The Veil and other poems/The Unfinished Dream
THE UNFINISHED DREAM
RARE-SWEET the air in that unimagined country—
My spirit had wandered far
From its weary body close-enwrapt in slumber
Where its home and earth-friends are;
A milk-like air—and of light all abundance;
And there a river clear
Painting the scene like a picture on its bosom,
Green foliage drifting near.
No sign of life I saw, as I pressed onward,
Fish, nor beast, nor bird,
Till I came to a hill clothed in flowers to its summit,
Then shrill small voices I heard.
And I saw from concealment a company of elf-folk
With faces strangely fair,
Talking their unearthly scattered talk together,
A bind of green-grasses in their hair.
Marvellously gentle, feater far than children,
In gesture, mien and speech,
Hastening onward in translucent shafts of sunshine,
And gossiping each with each.
Straw-light their locks, on neck and shoulder falling,
Faint of almond the silks they wore,
Spun not of worm, but as if inwoven of moonbeams
And foam on rock-bound shore;
Like lank-legged grasshoppers in June-tide meadows,
Amalillios of the day.
Hungrily gazed upon by me—a stranger,
In unknown regions astray.
Yet, happy beyond words, I marked their sunlit faces,
Stealing soft enchantment from their eyes,
Tears in my own confusing their small image,
Harkening their bead-like cries.
They passed me, unseeing, a waft of flocking linners;
Sadly I fared on my way;
And came in my dream to a dreamlike habitation,
Close-shut, festooned and grey.
Pausing, I gazed at the porch dust-still, vine-wreathed,
Worn the stone steps thereto,
Mute hung its bell, whence a stony head looked downward,
Grey 'gainst the sky's pale-blue-—
Strange to me: strange. . . .