Delmore Schwartz

Abraham and Orpheus, Be With Me Now

Abraham and Orpheus, be with me now: 
You saw your love’s face abstract, the weak-kneed stilts, 
You saw and knew, and knew how near ‘no more’
(As one who scrutinizes mystery, the air), 
How poised on nothing, weighted on the air, 
The touched, seen substance, the substance of care: 
Surround me, be round me, be with me like the air, 
Abraham and Orpheus, be with me now.

Love love exhausts and time goes round and round, 
Time circles in its idiot defeat, 
And that which circles falls, falls endlessly, 
Falls endlessly, no music shapes the air 
Which did, can, shall restore the end of care, 
For love exhausts itself and time goes round, 
I shudder in the traffic, buildings stand, 
Will fall and night will fall, the electric light be snapped 
To spread its yellow genius on the floor, 
And you knew too who knew and knew ‘no more’ 
That love exhausts itself and falls and time goes round.

Abraham and Orpheus, be with me now: 
No longer the grandstand, nor the balcony, 
Nor the formal window gives me cool perspective: 
Love sucked me to the moving street below, 
I see the price of care, turning to keep, 
I am a price, I turn to keep, I care, 
But time which circles dissipates all care, 
As you knew too, who lifted up the knife. 
And you, musician in the afterlife, 
Drowning in the shadow all love always bears, 
As every solid thing must shadow in the light: 
I ask your learned presence, I care and fear, 
Abraham and Orpheus, be near, be near.