Louise Bogan





Fifteenth Farewell

I
You may have all things from me, save my breath, 
The slight life in my throat will not give pause 
For your love, nor your loss, nor any cause. 
Shall I be made a panderer to death, 
Dig the green ground for darkness underneath, 
Let the dust serve me, covering all that was 
With all that will be? Better, from time's claws, 
The hardened face under the subtle wreath. 

Cooler than stones in wells, sweeter, more kind 
Than hot, perfidious words, my breathing moves 
Close to my plunging blood. Be strong, and hang 
Unriven mist over my breast and mind, 
My breath! We shall forget the heart that loves, 
Though in my body beat its blade, and its fang. 

II 
I erred, when I thought loneliness the wide 
Scent of mown grass over forsaken fields, 
Or any shadow isolation yields. 
Loneliness was the heart within your side. 
Your thought, beyond my touch, was tilted air 
Ringed with as many borders as the wind. 
How could I judge you gentle or unkind 
When all bright flying space was in your care? 

Now that I leave you, I shall be made lonely 
By simple empty days, never that chill 
Resonant heart to strike between my arms 
Again, as though distraught for distance, only 
Levels of evening, now, behind a hill, 
Or a late cock-crow from the darkening farms.