Flowers of Gold

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.

Impressions

I: Les Silhouettes

    • The sea is flecked with bars of gray,
    • The dull dead wind is out of tune,
    • And like a withered leaf the moon
    • Is blown across the stormy bay.
    • Etched clear upon the pallid sand
    • The black boat lies: a sailor boy
    • Clambers aboard in careless joy
    • With laughing face and gleaming hand.
    • And overhead the curlews cry,
    • Where through the dusky upland grass
    • The young brown-throated reapers pass,
    • Like silhouettes against the sky.

II: La Fuite de la Lune

    • To outer senses there is peace,
    • A dreamy peace on either hand,
    • Deep silence in the shadowy land,
    • Deep silence where the shadows cease.
    • Save for a cry that echoes shrill
    • From some lone bird disconsolate;
    • A corncrake calling to its mate;
    • The answer from the misty hill.
    • And suddenly the moon withdraws
    • Her sickle from the lightening skies,
    • And to her sombre cavern flies,
    • Wrapped in a veil of yellow gauze.

The Grave Of Keats

  • Rid of the world’s injustice, and his pain,
  • He rests at last beneath God’s veil of blue:
  • Taken from life when life and love were new
  • The youngest of the martyrs here is lain,
  • Fair as Sebastian, and as early slain.
  • No cypress shades his grave, no funeral yew,
  • But gentle violets weeping with the dew
  • Weave on his bones an ever-blossoming chain.
  • O proudest heart that broke for misery!
  • O sweetest lips since those of Mitylene!
  • O poet-painter of our English land!
  • Thy name was writ in water—it shall stand:
  • And tears like mine will keep thy memory green,
  • As Isabella did her Basil tree.

Rome

Theocritus: A Villanelle

    • O singer of Persephone!
    • In the dim meadows desolate
    • Dost thou remember Sicily?
    • Still through the ivy flits the bee
    • Where Amaryllis lies in state;
    • O Singer of Persephone!
    • Simaetha calls on Hecate
    • And hears the wild dogs at the gate:
    • Dost thou remember Sicily?
    • Still by the light and laughing sea
    • Poor Polypheme bemoans his fate:
    • O Singer of Persephone!
    • And still in boyish rivalry
    • Young Daphnis challenges his mate:
    • Dost thou remember Sicily?
    • Slim Lacon keeps a goat for thee,
    • For thee the jocund shepherds wait,
    • O Singer of Persephone!
    • Dost thou remember Sicily?

In The Gold Room: A Harmony

    • Her ivory hands on the ivory keys
    • Strayed in a fitful fantasy,
    • Like the silver gleam when the poplar trees
    • Rustle their pale leaves listlessly,
    • Or the drifting foam of a restless sea
    • When the waves show their teeth in the flying breeze.
    • Her gold hair fell on the wall of gold
    • Like the delicate gossamer tangles spun
    • On the burnished disk of the marigold,
    • Or the sun-flower turning to meet the sun
    • When the gloom of the jealous night is done,
    • And the spear of the lily is aureoled.
    • And her sweet red lips on these lips of mine
    • Burned like the ruby fire set
    • In the swinging lamp of a crimson shrine,
    • Or the bleeding wounds of the pomegranate,
    • Or the heart of lotus drenched and wet
    • With the spilt-out blood of the rose-red wine.

Ballade De Marguerite: Normande

    • I am weary of lying within the chase
    • When the knights are meeting in market-place.
    • Nay, go not thou to the red-roofed town
    • Lest the hooves of the war-horse tread thee down.
    • But I would not go where the Squires ride,
    • I would only walk by my Lady’s side.
    • Alack! and alack! thou art over bold,
    • A Forester’s son may not eat off gold.
    • Will she love me the less that my Father is seen
    • Each Martinmas day in a doublet green?
    • Perchance she is sewing at tapestrie,
    • Spindle and loom are not meet for thee.
    • Ah, if she is working the arras bright
    • I might ravel the threads by the firelight.
    • Perchance she is hunting of the deer,
    • Flow could you follow o’er hill and mere?
    • Ah, if she is riding with the court,
    • I might run beside her and wind the morte.
    • Perchance she is kneeling in S. Denys,
    • (On her soul may our Lady have gramercy!)
    • Ah, if she is praying in lone chapelle,
    • I might swing the censer and ring the bell.
    • Come in my son, for you look sae pale,
    • Thy father shall fill thee a stoup of ale.
    • But who are these knights in bright array?
    • Is it a pageant the rich folks play?
    • ’Tis the King of England from over sea,
    • Who has come unto visit our fair countrie.
    • But why does the curfew tool sae low
    • And why do the mourners walk a-row?
    • O ’tis Hugh of Amiens my sister’s son
    • Who is lying stark, for his day is done.
    • Nay, nay, for I see white lilies clear,
    • It is no strong man who lies on the bier.
    • O ’tis old Dame Jeannette that kept the hall,
    • I knew she would die at the autumn fall.
    • Dame Jeannette had not that gold-brown hair,
    • Old Jeannette was not a maiden fair.
    • O ’tis none of our kith and none of our kin,
    • (Her soul may our Lady assoil from sin!)
    • But I hear the boy’s voice chanting sweet,
    • “Elle est morte, la Marguerite.”
    • Come in my son and lie on the bed,
    • And let the dead folk bury their dead.
    • O mother, you know I loved her true:
    • O mother, hath one grave room for two?

