Renunciation clangs its cruel chords
Upon the diapason of our souls,
As struck by brutal and unbending swords
The tocsin through a mist heart-breaking tolls.
The yesterdays we walked in mutual love
Become a bitter memory of the past;
The God-sent sun that blest us from above
By clouds of sorrow sombre is o’ercast.
The highway of our hopes becomes a maze
Of hopeless days.
You spoke the word that trembled on your lips
When but a few short weeks our star had shone;
We parted like the ocean’s shadow ships
That dance from out the darkness and are gone.
Dear love, I do not blame nor do I chide,
Although my soul be shaking with my sobs,
But as the gulf grows wider, and still wide,
The melody of might-have-been stall throbs.
Why did high Heaven thorn upon my path
It may be I in wintry nights shall pass
The haven where your heart will anchored lie,
And see upon illuminated glass
The truth that made our love a living lie.
You in his arms, or nestling at his feet,
Or tinkling music to his willing ears;
While I a spectre in a spectred street
See night eternal through unmanly tears,
Passing unheeding through dead leaves and flow’rs
That once were ours.
And I shall know another’s hand shall press
The fingers that I clasped in love’s embrace.
Another’s lips shall breathe the sweet caress
And give you greeting with a courtly grace.
All this, all this my heart of hearts shall know,
All this my soul shall scarify and sear,
And time shall tread with footfall sloven slow
Along the track of every tortured year.
The ticking clock like hammerbeats shall sound
In caves profound.
If we should meet, speak you no sweet regret,
Nor by a whisper try to probe my pain;
Be as to me as we had never met,
Open my wound unhealing not again.
Keep firm the compact you have signed and sealed,
Forget that we have ever shared a sigh,
But if you have a soul-scar deep concealed
Let the great world not know the when and why.
Kiss me before the shadows shroud my life
My more than wife.
Edwin Greenslade Murphy, Dryblower’s Verses, Perth, W.A.: E. G. Murphy, 1926, pages 91-92
Previously published (with some differences) in:
The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 26 June 1921, p. 13
diapason = a grand outpouring of harmony; the entire range or scope of something, especially of an instrument or voice (can also refer to a tuning fork)
tocsin = an alarm given by an alarm bell; an alarm bell; a warning or warning signal; an omen