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.