Body and Spirit

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Body and Spirit
written by William Henry Davies
From "Child Lovers", (1916) Link to further information




Who stands before me on the stairs:
  Ah, is it you, my love?
My candle-light burns through your arm,
  And still thou dost not move;
Thy body's dead, this is not you —
It is thy ghost my light burns through.

Thy spirit this: I leap the stairs,
  To reach thy body's place;
I kiss and kiss, and still there comes
  No colour to thy face;
I hug thee for one little breath -
For this is sleep, it is not death!
  * * * * *
The first night she was in her grave,
  And I looked in the glass,
I saw her sit upright in bed -
  Without a sound it was;
I saw her hand feel in the cloth,
To fetch a box of powder forth.

She sat and watched me all the while,
  For fear I looked her way;
I saw her powder cheek and chin,
  Her fast corrupting clay;
Then down my lady lay, and smiled -
She thought her beauty saved, poor child.

Now down the stairs I leap half-mad,
  And up the street I start;
I still can see her hand at work,
  And Oh, it breaks my heart:
All night behind my back I see
Her powdering, with her eyes on me.

SemiPD-icon.png This work is in the public domain in countries where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.