Monday, August 24, 2015

The Double Pulse

At first glance, Mervyn Peake and Robert Frost might seem dissimilar; but at second?

To Earthward
by Robert Frost.

Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air

That crossed me from sweet things,
The flow of -- was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Down hill at dusk?

I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they’re gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.

I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.

Now no joy but lacks salt
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain

Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.

When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,

The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.

- - - - - -

Rather Than A Little Pain
by Mervyn Peake.

Rather than a little pain, I would be thief
To the organ-chords of grief
That toll through me
With a burial glory.

Wherefore my searching dust
If not to breathe the Gust
Of every quarter
Before I scatter,

And to divine
The lit or hooded Ghost, and take for mine
The double pulse; so come
Forth from your midnight tomb

Cold grief,
I would be thief
Of you,
Until my bones breed hemlock through and through.

(c. 1940)

- - - - - -

Complete Poems of Robert Frost. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964.

Peake's Progress, Edited by Maeve Gilmore. Penguin Books, 1981.

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