The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Sunday and Brookside Gardens


Lais
By H.D.

Let her who walks in Paphos
take the glass,
let Paphos take the mirror
and the work of frosted fruit,
gold apples set
with silver apple-leaf,
white leaf of silver
wrought with vein of gilt.

Let Paphos lift the mirror;
let her look
into the polished center of the disk.

Let Paphos take the mirror:
did she press
flowerlet of flame-flower
to the lustrous white
of the white forehead?
did the dark veins beat
a deeper purple
than the wine-deep tint
of the dark flower?

Did she deck black hair,
one evening, with the winter-white
flower of the winter-berry?
Did she look (reft of her lover)
at a face gone white
under the chaplet
of white virgin-breath?

Lais, exultant, tyrannizing Greece,
Lais who kept her lovers in the porch,
lover on lover waiting
(but to creep
where the robe brushed the threshold
where still sleeps Lais),
so she creeps, Lais,
to lay her mirror at the feet
of her who reigns in Paphos.

Lais has left her mirror,
for she sees no longer in its depth
the Lais' self
that laughed exultant,
tyrannizing Greece.

Lais has left her mirror,
for she weeps no longer,
finding in its depth
a face, but other
than dark flame and white
feature of perfect marble.

Lais has left her mirror
(so one wrote)
to her who reigns in Paphos;
Lais who laughed a tyrant over Greece,
Lais who turned the lovers from the porch,
that swarm for whom now
Lais has no use;
Lais is now no lover of the glass,
seeing no more the face as once it was,
wishing to see that face and finding this.

--------

The weather on Saturday was chilly and gorgeous here. Adam had a track workout at school in the morning, then we had lunch together and went to Wheaton to Brookside Gardens, partly because Adam wanted to take a photo for a class project, partly just to see what was blooming this early in the spring -- snowdrops, crocuses, even some daffodils. We also saw the now-ubiquitous Canada geese, a great blue heron, even a red-eared slider before heading home, stopping to do some shopping on the way (Indian side dishes for dinner, baking stuff for Paul, cereal for me, plantains for Adam, cat food for the most vocal members of the family).















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We are now caught up on The Americans, which I am really enjoying, but what's occupying my brain right now is the 1978 Les Miserables film with Richard Jordan, who's pretty good as Valjean, and Anthony Perkins, who's absolutely extraordinary as Javert. He loses it when he's sent from Paris without finding Valjean at the convent! He clutches his chest when he sees Valjean years later! His reaction to seeing Valjean when he's captured by the students is "At least I get to see him once again before I die"! And I love his final rant, though a bit out of character for how I think of Javert based on distant memories of the novel from high school plus Allam's Javert, Mann's Javert, Rush's Javert, Crowe's Javert, et al: "There is no God, there is only the law, guilt and innocence do not exist outside the law!"
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