Alice Meynell Poems

Alice Meynell was an English poet who, following her marriage to a Catholic newspaper publisher and editor, followed in his line of work becoming a successful editor and critic in her own right. She came late to the world of published poetry; she was aged 28 before her first collection was seen. It was called Preludes and attracted the favourable attention of other writers such as John Ruskin but was barely noticed by the reading public. Later in her life Alice served as vice-president of the Women Writers’ Suffrage League, a much less militant branch of the suffragette movement that was gathering pace in the early years of the 20th century.

Alice Meynell Bio

meynell

She was born Alice Christiana Gertrude Thompson in September 1847. Early years were spent in Barnes, South London and she enjoyed some literary exposure there due to her father’s friendship with the famous Charles Dickens. The family did not remain in London though, travelling around Europe before eventually settling in Italy. Alice wrote poetry mainly for her own interest but eventually she attracted critical attention with her first collection Preludes. This book was beautifully illustrated by her elder sister who was the artist Lady Elizabeth Butler. One sonnet in the collection, called Renouncement, was praised by Ruskin.

Alice Meynell Poems

“I Am The Way”

Thou art the Way.
Hadst Thou been nothing but the goal,
I cannot say
If Thou hadst ever met my soul.I cannot see –
I, child of process–if there lies
An end for me,
Full of repose, full of replies.I’ll not reproach
The way that goes, my feet that stir.
Access, approach,
Art Thou, time, way, and wayfarer.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

A Letter from a Girl to Her Own Old Age

Listen, and when thy hand this paper presses,
O time-worn woman, think of her who blesses
What thy thin fingers touch, with her caresses.O mother, for the weight of years that break thee!
O daughter, for slow time must yet awake thee,
And from the changes of my heart must make thee!O fainting traveller, morn is gray in heaven.
Dost thou remember how the clouds were driven?
And are they calm about the fall of even?Pause near the ending of thy long migration;
For this one sudden hour of desolation
Appeals to one hour of thy meditation.Suffer, O silent one, that I remind thee
Of the great hills that stormed the sky behind thee,
Of the wild winds of power that have resigned thee.

Know that the mournful plain where thou must wander
Is but a gray and silent world, but ponder
The misty mountains of the morning yonder.

Listen:-the mountain winds with rain were fretting,
And sudden gleams the mountain-tops besetting.
I cannot let thee fade to death, forgetting.

What part of this wild heart of mine I know not
Will follow with thee where the great winds blow not,
And where the young flowers of the mountain grow not.

Yet let my letter with thy lost thoughts in it
Tell what the way was when thou didst begin it,
And win with thee the goal when thou shalt win it.

I have not writ this letter of divining
To make a glory of thy silent pining,
A triumph of thy mute and strange declining.

Only one youth, and the bright life was shrouded;
Only one morning, and the day was clouded;
And one old age with all regrets is crowded.

O hush, O hush! Thy tears my words are steeping.
O hush, hush, hush! So full, the fount of weeping?
Poor eyes, so quickly moved, so near to sleeping?

Pardon the girl; such strange desires beset her.
Poor woman, lay aside the mournful letter
That breaks thy heart; the one who wrote, forget her:

The one who now thy faded features guesses,
With filial fingers thy gray hair caresses,
With morning tears thy mournful twilight blesses.

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

A Song of Derivations

I come from nothing; but from where
Come the undying thoughts I bear?
Down, through the long links of death and birth,
From the past poets of the earth,
My immortality is there.

I am like the blossom of an hour.
But long, long vanished sun and shower
Awoke my breath i’ the young world’s air;
I track the past back everywhere
Through seed and flower and seed and flower.

Or I am like a stream that flows
Full of the cold springs that arose
In morning lands, in distant hills;
And down the plain my channel fills
With melting of forgotten snows.

Voices, I have not heard, possessed
My own fresh songs; my thoughts are blessed
With relics of the far unknown.
And mixed with memories not my own
The sweet streams throng in my breast.

Before this life began to be,
The happy songs that wake in me
Woke long ago and far apart.
Heavily on this little heart
Presses this immortality.

