Ezra Pound – Sestina for Ysolt
There comes upon me will to speak in praise
Of things most fragile in their loveliness;
Because the sky hath wept all this long day
And wrapped men's hearts within its cloak of greyness,
Because they look not down I sing the stars,
Because 'tis still mid-March I praise May's flowers.
Also I praise long hands that lie as flowers
Which though they labour not are worthy praise,
And praise deep eyes like pools wherein the stars
Gleam out reflected in their loveliness,
For whoso look on such there is no greyness
May hang about his heart on any day.
The other things that I would praise to-day?
Besides white hands and all the fragile flowers,
And by their praise dispel the evening's greyness?
I praise dim hair that worthiest is of praise
And dream upon its unbound loveliness,
And how therethrough mine eyes have seen the stars.
Yea, through that cloud mine eyes have seen the stars
That drift out slowly when night steals the day,
Through such a cloud meseems their loveliness
Surpasses that of all the other flowers.
For that one night I give all nights my praise
And love therefrom the twilight's coming greyness.
There is a stillness in this twilight greyness
Although the rain hath veiled the flow'ry stars,
They seem to listen as I weave this praise
Of what I have not seen all this grey day,
And they will tell my praise unto the flowers
When May shall bid them in in loveliness.
O ye I love, who hold this loveliness
Near to your hearts, may never any greyness
Enshroud your hearts when ye would gather flowers,
Or bind your eyes when ye would see the stars;
But alway do I give ye flowers by day,
And when day's plucked I give ye stars for praise.
But most, thou Flower, whose eyes are like the stars,
With whom my dreams bide all the live-long day,
Within thy hands would I rest all my praise.
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