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The Fabulous Tree

ISSUE:  Winter 1939

For H.D.

On shadow-checkered turf that fabulous tree
Whose lighted branches shed
The golden apples of antiquity,
Its glittering fruit, its flower.
Bow, bow, proud tree, and let your bright fruit-shower
Fall to the nymphs who dance below
Your arched green-golden shade,
In measure grave and slow,
As green and gold in sunlight interbraid.
And as they turn to go,
Let your loveliest, brightest apple fall
Into her hands whose grace excels them all.
Symbolic tree, for whose incredible prize;—
The living streams of art must flow,
For you the prophetic Muses’ sacred trance
And visionary glance.
The sole reward, the glittering golden fruit
The topmost apple now
Alive upon the dazzling golden bough.
Finished the long implacable pursuit;—
And the worn body’s waning energies Ripen again as langour dies In the far-seeking eyes.

Once more that song, that dance,
The classic vision seen
In a long torment through a waking dream;—
Perfected, round, made luminous-clear and strong,
Such music and such art
As heals the mind, makes whole the broken heart!


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