In the shelter of night’s lone chasm
I burn worn rags of thought,
And stir the slowsmoking embers.
Here alone is concentration
Brief as darkness, and a grasp hard as fate;
And here, too, is the balance where desire
Is set against accomplishment.
Thus, with steel needle, in a moment
Vision draws the shreds together seamless;
Then, keen with scissor edge, it rips
Back the pierced fabric into strips,
Which soon, in hopeless flames,
Are but charred threads turning ashgrey with morn.
(From Faust’s Metamorphoses, 1932, 15)
Wavenumbed I fell through Ocean’s mesh
And passed through fables and changing myths;
Worlds of desire crept in my veins
And nameless layers of pain grew flesh
The salt of sorrow seared my sores,
My lips spoke foam of farswung seas;
None dared yet glimpse the grimgreen change,
Of my new calm unlock the doors.
(From Faust’s Metamorphoses, 1932, 58)
Is this not nightmare? When I wake
The sun will gild a glassy lake.
In marriage seasoned and in war,
I’ll watch my ploughshares turn the earth.
And laden ships put out of shore,
The harvest done, of grain no dearth;
And laws immutable hold sway.
Like battlements or swords’ array.
from Faust’s Dialectic 1935
(From Nostradam, 1935, 28)
From a letter to Samuel Beckett from Jean Reavey, 3 February 1977,
‘George’s last request of me was to retype his poem Green and blue which he had dedicated to you—with one word to be changed. He asked that I bring it to him at the hospital―with an envelope for mailing―and he would sign it. That day his eyes and ears were closed to me. That night he died.’
And of grass all was told
in green legend and three-leaved remembrance;
And of blue in the iris
of erin by lough and boreen.
Tale of giant and gem,
gentle daughters, grim gentry from over
Grey waters, and nodding old men
by the soft-smoking peat,
Talking silver-leapt salmon and milk-
misted morning by lake,
Mountain bog, and the little slight people
slipping out of the shade,
And then melting away,
like twelve sons blown away by the winds
From the language that lingers
where the Atlantic tunnels the rock.
Timeless talk by the rain-
sodden peat, night-long whispers in erse;
By the blue of the lough
all is told in green legend of erin.