   Can I do, my governess? My tutor dear,
Beloved madam of the morning mile—
   Nay, turn away; nay, take my hand! Where
Should I turn for one to snare my thoughts
   And turn me towards the mighty Spring?
      Should I blossom with you, or else detain
My arch-aching atrophied blust’rous madness?
      Aye: for two must be done at once, nature
   Should be tempered with human restraint:
      In these forty days, I shall prove myself
         A man kindly unworthy of your care:
   Only then, my love, temp’rance be my wealth,
   Yes, only then shall I be worthy of your stare.

Duchess Songs

A set of six poems: In the Amber Grove, Duchess in Tempera, όραμα, A Match of Squares, A Vain Shadow, and She Turns to Say Farewell.

Duchess Songs


In the Amber Grove

Her Lydian wrist,
   Dappled rose and brown,
   Fraught with flaxen hairs
That catch the sunrays,
      Reaches out to touch
      The golden bough’s leaf.

Duchess enkindled,
   Closed eyes and sighing.



Duchess in Tempera

Speak of her heritage: she sat serene
Upon daybed, surrounded by suitors
That she entertained, painted tempera
Upon a canvasse by portrait-maker;

A near-woman with a presence-shimmer:
All stepped into her fulgence: one-sided.
To carry her name into future-world:
Duchess painted in a golden dream.



terra verde:        ἁγνεία dreams,
Sylvan,        vision of sacrificial embers,
Aeternal duchess      of the amber grove,
Everydying yet  preserved she slumbers.



A Match of Squares

The duchess smiles: elliptic,
                  A coy fortune:
                  Liquid reticence. 



A Vain Shadow

In prone and fitful moon’s tide, I visit
Her German palace: wander empty halls
Where her silence falls, complete echo’s lack;
Gracing the walls, holding silver chalice,
Her likeness stares back; but yet my duchess
Is absent: desolate are the ribbed vaults.
In the night, wind cries from the firmament,
The creaking boughs despair; and I can find
No consolate sight of my beauty’s host,
Nor her voice; nor her breath; nor her ghost.



She Turns to Say Farewell

Morning’s blurry haze
      Brought day’s sight afore
      Nemi’s mirrored banks;
            Diana’s statue
            Gazed on from the trees
            At the lake’s yawning edge:

      Duchess wets her clothes,
      Which start to glitter
      Sanguine rose and gold;

            She turns back to look—
            Her amber eyes hold
            A single, fated tear.


Close These Doors

Your door of late is ever closed, and yet […]

Close These Doors

Your door of late is ever closed, and yet
In a while, sometimes, I may see you
At your wax-lined window. This time is set—
A tragic minute or two before, again, through

(Tho it is hard to make in all this snow)

Those frosted panes I see dark, dusty naught;
Perhaps I hear words in the winter wind—
Wish to not be like lustful lover foolish caught
Making lonesome eyes through the blinds,

(Tho never pretending wit; I am honest)

Hoping fonde for your petty, pretty goodly match
Of heart to heart to heart — o, (dare I say?) care
Not tho for my martial love, do not dare to unlatch
Your door; but, then, yet — perhaps would do a stare

(Two amber embers in the night!)

From behind those curtains, as to reneed
Me of the being I am just glad to have once found;
I am as what you mayever require, never freed:
Attending everloyal to you, we shall
                                     (—all in good time, my love—)
                                                               be bound.


