In today’s post, we will be looking at some of the best poems by Lascelles Abercrombie.
Best poems by Lascelles Abercrombie
- The Box
Once upon a time, in the land of Hush-A-Bye,
Around about the wondrous days of yore,
They came across a kind of box
Bound up with chains and locked with locks
And labeled ‘Kindly do not touch; it’s war.’
A decree was issued round about, and all with a flourish and a shout
And a gaily colored mascot tripping lightly on before.
Don’t fiddle with this deadly box,Or break the chains, or pick the locks.
And please don’t ever play about with war.
The children understood. Children happen to be good
And they were just as good around the time of yore.
They didn’t try to pick the locks
Or break into that deadly box.
They never tried to play about with war.
Mommies didn’t either; sisters, aunts, grannies neither
‘Cause they were quiet, and sweet, and pretty
In those wondrous days of yore.
Well, very much the same as now,
And not the ones to blame somehow
For opening up that deadly box of war.
But someone did. Someone battered in the lid
And spilled the insides out across the floor.
A kind of bouncy, bumpy ball made up of guns and flags
And all the tears, and horror, and death that comes with war.
It bounced right out and went bashing all about,
Bumping into everything in store.And what was sad and most unfair
Was that it didn’t really seem to care
Much who it bumped, or why, or what, or for.
It bumped the children mainly. And I’ll tell you this quite plainly,
It bumps them every day and more, and more,
And leaves them dead, and burned, and dying
Thousands of them sick and crying.
‘Cause when it bumps, it’s really very sore.
Now there’s a way to stop the ball. It isn’t difficult at all.
All it takes is wisdom, and I’m absolutely sure
That we can get it back into the box,And bind the chains, and lock the locks.
But no one seems to want to save the children anymore.
Well, that’s the way it all appears, ’cause it’s been bouncing round
for years and years
In spite of all the wisdom wizzed since those wondrous days of yore
And the time they came across the box,
Bound up with chains and locked with locks,
And labeled ‘Kindly do not touch; it’s war.’
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- Hymn To Love
We are thine, O Love, being in thee and made of thee,
As théou, Léove, were the déep thought
And we the speech of the thought; yea, spoken are we,
Thy fires of thought out-spoken:
But burn’d not through us thy imagining
Like fiérce méood in a séong céaught,
We were as clamour’d words a fool may fling,
Loose words, of meaning broken.
For what more like the brainless speech of a fool,—
The lives travelling dark fears,
And as a boy throws pebbles in a pool
Thrown down abysmal places?
Hazardous are the stars, yet is our birth
And our journeying time theirs;
As words of air, life makes of starry earth
Sweet soul-delighted faces;
As voices are we in the worldly wind;
The great wind of the world’s fate
Is turn’d, as air to a shapen sound, to mind
And marvellous desires.
But not in the world as voices storm-shatter’d,
Not borne down by the wind’s weight;
The rushing time rings with our splendid word
Like darkness fill’d with fires.
For Love doth use us for a sound of song,
And Love’s meaning our life wields,
Making our souls like syllables to throng
His tunes of exultation.
Down the blind speed of a fatal world we fly,
As rain blown along earth’s fields;
Yet are we god-desiring liturgy,
Sung joys of adoration;
Yea, made of chance and all a laboring strife,
We go charged with a strong flame;
For as a language Love hath seized on life
His burning heart to story.
Yea, Love, we are thine, the liturgy of thee,
Thy thought’s golden and glad name,
The mortal conscience of immortal glee,
Love’s zeal in Love’s own glory.
- From Vashti
WHAT thing shall be held up to woman’s beauty?
Where are the bounds of it? Yea, what is all
The world, but an awning scaffolded amid
The waste perilous Eternity, to lodge
This Heaven-wander’d princess, woman’s beauty?
The East and West kneel down to thee, the North
And South; and all for thee their shoulders bear
The load of fourfold space. As yellow morn
Runs on the slippery waves of the spread sea,
Thy feet are on the griefs and joys of men
That sheen to be thy causey. Out of tears
Indeed, and blitheness, murder and lust and love,
Whatever has been passionate in clay,
Thy flesh was tempered. Behold in thy body
The yearnings of all men measured and told,
Insatiate endless agonies of desire
Given thy flesh, the meaning of thy shape!
What beauty is there, but thou makest it?
How is earth good to look on, woods and fields,
The season’s garden, and the courageous hills,
All this green raft of earth moored in the seas?
The manner of the sun to ride the air,
The stars God has imagined for the night?
What’s this behind them, that we cannot near,
Secret still on the point of being blabbed,
The ghost in the world that flies from being named?
Where do they get their beauty from, all these?
They do but glaze a lantern lit for man,
And woman’s beauty is the flame therein.
ir, you shall notice me: I am the Man;
I am Good Fortune: I am satisfied.
All I desired, more than I could desire,
I have: everything has gone right with me.