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

At Night

Home, home from the horizon far and clear,
Hither the soft wings sweep;
Flocks of the memories of the day draw near
The dovecote doors of sleep.Oh which are they that come through sweetest light
Of all these homing birds?
Which with the straightest and the swiftest flight?
Your words to me, your words!
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Cradle-Song at Twilight

The child not yet is lulled to rest.
Too young a nurse, the slender Night
So laxly holds him to her breast
That throbs with flight.He plays with her, and will not sleep.
For other playfellows she sighs;
An unmaternal fondness keep
Her alien eyes.

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

In February

Rich meanings of the prophet-Spring adorn,
Unseen, this colourless sky of folded showers,
And folded winds; no blossom in the bowers;
A poet’s face asleep in this grey morn.
Now in the midst of the old world forlorn
A mystic child is set in these still hours.
I keep this time, even before the flowers,
Sacred to all the young and the unborn.To all the miles and miles of unsprung wheat,
And to the Spring waiting beyond the portal,
And to the future of my own young art,
And, among all these things, to you, my sweet,
My friend, to your calm face and the immortal
Child tarrying all your life-time in your heart.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

My heart shall be thy garden

My heart shall be thy garden. Come, my own,
Into thy garden; thine be happy hours
Among my fairest thoughts, my tallest flowers,
From root to crowning petal, thine alone.
Thine is the place from where the seeds are sown
Up to the sky inclosed, with all its showers.
But ah, the birds, the birds! Who shall build bowers
To keep these thine? O friend, the birds have flown.For as these come and go, and quit our pine
To follow the sweet season, or, new-corners,
Sing one song only from our alder-trees,
My heart has thoughts, which, though thine eyes hold mine.
Flit to the silent world and other summers,
With wings that dip beyond the silver seas.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Parted

Farewell to one now silenced quite,
Sent out of hearing, out of sight,–
My friend of friends, whom I shall miss,
He is not banished, though, for this,–
Nor he, nor sadness, nor delight.Though I shall talk with him no more,
A low voice sounds upon the shore.
He must not watch my resting-place,
But who shall drive a mournful face
From the sad winds about my door?I shall not hear his voice complain,
But who shall stop the patient rain?
His tears must not disturb my heart,
But who shall change the years and part
The world from any thought of pain?Although my life is left so dim,
The morning crowns the mountain-rim;
Joy is not gone from summer skies,
Nor innocence from children’s eyes,
And all of these things are part of him.He is not banished, for the showers
Yet wake this green warm earth of ours.
How can the summer but be sweet?
I shall not have him at my feet,
And yet my feet are on the flowers.

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Summer in England, 1914

On London fell a clearer light;
Caressing pencils of the sun
Defined the distances, the white
Houses transfigured one by one,
The ‘long, unlovely street’ impearled.
O what a sky has walked the world!Most happy year! And out of town
The hay was prosperous, and the wheat;
The silken harvest climbed the down:
Moon after moon was heavenly-sweet,
Stroking the bread within the sheaves,
Looking ‘twixt apples and their leaves.And while this rose made round her cup,
The armies died convulsed. And when
This chaste young silver sun went up
Softly, a thousand shattered men,
One wet corruption, heaped the plain,
After a league-long throb of pain.Flower following tender flower; and birds,
And berries; and benignant skies
Made thrive the serried flocks and herds. —
Yonder are men shot through the eyes.
Love, hide thy face
From man’s unpardonable race.Who said ‘No man hath greater love than this,
To die to serve his friend’?
So these have loved us all unto the end.
Chide thou no more, O thou unsacrificed!
The soldier dying dies upon a kiss,
The very kiss of Christ.

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

The Modern Mother

Oh what a kiss
With filial passion overcharged is this!
To this misgiving breast
The child runs, as a child ne’er ran to rest
Upon the light heart and the unoppressed.Unhoped, unsought!
A little tenderness, this mother thought
The utmost of her meed
She looked for gratitude; content indeed
With thus much that her nine years’ love had bought.Nay, even with less.
This mother, giver of life, death, peace, distress,
Desired ah! not so much
Thanks as forgiveness; and the passing touch
Expected, and the slight, the brief caress.Oh filial light
Strong in these childish eyes, these new, these bright
Intelligible stars! Their rays
Are near the constant earth, guides in the maze,
Natural, true, keen in this dusk of days.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

