Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

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        5
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        10
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        20
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        25
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        30
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        35
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        40
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        45
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.        50
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,        55
Till I, too, sink in slumber sound and deep.

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