Gentle Heart

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother:
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea–
What is all this sweet work worth,
If thou kiss not me?

Loves Philosophy, Percy Bysshe Shelley


Upon my deathbed I lie inert—
dormant like a wintering tree,
enfeebled heart and mind aground,
command lost and naught to follow—
When I hear you sing.

Your song lifts me out of lumbering shadows—
out of the soft, dark earth
and melts my glacial melancholy.

Toward the window I creep—
the window a stage—
and pull the curtain back
and wash my face in your dun-colored dawn.
In you, beloved, is all the world.
You are the sea
into which my every river flows.

You sang for me at my birth—
My first breath indrawn.

What revelations did you sing for me
when my back was turned
through all the sullen years?

And when I am gone from you?
Will you be there at the last?
My last breath exhaled?

(Why trouble your brow with such thoughts?)

I dive deep into the present,
not by habit and not by wrote,
no longer do I drink from that ramshackle well of brackish memories
(No longer do I tease my darker angels—
I’ve toyed with them long enough.)
Each moment is a fullness,
each moment is a depth,
each moment is precious
because of its finitude.

Each moment is a joy and sadness
Such joy as this! To love you!
And sadness compounds the joy. Why must it be so?
To know that all the flowers that spring
from your eyes must someday wilt—
Bittersweet is love if thought be true.
But ’tis best to trust and love.

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