THEY say her house is shadow-haunted now,
Who while she lived loved shadows more than life.
She sought them everywhere. A saffron bough
Of autumn leaves was lovelier to her
If imaged upward from a pool of rain —
Reflections lie so softly with no stir
On wind-neglected water!
In her room
She tempted shadows with smooth surfaces,
Loving the way the shapes of common things
Bent into strangeness. Even orchard bloom
Was only sweet when on her wall the moon
Painted the silver image.
Every day
She polished carefully each knife and spoon
To see them shine; rubbed rainbows once again
Into each glass; then finished washing up
By blowing bubbles through her finger-tips.
The curving image of each star-gold cup
Hung soap-imprisoned for bewitching her.
She married one in whom she seemed to see
Her love reflected. She had thought to show
The magic of her shadow-world to him,
But he was bound fast to reality.
He liked a thing for its essential form,
Not the distorted image that it cast;
And so she slipped away from him at last.
He held her body but her thoughts became
Fleeting as images of blowing leaves
Wind-blurred on water. He was not to blame
Who could not grasp intangibility,
For she had been created shadow-mad
And vanished, like a shadow with the flame.