Too Late [poem by Menie Parkes]

[Editor: This poem by Menie Parkes was published in Poems (1867).]

Too Late.

Speak, speak! I am waiting all breathless;
The air is not stirred by one wave
From my lips;
Your words will in import be deathless —
Life’s eclipse,
Or a music unstilled by the grave.

Speak, speak! I have banished all sounding
But that of your voice from my ear;
Thunder’s crash,
In its most frantic wildness bounding,
Could not clash
There with one of your words, soft and clear.

Speak, speak! I have ceased from thinking;
I have bared my heart free to your sight;
Quickly then —
Ere from your gaze it retreateth shrinking, —
Snatch the pen,
And grave to its core your will to-night.

Speak, speak! Could I stand more calmly?
Could even a statue more patiently wait?
I am chill!
There is nought in those cruel, sharp stars to warm me.
At your will
I am here, but the night waxeth late.

Cease, cease! Oh, will you not spare me:
All things are whirling around!
I am faint!
Haste! to my mother’s soft tenderness beat me;
Faint, so faint! —
Oh, Love, you have stricken a sweet death-wound.

You, you! I though t that you loved me,
But they said that you brought home a bride,
Your sister? —
Will this will less worthless have proved me? —
Once I kissed her!
Oh, I would ere I married, I died.

Farewell! you will not forget me?
Strange things have been — love, ’tis a strange earth;
Very strange! —
It may be that the grave will let me
Sometimes range;
If so, were a presence so cold any worth?

Menie Parkes, Poems, F. Cunninghame, Sydney, [1867], pages 90-91

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