The Shepherdess

She walks-the lady of my delight-
A shepherdess of sheep.
Her flocks are thoughts. She keeps them white;
She keeps them from the steep;
She feeds them on the fragrant height,
And folds them in for sleep.She roams maternal hills and bright,
Dark valleys safe and deep.
Into that tender breast at night
The chastest stars may peep.
She walks-the lady of my delight-
A shepherdess of sheep.She holds her little thoughts in sight,
Though gay they run and leap.
She is so circumspect and right;
She has her soul to keep.
She walks-the lady of my delight-
A shepherdess of sheep.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Veneration Of Images

Thou man, first-comer, whose wide arms entreat,
Gather, clasp, welcome, bind,
Lack, or remember! whose warm pulses beat
With love of thine own kind;Unlifted for a blessing on yon sea,
Unshrined on this high-way,
O flesh, O grief, thou too shalt have our knee,
Thou rood of every day!
Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Your Own Fair Youth

Your own fair youth, you care so little for it–
Smiling toward Heaven, you would not stay the advances
Of time and change upon your hapiest fancies.
I keep your golden hour, and will restore it.
If ever, in time to come, you would explore it–
Your old self, whose thoughts went like last year’s pansies,
Look unto me; no mirror keeps its glances;
In my unfailing praises now I store it.To guard all joys of yours from Time’s estranging,
I shall then be a treasury where your gay,
Happy, and pensive past unaltered is.
I shall then be a garden charmed from changing,
In which your June has never passed away.
Walk there awhile among my memories.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

“Why Wilt Thou Chide?”

Why wilt thou chide,
Who hast attained to be denied?
Oh learn, above
All price is my refusal, Love.
My sacred Nay
Was never cheapened by the way.
Thy single sorrow crowns thee lord
Of an unpurchasable word.Oh strong, Oh pure!
As Yea makes happier loves secure,
I vow thee this
Unique rejection of a kiss.
I guard for thee
This jealous sad monopoly.
I seal this honour thine. None dare
Hope for a part in thy despair.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

A Poet of One Mood

A poet of one mood in all my lays,
Ranging all life to sing one only love,
Like a west wind across the world I move,
Sweeping my harp of floods mine own wild ways.
The countries change, but not the west-wind days
Which are my songs. My soft skies shine above,
And on all seas the colours of a dove,
And on all fields a flash of silver greys.
I made the whole world answer to my art
And sweet monotonous meanings. In your ears
I change not ever, bearing, for my part,
One thought that is the treasure of my years-
A small cloud full of rain upon my heart
And in mine arms, clasped, like a child in tears.
download 6 4 Alice Meynell Poems

After Parting

Farewell has long been said; I have forgone thee;
I never name thee even.
But how shall I learn virtues and yet shun thee?
For thou art so near Heaven
That Heavenward meditations pause upon thee.Thou dost beset the path to every shrine;
My trembling thoughts discern
Thy goodness in the good for which I pine;
And, if I turn from but one sin, I turn
Unto a smile of thine.How shall I thrust thee apart
Since all my growth tends to thee night and day–
To thee faith, hope, and art?
Swift are the currents setting all one way;
They draw my life, my life, out of my heart.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Builders of Ruins

We build with strength and deep tower wall
That shall be shattered thus and thus.
And fair and great are court and hall,
But how fair–this is not for us,
Who know the lack that lurks in all.We know, we know how all too bright
The hues are that our painting wears,
And how the marble gleams too white;–
We speak in unknown tongues, the years
Interpret everything aright,And crown with weeds our pride of towers,
And warm our marble through with sun,
And break our pavements through with flowers,
With an Amen when all is done,
Knowing these perfect things of ours.O days, we ponder, left alone,
Like children in their lonely hour,
And in our secrets keep your own,
As seeds the color of the flower.
To-day they are not all unknown,

The stars that ‘twixt the rise and fall,
Like relic-seers, shall one by one
Stand musing o’er our empty hall;
And setting moons shall brood upon
The frscoes of our inward wall.

And when some midsummer shall be,
Hither shall come some little one
(Dusty with bloom of flowers is he),
Sit on a ruin i’ the late long sun,
And think, one foot upon his knee.

And where they wrought, these lives of ours,
So many-worded, many-souled,
A north-west wind will take the towers,
And dark with color, sunny and cold,
Will range alone among the flowers.

And here or there, at our desire,
The little clamorous owl shall sit,
Through her still time, and we aspire
To make a law (and know not it)
Unto the life of a wild briar.

Our purpose is distinct and dear,
Though from our open eyes ’tis hidden,
Thou, time to come, shall make it clear,
Undoing our work; we are children chidden
With pity and smiles of many a year.

