Home  »  library  »  poem  »  Home

C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By Wilfrid Wilson Gibson (1878–1962)

From ‘Battle and Other Poems’

UNDER the brown bird-haunted eaves of thatch

The hollyhocks in crimson glory burned

Against black timbers and old rosy brick,

And over the green door in clusters thick

Hung tangled passion-flowers, when we returned

To our own threshold: and with hand on latch

We stood a moment in the sunset gleam

And looked upon our home as in a dream.

Rapt in a golden glow of still delight

Together on the threshold in the sun

We stood rejoicing that we two had won

To this deep golden peace ere day was done,

That over gloomy plain and storm-swept height

We two, O love, had won to home ere night.

Where through the open window I could see

The supper-table in the golden light

Of tall white candles—brasses glinting bright

On the black gleaming board, and crockery

Colored like gardens of old Araby—

In your blue gown against the walls of white

You stood adream, and in the starry night

I felt strange loneliness steal over me.

You stood with eyes upon the candle flame

That kindled your thick hair to burnished gold,

As in a golden spell that seemed to hold

My heart’s love rapt from me for evermore …

And then you stirred, and opening the door,

Into the starry night you breathed my name.

Against the curtained casement wind and sleet

Rattle and thresh, while snug by our own fire

In dear companionship that naught may tire

We sit,—you listening, sewing in your seat,

Half-dreaming in the glow of light and heat,

I reading some old tale of love’s desire

That swept on gold wings to disaster dire

Then sprang re-orient from black defeat.

I close the book, and louder yet the storm

Threshes without. Your busy hands are still;

And on your face and hair the light is warm,

As we sit gazing on the coals’ red gleam

In a gold glow of happiness, and dream

Diviner dreams the years shall yet fulfil.

Between the midnight pillars of black elms

The old moon hangs, a thin, cold, amber flame

Over low ghostly mist: a lone snipe wheels

Through shadowy moonshine, droning: and there steals

Into my heart a fear without a name

Out of primeval night’s resurgent realms,

Unearthly terror, chilling me with dread

As I lie waking wide-eyed on the bed.

And then you turn towards me in your sleep

Murmuring, and with a sigh of deep content

You nestle to my breast; and over me

Steals the warm peace of you; and, all fear spent,

I hold you to me sleeping quietly,

Till I, too, sink in slumber sound and deep.