Flower Or Love

The Dream of Poor Bazin

Jerry Stratton

What if the Three Musketeers were journalists in Washington, DC? What if journalists were swashbuckling, swaggering, hard-drinking warriors of truth? Find out in Jerry Stratton’s The Dream of Poor Bazin.

    • Sweet, I blame you not, for mine the fault was,
    • Had I not been made of common clay
    • I had climbed the higher heights unclimbed yet,
    • Seen the fuller air, the larger day.
    • From the wildness of my wasted passion I had
    • Struck a better, clearer song,
    • Lit some lighter light of freer freedom, battled
    • With some Hydra-headed wrong.
    • Had my lips been smitten into music by the
    • Kisses that but made them bleed,
    • You had walked with Bice and the angels on
    • That verdant and enamelled mead.
    • I had trod the road which Dante treading saw
    • The suns of seven circles shine,
    • Ay! perchance had seen the heavens opening, as
    • They opened to the Florentine.
    • And the mighty nations would have crowned me,
    • Who am crownless now and without name,
    • And some orient dawn had found me kneeling
    • On the threshold of the House of Fame
    • I had sat within that marble circle where the
    • Oldest bard is as the young,
    • And the pipe is ever dropping honey, and the
    • Lyre’s strings are ever strung.
    • Keats had lifted up his hymeneal curls from out
    • The poppy-seeded wine,
    • With ambrosial mouth had kissed my forehead,
    • Clasped the hand of noble love in mine.
    • And at springtime, when the apple-blossoms
    • Brush the burnished bosom of the dove,
    • Two young lovers lying in an orchard would
    • Have read the story of our love.
    • Would have read the legend of my passion,
    • Known the bitter secret of my heart,
    • Kissed as we have kissed, but never parted as
    • We two are fated now to part.
    • For the crimson flower of our life is eaten by
    • The canker-worm of truth,
    • And no hand can gather up the fallen withered
    • Petals of the rose of youth.
    • Yet I am not sorry that I loved you- ah! what
    • Else had I a boy to do,-
    • For the hungry teeth of time devour, and the
    • Silent-footed years pursue.
    • Rudderless, we drift athwart a tempest, and
    • When once the storm of youth is past,
    • Without lyre, without lute or chorus, Death a
    • Silent pilot comes at last.
    • And within the grave there is no pleasure, for
    • The blind-worm battens on the root,
    • And Desire shudders into ashes, and the tree of
    • Passion bears no fruit.
    • Ah! what else had I to do but love you, God’s
    • Own mother was less dear to me,
    • And less dear the Cytheraean rising like an
    • Argent lily from the sea.
    • I have made my choice, have lived my poems,
    • And, though youth is gone in wasted days,
    • I have found the lover’s crown of myrtle
    • Better than the poet’s crown of bays.