“Exeunt! Exeunt! Hosannas to my love”

Exeunt! Exeunt! Hosannas to my love […]

“Exeunt! Exeunt! Hosannas to my love”

Exeunt! Exeunt! Hosannas to my love
Follow, follow! Let us cast off the stage
And speak, not act — no shame, no shame, exeunt!
O masquerade of priceless love bring forth
Princess parade pared to finest echo
Glory, glory as we embrace the streets
And freedom holds our kindred hands to see
Such sights beyond the pallor of the moon
Great girl, we walk bestowed with passive sighs
Yes, yes! You are the essence of our faith
Leonine, leonine — grand-crested, bold
Future rose, erstwhile glimmer, present lamb
Who dances of concrete dreams now made flesh

Exeunt! Exeunt! We leave for pastures fresh
And cast our shawls of silken night aside
Follow the priest of modernus, exeunt!
Aye, we are nubile yet, await the day
When we are wed in harmony of soul
Glory, glory as we discover sight,
Our hopes abide the climes of racing Time—
We hope our forms will yet warrant appraise
Entrusted to wingèd eohippus—
Yes, yes! That is the paradoxical—
To grow yet wise, and pray to keep our youth
A fallacy of the young; grim once old
But dancing still in fleshly, concrete dreams

Exeunt! Exeunt! Awesome boones to my sweet
Leave, leave! Lest your engendered breast is pierced
And lack falses our path beyond the bornes
O sorrow, fate! I feel you now, you cur:
Let it known what fickle fiend you favour
When it is Autumn bloom upon the globe’s room
The stage is you, the stage is me: so how
Can we find space to flee?— O spirus fate!
Conspire to force old age; ensign of death
Runs black, half-mast, it sits upon the bow
Of schooner pale, with steersman blind — ’pon waves
Of seas that dance in material dreams

Exeunt! Exeunt! Hosannas to my love
Follow, follow! Let us cast off the stage
And speak, not act — no shame, no shame, exeunt!
But the costume does not remove with ease
Instead it empeaches joyance contained
Glory, glory beyond the universe’s planes
And the ’straints that shackle spirit withall
Now greet sights once met in moontide slumber
Great friend, with visiting cheer and tinctures
Yes, yes! Wash away such thoughts of fleeing
Serpentyne, now slither thither, wither—
Future rose, erstwhile glimmer, present lamb
Who dances of hidden dreams now made flesh—
And writhes in litany ever out of sight—


The Fair Queen in Her Youth

In phantasy of daydream half untrue […]

The Fair Queen in Her Youth



In phantasy of daydream half untrue
You can espy the Dame of Nature’s bourn:
She cared for every wight ’neath canvas blue,
And crossed thru wand’ring wood that now doth mourn.
Her once-fair hands encompassed foal and fawn,
Graceful locks that held rough totems entwyned
Like honeycombe and petals from her lawn;
In youthful grasp she held the trees aligned.
The world was then unformed, unharrow’d, kind;
Sun shone upon her golden face, enlit
By Hebe’s glow and her playful ivy’s bind;
By the gentle rain was she oft bespit.
      So young was she that jewels did fleck her eyes,
      And watched was she by all her Nature’s spies.



Still resting by the windowsill of dream,
Beseech her now an audience to speak:
So weak her ears may wane, it may not seem
That the Queen would speak so; by her crook’d creek
Time captures breaths so soft and slender, meek.
When you wex woeful to ween lost delight
Fallen from the Fair Queen’s brow, you may seek
The will to restore them true: journey night
Through moonlit groves and scale far foggy height;
But tho you may seek to restore her crown—
Oak coronall yron ’bove amber sight
Is fading fast, as is her lily gown.
     Now turned to red, her leaves predict a fall:
     The hope that Winter steals not Beauty’s all.



Lay down and rest, O Queen, throw true thy beam,
For no other being holds flawless gleam
That glitters near my eyes, and strikes me blind:
Thy changing form is ever new in mind,
The perfections of thine are sensate signed;
Let down thy hair, in tempestuous ream,
Where moon’s moths, thy bounty, forever teem.
The rising bound’ry of thy bloss’mous breast;
Forlorne desire ensews for thy sweet creste—
And tho we keepe thy love, we thus sequest.
Last glimpse before the vision ends its stream:
Thou seest fading orchard, all enshrined—
     Time bids thee well, Titania: ’tis God’s truth;
     For even Gods must bid farewell to Youth.