In the room that is closed to the assailing night,
and warmed by colours tangled on ledge and wall,
gather, friends and lovers, and cherish as bright
honey-dripping fruit these hours, before they fall,
fall, rot, wither, to end in dust, that is grey and small.
Our talk is the tuning before the players begin
their symphony—quarreling fragments alive
with promise. If any declare that it is ugly and thin,
let him not stay to watch the music thrive
as on rough herbage springing for the sweet hive.
Your thoughts are absent, our minds have not met.
Far from this room, yet in striving unison,
they move, like a fluttering constellation set
on the heavens, no star learned in the other one,
but all their orbits caught in a pattern slow to be undone.
You do not mark the blood-beats in your ears
this moment. You have laid wise hands on joy,
as on an old nest, whence, in other years,
escaping wings had rushed, that is become a toy
for us to hold, before a tardy wind comes to destroy.
Yet the wind rises, the wind and the dark on the glass
press hardly. Even you will arise and go,
separately, as that old king to his grass,
with unpared nails, and hair that begins to grow
long as the beasts’: and we forget forever what these short hours know.