Brand lit in foliage, in the heart of Summer,
Breaking from the live coals, torn from the seed-pod,
Flaunting its brilliance, petals of the burnet-rose
Stirred by a slow wind, under gold antennae
Wasp-gold, simmering, hovering in heat haze,
Red silk of poppies:
June wakes the music that was known to Orpheus,
Breathed by the fire-god, muted for enchantment,
Fire-misted marigold, clustered myosotis
Sprung to remember the river’s lamentation,
June flowers hiding the footprints of Eurydice
Seized by the dark king.
Yet the turf tells me: she it is, no other,
Touches the rose-blaze, gathers what became her
Music. Forgetfulness holds her like a girdle
Silent. Only by absence is the song made
Audible. Orpheus, leaning above Lethe,
Knows every note there.
There the stream flies on to its own beginning,
Slips through the fresh banks, woods of their escaping,
Leaving in glory patterns of a lost world,
Leaves that are shadows of a different order,
Light, born of white light, broken by the wave’s plunge
Here into colours.
Ocean, kindler of us, mover and mother,
Assailing the rock with variety of music,
Inconstancy of pattern, eternally renewing
Through mother-of-pearl the colours of destruction
Dissolving, lost in the whisper of the sea-cave,
Sigh of a gull’s wings!
Here now is Summer, this perennial wonder
Of fireborn blossoms, the sudden incarnation
True for this moment, therefore never dying,
Never transfigured by the net of sunbeams,
Being of the spray, the rainbow from the breakers,
Born, like the white girl.
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