Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
XXVII. Vain Longing
‘If I could hold your hands’
IF I could hold your hands to-night,
  Just for a little while, and know
That only I, of all the world,
          Possessed them so.
A slender shape in that old chair,        5
  If I could see you here to-night,
Between me and the twilight pale—
          So light and frail.
Your cool white dress, its folding lost
  In one broad sweep of shadow grey;        10
Your weary head just drooped aside,
          That sweet old way.
Bowed like a flower-cup dashed with rain,
  The darkness crossing half your face,
And just the glimmer of a smile        15
          For one to trace.
If I could see your eyes that reach
  Far out into the farthest sky,
Where past the trail of dying suns
          The old years lie.        20
Or touch your silent lips to-night,
  And steal the sadness from their smile,
And find the last kiss they have kept
          This weary while!
If it could be—Oh, all in vain        25
  The restless trouble of my soul
Sets, as the great tides of the moon,
          Toward your control!
In vain the longings of the lips,
  The eye’s desire and the pain;        30
The hunger of the heart—O love,
          Is it in vain?

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