We shall allot the praise, and guess
What part is yours and what is ours?–
O years that certainly will bless
Our flowers with fruits, our seeds with flowers,
With ruin all our perfectness.

Be patient, Time, of our delays,
Too happy hopes, and wasted fears,
Our faithful ways, our wilful ways;
Solace our labors, O our seers
The seasons, and our bards the days;

And make our pause and silence brim
With the shrill children’s play, and sweets
Of those pathetic flowers and dim,
Of those eternal flowers my Keats,
Dying, felt growing over him!

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

In Autumn

The leaves are many under my feet,
And drift one way.
Their scent of death is weary and sweet.
A flight of them is in the grey
Where sky and forest meet.The low winds moan for sad sweet years;
The birds sing all for pain,
Of a common thing, to weary ears,–
Only a summer’s fate of rain,
And a woman’s fate of tears.I walk to love and life alone
Over these mournful places,
Across the summer overthrown,
The dead joys of these silent faces,
To claim my own.I know his heart has beat to bright
Sweet loves gone by;
I know the leaves that die to-night
Once budded to the sky;
And I shall die from his delight.

O leaves, so quietly ending now,
You heard the cuckoos sing.
And I will grow upon my bough
If only for a spring,
And fall when the rain is on my brow.

O tell me, tell me ere you die,
Is it worth the pain?
You bloomed so fair, you waved so high;
Now that the sad days wane,
Are you repenting where you lie?

I lie amongst you, and I kiss
Your fragrance mouldering.
O dead delights, is it such bliss,
That tuneful Spring?
Is love so sweet, that comes to this?

Kiss me again as I kiss you;
Kiss me again;
For all your tuneful nights of dew,
In this your time of rain,
For all your kisses when Spring was new.

You will not, broken hearts; let be.
I pass across your death
To a golden summer you shall not see,
And in your dying breath
There is no benison for me.

There is an autumn yet to wane,
There are leaves yet to fall,
Which, when I kiss, may kiss again,
And, pitied, pity me all for all,
And love me in mist and rain.

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Maternity

ONE wept whose only child was dead,
New-born, ten years ago.
“Weep not; he is in bliss,” they said.
She answered, “Even so,”Ten years ago was born in pain
A child, not now forlorn.
But oh, ten years ago, in vain,
A mother, a mother was born.”
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

November Blue

The colour of the electric lights has a strange effect in giving a
complementary tint to the air in the early evening.–ESSAY ON
LONDON.O, Heavenly colour! London town
Has blurred it from her skies;
And hooded in an earthly brown,
Unheaven’d the city lies.
No longer standard-like this hue
Above the broad road flies;
Nor does the narrow street the blue
Wear, slender pennon-wise.But when the gold and silver lamps
Colour the London dew,
And, misted by the winter damps,
The shops shine bright anew –
Blue comes to earth, it walks the street,
It dyes the wide air through;
A mimic sky about their feet,
The throng go crowned with blue.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Renouncement

I must not think of thee; and, tired yet strong,
I shun the love that lurks in all delight–
The love of thee–and in the blue heaven’s height,
And in the dearest passage of a song.
Oh, just beyond the sweetest thoughts that throng
This breast, the thought of thee waits hidden yet bright;
But it must never, never come in sight;
I must stop short of thee the whole day long.
But when sleep comes to close each difficult day,
When night gives pause to the long watch I keep,
And all my bonds I needs must loose apart,
Must doff my will as raiment laid away,–
With the first dream that comes with the first sleep
I run, I run, I am gather’d to thy heart.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

The Fold

BEHOLD,
The time is now! Bring back, bring back
Thy flocks of fancies, wild of whim.
Oh lead them from the mountain-track –
Thy frolic thoughts untold.
Oh bring them in–the fields grow dim –
And let me be the fold.Behold,
The time is now! Call in, O call
Thy posturing kisses gone astray
For scattered sweets. Gather them all
To shelter from the cold.
Throng them together, close and gay,
And let me be the fold!
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

The Return to Nature

(I) PROMETHEUS 1-
IT was the south : mid-everything,

Mid-land, mid-summer, noon ;

And deep within a limpid spring

The mirrored sun of June.-
Splendour in freshness ! Ah, who stole

This sun, this fire, from heaven?

