Mandragora/For Once

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For Once
by John Cowper Powys
Published in Mandragora (1917)

FOR ONCE


THRUST upward your green shoots and drink the rain
Tulip and daffodil! Not till I die
Shall my heart throb with such a spring again
Or from the wine-press of my ecstasy
Such purple waves flow o'er the city's towers,
Making a sunrise of the midnight seas,
And on far roads, like royal embassies,
Telling the green earth of my happy hours.

Not till I die shall such a spring return,
But memory will return, borne on faint airs,
And from the ashes of its ravished urn
Love will repeat the spring-time of its prayers.
How then will look, 'mid such rememberings
These places, where the prints of ancient pain
Hold me, until, with laughter and with rain,
You come to me, O Spring of all my Springs?

They will be brimmed with tears intolerable,
They will be tender with an infinite light,
They will be sadder than a sunken bell,
They will be sweeter than a lover's night,
They will be exquisite with broken sighs,
And faintly whispered words that catch the breath,
They will be quiet as the wings of death,
That quiver between two eternities.


Thrust upward your green shoots and drink the sun,
Tulip and daffodil! The leaves shall spread
Their foliage and the punctual seasons run
Their unremitted course till I am dead.
O Memory, Memory, sharp must be your sting
And bitter-sweet; for 'till my dream-tossed world
Into the night from which it rose is hurled.
No more, no more shall I know such a Spring!


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1963, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 50 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.