L. Davidson

 

Sylvia

Taken from the book Interlude.

 

When you see the fire a-glowing, after sleet has stabbed your face

Heedlessly, with harried whirling; shrieking, tearing in a race,

Rain and snow in travail keening - then the flow of roseate calm,

Softly as the spring flood ebbing; quivering, soothing as a balm,

Surely, as the senses sparring, know the power of smoothing palm,

So is she, my friend of childhood; so is she, my Sylvia.

 

Have you felt the sun a-burning, mouth and nostrils choked with dust,

Watched the wadis - eyelids aching - swallowed water red with rust,

Slammed the shells home, ears a-ringing, head a-throb with battle-boom?

Then the stillness; shadows falling softly from the evening's loom,

With the night's cool finger silverine, touching desert well and tomb...

So is she, my friend afar off, so is she, my Sylvia.

 

When you hear the shrapnel whirring, sense that soon the Cup will be,

Cracks the Blow excruciating; warm the youth's blood welling free;

With the clouds of sulphur highlight reddening fast before your eye,

Now infused with colours softening, effort seems to zoom and lie,

Cradled in the Realms of Darkness; tear-bright Time alone does fly.

So is she, my lonely sister, so is she, my Sylvia.

 

Have you watched azalea blossoms loosen petals to the air,

Gossamer planes of deepest carmine, perfume subtle, redolent, rare?

Not in leafdom or the heather, flowering Orchard of the Spring,

Can you find a temple fairer in the luscious Pastoral Ring,

Which is loved by young and aged, flower and tiny feathered thing.

So are you, my Friend and Power, so I love you, Sylvia.