He holds it shining in his soul,

Prometheus the forgiven.(II) THETIS2-
In her bright title poets dare

What the wild eye of fancy sees —

Similitude — the clear, the fair

Light mystery of images.-
Round the blue sea I love the best

The argent foam played, slender, fleet ;

I saw — past Wordsworth and the rest —

Her natural, Greek, and silver feet.

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

The Two Poets

Whose is the speech
That moves the voices of this lonely beech?
Out of the long West did this wild wind come –
Oh strong and silent! And the tree was dumb,
Ready and dumb, until
The dumb gale struck it on the darkened hill.

Two memories,
Two powers, two promises, two silences
Closed in this cry, closed in these thousand leaves
Articulate. This sudden hour retrieves
The purpose of the past,
Separate, apart–embraced, embraced at last.

“Whose is the word?
Is it I that spake? Is it thou? Is it I that heard?”
“Thine earth was solitary; yet I found thee!”
“Thy sky was pathless, but I caught, I bound thee,
Thou visitant divine.”
“O thou my Voice, the word was thine.”
“Was thine.”

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Via, Et Veritas, Et Vita

“You never attained to Him?” “If to attain
Be to abide, then that may be.”
“Endless the way, followed with how much pain!”
“The way was He.”
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

A Dead Harvest [In Kensington Gardens]

Along the graceless grass of town
They rake the rows of red and brown,
Dead leaves, unlike the rows of hay,
Delicate, neither gold nor grey,
Raked long ago and far away.A narrow silence in the park;
Between the lights a narrow dark.
One street rolls on the north, and one,
Muffled, upon the south doth run.
Amid the mist the work is done.A futile crop; for it the fire
Smoulders, and, for a stack, a pyre.
So go the town’s lives on the breeze,
Even as the sheddings of the trees;
Bosom nor barn is filled with these.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

A Poet’s Wife

I saw a tract of ocean locked in-land
Within a field’s embrace –
The very sea! Afar it fled the strand
And gave the seasons chase,
And met the night alone, the tempest spanned,
Saw sunrise face to face.O Poet, more than ocean, lonelier!
In inaccessible rest
And storm remote, thou, sea of thoughts, dost stir,
Scattered through east to west, –
Now, while thou closest with the kiss of her
Who locks thee to her breast.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

An Unmarked Festival

There’s a feast undated, yet
Both our true lives hold it fast,–
Even the day when we first met.
What a great day came and passed,
–Unknown then, but known at last.And we met: You knew not me,
Mistress of your joys and fears;
Held my hand that held the key
Of the treasure of your years,
Of the fountain of your tears.For you knew not it was I,
And I knew not it was you.
We have learnt, as days went by.
But a flower struck root and grew
Underground, and no one knew.Day of days! Unmarked it rose,
In whose hours we were to meet;
And forgotten passed. Who knows,
Was earth cold or sunny, Sweet,
At the coming of your feet?

One mere day, we thought; the measure
Of such days the year fulfills.
Now, how dearly would we treasure
Something from its fields, its rills,
And its memorable hills.

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Chimes

Brief, on a flying night,
From the shaken tower,
A flock of bells take flight,
And go with the hour.Like birds from the cote to the gales,
Abrupt–O hark!
A fleet of bells set sails,
And go to the dark.Sudden the cold airs swing.
Alone, aloud,
A verse of bells takes wing
And flies with the cloud.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

In Early Spring

O Spring, I know thee! Seek for sweet surprise
In the young children’s eyes.
But I have learnt the years, and know the yet
Leaf-folded violet.
Mine ear, awake to silence, can foretell
The cuckoo’s fitful bell.
I wander in a gray time that encloses
June and the wild hedge-roses.
A year’s procession of the flowers doth pass
My feet, along the grass.
And all you sweet birds silent yet, I know
The notes that stir you so,
Your songs yet half devised in the dim dear
Beginnings of the year.
In these young days you meditate your part;
I have it all by heart.
I know the secrets of the seeds of flowers
Hidden and warm with showers,
And how, in kindling Spring, the cuckoo shall
Alter his interval.
But not a flower or song I ponder is
My own, but memory’s.
I shall be silent in those days desired
Before a world inspired.
O dear brown birds, compose your old song-phrases,
Earth, thy familiar daisies.The poet mused upon the dusky height,
Between two stars towards night,
His purpose in his heart. I watched, a space,
The meaning of his face:
There was the secret, fled from earth and skies,
Hid in his gray young eyes.
My heart and all the Summer wait his choice,
And wonder for his voice.
Who shall foretell his songs, and who aspire
But to divine his lyre?
Sweet earth, we know thy dimmest mysteries,
But he is lord of his.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Maternity