Life was a hiding-place that played me false;
I croucht ashamed, and still was seen and scorned:
But now I am not seen. I was a fool,
And now I know what wisdom dare not know:
For I know Nothing. I was a slave, and now
I have ungoverned freedom and the wealth
That cannot be conceived: for I have Nothing.
I lookt for beauty and I longed for rest,
And now I have perfection: nay, I am
perfection: I am nothing, I am dead.
- Emblems of Love
ONLY to be twin elements of joy
In this extravagance of Being, Love,
Were our divided natures shaped in twain;
And to this hour the whole world must consent.
Is it not very marvellous, our lives
Can only come to this out of a long
Strange sundering, with the years of the world between us?
Shall life do more than God? for hath not God
Striven with himself, when into known delight
His unaccomplisht joy he would put forth,—
This mystery of a world sign of his striving?
Else wherefore this, a thing to break the mind
With labouring in the wonder of it, that here
Being—the world and we—is suffered to be!—
But, lying on thy breast one notable day,
Sudden exceeding agony of love
Made my mind a trance of infinite knowledge.
I was not: yet I saw the will of God
As light unfashion’d, unendurable flame,
Interminable, not to be supposed;
And there was no more creature except light,—
The dreadful burning of the lonely God’s
Unutter’d joy. And then, past telling, came
Shuddering and division in the light:
Therein, like trembling, was desire to know
Its own perfect beauty; and it became
A cloven fire, a double flaming, each
Adorable to each; against itself
Waging a burning love, which was the world;—
A moment satisfied in that love-strife
I knew the world!—And when I fell from there,
Then knew I also what this life would do
In being twin,—in being man and woman!
For it would do even as its endless Master,
Making the world, had done; yea, with itself
Would strive, and for the strife would into sex
Be cloven, double burning, made thereby
Desirable to itself. Contrivèd joy
Is sex in life; and by no other thing
Than by a perfect sundering, could life
Change the dark stream of unappointed joy
To perfect praise of itself, the glee that loves
And worships its own Being. This is ours!
Yet only for that we have been so long
Sundered desire: thence is our life all praise.—
But we, well knowing by our strength of joy
There is no sundering more, how far we love
From those sad lives that know a half-love only,
Alone thereby knowing themselves for ever
Sealed in division of love, and therefore made
To pour their strength always into their love’s
Fierceness, as green wood bleeds its hissing sap
Into red heat of a fire! Not so do we:
The cloven anger, life, hath left to wage
Its flame against itself, here turned to one
Self-adoration.—Ah, what comes of this?
The joy falters a moment, with closed wings
Wearying in its upward journey, ere
Again it goes on high, bearing its song,
Its delight breathing and its vigour beating
The highest height of the air above the world.
What hast thou done to me!—I would have soul,
Before I knew thee, Love, a captive held
By flesh. Now, inly delighted with desire,
My body knows itself to be nought else
But thy heart’s worship of me; and my soul
Therein is sunlight held by warm gold air.
Nay, all my body is become a song
Upon the breath of spirit, a love-song.
And mine is all like one rapt faculty,
As it were listening to the love in thee,
My whole mortality trembling to take
Thy body like heard singing of thy spirit.
Surely by this, Beloved, we must know
Our love is perfect here,—that not as holds
The common dullard thought, we are things lost
In an amazement that is all unware;
But wonderfully knowing what we are!
Lo, now that body is the song whereof
Spirit is mood, knoweth not our delight?
Knoweth not beautifully now our love,
That Life, here to this festival bid come
Clad in his splendour of worldly day and night,
Filled and empower’d by heavenly lust, is all
The glad imagination of the Spirit?
Were it not so, Love could not be at all:
Nought could be, but a yearning to fulfil
Desire of beauty, by vain reaching forth
Of sense to hold and understand the vision
Made by impassion’d body,—vision of thee!
But music mixt with music are, in love,
Bodily senses; and as flame hath light,
Spirit this nature hath imagined round it,
No way concealed therein, when love comes near,
Nor in the perfect wedding of desires
Suffering any hindrance.
Ah, but now,
Now am I given love’s eternal secret!
Yea, thou and I who speak, are but the joy
Of our for ever mated spirits; but now
The wisdom of my gladness even through Spirit
Looks, divinely elate. Who hath for joy
Our Spirits? Who hath imagined them
Round him in fashion’d radiance of desire,
As into light of these exulting bodies
Flaming Spirit is uttered?
Yea, here the end
Of love’s astonishment! Now know we Spirit,
And Who, for ease of joy, contriveth Spirit.
Now all life’s loveliness and power we have
Dissolved in this one moment, and our burning
Carries all shining upward, till in us
Life is not life, but the desire of God,
Himself desiring and himself accepting.
Now what was prophecy in us is made
Fulfilment: we are the hour and we are the joy,
We in our marvellousness of single knowledge,
Of Spirit breaking down the room of fate
And drawing into his light the greeting fire
Of God,—God known in ecstasy of love
Wedding himself to utterance of himself
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