SINCE I have lost her that I loved so well
My heart burns day by day
With woe that I have none on earth to tell,
For who can turn away
The sharp point from my flesh now she has gone?
She was the one, and she alone the one
To whom I could have told how great a stone
Is rolled against my heart by her decay.
Ah, lover, if on earth you still drew breath
And opened your sweet bosom to the air,
Then should I find an outlet for my care
As ships long locked in harbor find the sea.
To you I should know how to tell the loss
I could have suffered but through loss of thee.
But now I have no weapon against death,
None to assuage my thirst upon my cross,
For taking you, death reft even tvords from me.
The blackbirds fill the rushes with their song,
The sea breaks loud and snow-white on the beach,
And since to men my words no more belong
I’ll pour my inward speech
On these, the ministers of breath and sight
With which we fed our life,
The rushes tossing in the summer light.
The sea-waves breaking in a timeless throng.
I’ll make of them a wife
To tell the story of our sundered love
Here where we often walked with blackbirds round us and above.
I will confide my grief to timeless things,
To presences that fade not from the earth.
Thus haply when the blackbird sings
One syllable of its dearth
Will be diminished; when the salt wind brings
The smell of ocean landward, it will find
Its utterance, to no changeful lips confined,
Held in no private and unfaithful heart,
But to the grief of the whole world resigned,
And in the sorrow of all things having part.
O traveler coming down the willow lane
On whose uplifted head the wild airs blow,
Honor them, and drink deep, for fraught with pain
From me to you they go.
And lonely walker yonder by the beach,
Look gently on the loud sea’s windy reach
Where the waves toss their heads like sheaves of grain;
Not empty is their vast and bitter speech,
Not empty, nor shall ever be again,
For there my sorrows flow.
THEODORE MORRISON