Collected Poems
Than harps, and all the morning stars together,
When jewels and harps and stars and everything
That flashed and sang and was not Vivian,
Seemed less than echoes of her least of words
For she was coming. Suddenly, somewhere
Behind him, she was coming; that was all
He knew until she came and took his hand
And held it while she talked about the fishes.
When she looked up he thought a softer light
Was in her eyes than once he had found there;
And had there been left yet for dusky women
A beauty that was heretofore not hers,
He told himself he must have seen it then
Before him in the face at which he smiled
And trembled. " Many men have called me wise, "
He said, " but you are wiser than all wisdom
If you know what you are. " " I don ' t, " she said;
" I know that you and I are here together;
I know that I have known for twenty years
That life would be almost a constant yawning
Until you came; and now that you are here,
I know that you are not to go away
Until you tell me that I ' m hideous;
I know that I like fishes, ferns, and snakes,
Maybe because I liked them when the world
Was young and you and I were salamanders;
I know, too, a cool place not far from here,
Where there are ferns that are like marching men
Who never march away. Come now and see them,
And do as they do never march away.
When they are gone, some others, crisp and green,
Will have their place, but never march away. "
He smoothed her silky fingers, one by one :
" Some other Merlin, also, do you think,
Will have his place and never march away? "