Helen of Troy and Other Poems/By the Sea
BY THE SEA
BESIDE an ebbing northern sea
While stars awaken one by one,
We walk together, I and he.
He woos me with an easy grace
That proves him only half sincere;
A light smile flickers on his face.
To him love-making is an art,
And as a flutist plays a flute,
So does he play upon his heart
A music varied to his whim.
He has no use for love of mine,
He would not have me answer him.
To hide my eyes within the night
I watch the changeful lighthouse gleam
Alternately with red and white.
My laughter smites upon my ears,
So one who cries and wakes from sleep
Knows not it is himself he hears.
What if my voice should let him know
The mocking words were all a sham,
And lips that laugh could tremble so?
What if I lost the power to lie,
And he should only hear his name
In one low, broken cry?