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At Portofino

ISSUE:  Spring 1927


Here life pays peace and ecstasy for tithe:
The dissonant trumpets of the world are mute
And God is but an old man with a scythe
And love the faltering fancy of a flute.
To lie with kissing lashes and confuse
The silver olives and the golden sun,
To sort the greens and purples from the blues
When the lean racers of the south wind run,
Rounding abreast the bulging Apennine,
And burst upon the clapping bay—ah, these
Are all the drudgeries of this demesne
Whose boundary is music and the sea’s.
Ye starved and hurt, ye hives of busy ghosts,
Would I could lend your ills this sea, these coasts.


Where through the olive trees I see bright shawls
And bathers laughing in the beryl bay,
Lovers more bold for tilted parasols
And waters summery and cerulean, lay
The hoarse and sweating legionaires of Rome
Breaking their march. And when they marched their last,
Algerian pirates made of this their home
And heckled Genoa from here, and passed.
In some pale after-day of Anctic fear
When all the glittering tribes of us have thinned,
One of our last, perhaps, will wander here
Beneath the sockets of the stars and wind,
And facing seawards in the thickening night
Pray the old prayer to the last god “More light!”


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