Page:Aurora Leigh a Poem.djvu/21

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12
AURORA LEIGH.


Was act and joy enough for any bird.
Dear heaven, how silly are the things that live
In thickets and eat berries!
 I, alas,
A wild bird scarcely fledged, was brought to her cage,
And she was there to meet me. Very kind.
Bring the clean water; give out the fresh seed.

She stood upon the steps to welcome me,
Calm, in black garb. I clung about her neck,—
Young babes, who catch at every shred of wool
To draw the new light closer, catch and cling
Less blindly. In my ears, my father’s word
Hummed ignorantly, as the sea in shells,
‘Love, love, my child,’ She, black there with my grief,
Might feel my love—she was his sister once—
I clung to her. A moment, she seemed moved,
Kissed me with cold lips, suffered me to cling,
And drew me feebly through the hall, into
The room she sate in.
 There, with some strange spasm
Of pain and passion, she wrung loose my hands
Imperiously, and held me at arm’s length,
And with two grey-steel naked-bladed eyes
Searched through my face,—ay, stabbed it through and through,
Through brows and cheeks and chin, as if to find
A wicked murderer in my innocent face,
If not here, there perhaps. Then, drawing breath,
She struggled for her ordinary calm,