The Collected Poems of Dora Sigerson Shorter/Last Eve
Last eve as I leaned from my lattice, looked out at the night
Where the grey of the sea misted into the grey of the skies,
Came with quick beating of wings and long sorrowful cries
Beautiful birds, and I wept, being blind with their white.
How the wind's strong invisible hands beat on doorway and pane,
And the sea seemed to writhe and roar in an anguish of thought!
How the moon's frightened face looking down seemed to shun what she sought,
Hid so pale in cloud fingers to weep in a passion of rain!
They had come in the night and the storm, winging back to my breast,
These hopes that were hopeless, these dreams that were ever as dreams;
Rending my heart with sharp beaks and their passionate screams,
Leashing my soul with the storm from its haven of rest.
Night long did I put them away, did they turn again,
Till the tumultuous waves bore them out in their creepy recess,
Tossed them back on the reef with a deadly pretence of caress;
Flung up by the hand of the sea, beaten back by the lash of the rain.
White birds, it is over and done, your last passion has paled;
The world has no place for your flight nor my heart for your screams.
O hopes that were hopeless, sweet dreams that were ever as dreams,
Let go! get back to your graves, you have fought and have failed.