Friday, August 22, 2014

The Lover by Ruth Manning-Sanders

For me, your lover, life is a great room
Scattered with your belongings, and I see
Nothing you have not touched, and whoso comes
Carries your messages, and who departs
Goes on your errand. When you are away
I gaze on your possessions and discover
That all your hands have touched grows animate
And is my friend, and every comer holds one.
And the wide floor has precious litter for me.
There is your workshop yonder ; on the table
Lies the fine work you have delighted in.
Beneath it the torn remnants of your failures;
Here by the stove your little place of rest.
Your chair, and the book whose lyords were written for you;
And there above, the loft with its small ladder
Your feet have worn, for it is there you pray.
And 'mid these things that I love and that love me
I sit, whilst the wind of the world goes clamouring
Through the eaves and from the street below
Brings stir and many voices, and I listen
Intent upon one sound, for there is nothing
To me so sweet as the coming of your steps.
You come smiling,— how I love this room
And all its dear belongings ! You come sad,
And still I love it, and am filled with pity.
But now you come in anger, and I hate it,
And run toward the door crying, ' Escape !'
Yet though the door is ever on the latch
I cannot go, so many voices hold me.
If you should go, I listen for your return.
And if you should not return? Indeed, I know riot,
But I believe,—crouched 'mong my silent friends.
Scattered as you have left them, for they are faithful,—
I should sit waiting and remembering.
And heat in all the world only the wind
That hid the sound of your retreating footsteps.

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