14 December 2014

Music that stains the silence remains

                                                   by Lawrence Durrell


Nothing is lost, sweet self,
Nothing is ever lost.
The unspoken word
Is not exhausted but can be heard.
Music that stains
The silence remains
O echo is everywhere, the unbeckonable bird!


           Song from a Play

The Pleiades are sinking cool as paint,
And earth's huge camber follows out,
Turning in sleep, the oceanic curve:

Defined in concave like a human eye
Or cheek pressed warm on the dark's cheek,
Like dancers to a music they deserve.

This balcony, a moon-anointed shelf
Above a silent garden holds my bed.
I slept. But the dispiriting autumn moon,

In her slow expurgation of the sky
Needs company: is brooding on the dead,
And so am I now, so am I.


Love on a leave-of-absence came,
Unmoored the silence like a barge,
Set free to float on lagging webs
The swan-black wise unhindered night.

(Bitter and pathless were the ways
Of sleep to which such beauty led.)


A song in the valley of Nemea:
Sing quiet, quite quiet here.

Song for the brides of Argos
Combing the swarms of golden hair:
Quite quiet, quiet there.

Under the rolling comb of grass,
The sword outrusts the golden helm.

Agamemnon under tumulus serene
Outsmiles the jury of skeletons:
Cool under cumulus the lion queen:

Only the drum can celebrate,
Only the adjective outlive them.

A song in the valley of Nemea:
Sing quiet, quiet, quiet here.

Tone of the frog in the empty well,
Drone of the bald bee on the cold skull.

Quiet, Quiet, Quiet.

From Lawrence Durrell, Selected Poems, 1956.

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