One wept whose only child was dead,
New-born, ten years ago.
“Weep not; he is in bliss,” they said.
She answered, “Even so,”Ten years ago was born in pain
A child, not now forlorn.
But oh, ten years ago, in vain,
A mother, a mother was born.”
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Parentage

“When Augustus Caesar legislated against the unmarried citizens of
Rome, he declared them to be, in some sort, slayers of the people.”Ah no, not these!
These, who were childless, are not they who gave
So many dead unto the journeying wave,
The helpless nurslings of the cradling seas;
Not they who doomed by infallible decrees
Unnumbered man to the innumerable grave.
But those who slay
Are fathers. Theirs are armies. Death is theirs,
The death of innocences and despairs;
The dying of the golden and the grey.
The sentence, when these speak it, has no Nay.
And she who slays is she who bears, who bears.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Singers to Come

New delights to our desire
The singers of the past can yield.
I lift mine eyes to hill and field,
And see in them your yet dumb lyre,
poets unborn and unrevealed.Singers to come, what thoughts will start
To song? What words of yours be sent
Through man’s soul, and with earth be blent?
These words of nature and the heart
Await you like an instrument.Who knows what musical flocks of words
Upon these pine-tree tops will light,
And crown these towers in circling flight,
And cross these seas like summer birds,
And give a voice to the day and night?Something of you already is ours;
Some mystic part of you belongs
To us whose dream of your future throngs,
Who look on hills, and trees, and flowers,
Which will mean so much in your songs.

I wonder, like the maid who found,
And knelt to lift, the lyre supreme
Of Orpheus from the Thracian stream.
She dreams on its sealed past profound;
On a deep future sealed I dream.

She bears it in her wanderings
Within her arms, and has not pressed
Her unskilled fingers but her breast
Upon those silent sacred strings;
I, too, clasp mystic strings at rest.

For I, i’ the world of lands and seas,
The sky of wind and rain and fire,
And in man’s world of long desire–
In all that is yet dumb in these–
Have found a mysterious lyre.

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

The Lady Poverty

The Lady Poverty was fair:
But she has lost her looks of late,
With change of times and change of air.
Ah slattern, she neglects her hair,
Her gown, her shoes. She keeps no state
As once when her pure feet were bare.Or–almost worse, if worse can be –
She scolds in parlours; dusts and trims,
Watches and counts. Oh, is this she
Whom Francis met, whose step was free,
Who with Obedience carolled hymns,
In Umbria walked with Chastity?Where is her ladyhood? Not here,
Not among modern kinds of men;
But in the stony fields, where clear
Through the thin trees the skies appear;
In delicate spare soil and fen,
And slender landscape and austere.
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

The Roaring Frost

A flock of winds came winging from the North,
Strong birds with fighting pinions driving forth
With a resounding call!Where will they close their wings and cease their cries –
Between what warming seas and conquering skies –
And fold, and fall?
 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

Unto Us A Son Is Given

Given, not lent,
And not withdrawn–once sent –
This Infant of mankind, this One,
Is still the little welcome Son.New every year,
New-born and newly dear,
He comes with tidings and a song,
The ages long, the ages long.Even as the cold
Keen winter grows not old;
As childhood is so fresh, foreseen,
And spring in the familiar green;Sudden as sweet
Come the expected feet.
All joy is young, and new all art,
And He, too, Whom we have by heart.

 Alice Meynell Poems
Alice Meynell Poems

West Wind In Winter

Another day awakes. And who –
Changing the world–is this?
He comes at whiles, the Winter through,
West Wind! I would not miss
His sudden tryst: the long, the new
Surprises of his kiss.Vigilant, I make haste to close
With him who comes my way.
I go to meet him as he goes;
I know his note, his lay,
His colour and his morning rose;
And I confess his day.My window waits; at dawn I hark
His call; at morn I meet
His haste around the tossing park
And down the softened street;
The gentler light is his; the dark,
The grey–he turns it sweet.So too, so too, do I confess
My poet when he sings.
He rushes on my mortal guess
With his immortal things.
I feel, I know him. On I press –
He finds me ‘twixt his wings.

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