The Dole Of The King’s Daughter: Breton

    • Seven stars in the still water,
    • And seven in the sky;
    • Seven sins on the King’s daughter,
    • Deep in her soul to lie.
    • Red roses are at her feet,
    • (Roses are red in her red-gold hair,)
    • And O where her bosom and girdle meet
    • Red roses are hidden there.
    • Fair is the knight who lieth slain
    • Amid the rush and reed,
    • See the lean fishes that are fain
    • Upon dead men to feed.
    • Sweet is the page that lieth there,
    • (Cloth of gold is goodly prey,)
    • See the black ravens in the air,
    • Black, O black as the night are they.
    • What do they there so stark and dead?
    • (There is blood upon her hand)
    • Why are the lilies flecked with red,
    • (There is blood on the river sand.)
    • There are two that ride from the south and east,
    • And two from the north and west,
    • For the black raven a goodly feast,
    • For the King’s daughter rest.
    • There is one man who loves her true
    • (Red, O red, is the stain of gore!
    • He hath duggen a grave by the darksome yew,
    • (One grave will do for four.)
    • No moon in the still heaven,
    • In the black water none,
    • The sins on her soul are seven,
    • The sin upon his is one.

Amor Intellectualis

  • Oft have we trod the vales of Castaly
  • And heard sweet notes of sylvan music blown
  • From antique reeds to common folk unknown
  • And often launched our bark upon that sea
  • Which the nine muses hold in empery,
  • And plowed free furrows through the wave and foam,
  • Nor spread reluctant sail for more safe home
  • Till we had freighted well our argosy.
  • Of which despoiled treasures these remain,
  • Sordello’s passion, and the honeyed line
  • Of young Endymion, lordly Tamburlaine
  • Driving him pampered jades, and more than these,
  • The seven-fold vision of the Florentine,
  • And grave-browed Milton’s solemn harmonics.

Santa Decca

    • The Gods are dead: no longer do we bring
    • To gray-eyed Pallas crowns of olive-leaves!
    • Demeter’s child no more hath tithe of sheaves,
    • And in the noon the careless shepherds sing,
    • For Pan is dead, and all the wantoning
    • By secret glade and devious haunt is o’er:
    • Young Hylas seeks the water-springs no more;
    • Great Pan is dead, and Mary’s Son is King.
    • And yet- perchance in this sea-tranced isle,
    • Chewing the bitter fruit of memory,
    • Some God lies hidden in the asphodel.
    • Ah Love! if such there be then it were well
    • For us to fly his anger: nay, but see
    • The leaves are stirring: let us watch a-while.

Corfu

A Vision

  • Two crowned Kings and One that stood alone
  • With no green weight of laurels round his head,
  • But with sad eyes as one uncomforted,
  • And wearied with man’s never-ceasing moan
  • For sins no bleating victim can atone,
  • And sweet long lips with tears and kisses fed.
  • Girt was he in a garment black and red,
  • And at his feet I marked a broken stone
  • Which sent up lilies, dove-like, to his knees,
  • Now at their sight, my heart being lit with flame
  • I cried to Beatrice, “Who are these?”
  • “Aeschylos first, the second Sophokles,
  • And last (wide stream of tears!) Euripides.”

Impression De Voyage

  • The sea was sapphire colored, and the sky
  • Burned like a heated opal through the air,
  • We hoisted sail; the wind was blowing fair
  • For the blue lands that to the eastward lie.
  • From the steep prow I marked with quickening eye
  • Zakynthos, every olive grove and creek,
  • Ithaca’s cliff, Lycaon’s snowy peak,
  • And all the flower-strewn hills of Arcady.
  • The flapping of the sail against the mast,
  • The ripple of the water on the side,
  • The ripple of girls’ laughter at the stern,
  • The only sounds:- when ’gan the West to burn,
  • And a red sun upon the seas to ride,
  • I stood upon the soil of Greece at last!

Katakolo

The Grave Of Shelley

    • Like burnt-out torches by a sick man’s bed
    • Gaunt cypress-trees stand round the sun-bleached stone;
    • Here doth the little night-owl make her throne,
    • And the slight lizard show his jewelled head.
    • And, where the chaliced poppies flame to red,
    • In the still chamber of yon pyramid
    • Surely some Old-World Sphinx lurks darkly hid,
    • Grim warder of this pleasaunce of the dead.
    • Ah! sweet indeed to rest within the womb
    • Of Earth great mother of eternal sleep,
    • But sweeter far for thee a restless tomb
    • In the blue cavern of an echoing deep,
    • Or where the tall ships founder in the gloom
    • Against the rocks of some wave-shattered steep.

Rome

By The Arno

    • The oleander on the wall
    • Grows crimson in the dawning light,
    • Though the gray shadows of the night
    • Lie yet on Florence like a pall.
    • The dew is bright upon the hill,
    • And bright the blossoms overhead,
    • But ah! the grasshoppers have fled,
    • The little Attic song is still.
    • Only the leaves are gently stirred
    • By, the soft breathing of the gale,
    • And in the almond-scented vale
    • The lonely nightingale is heard
    • The day will make thee silent soon,
    • O nightingale sing on for love!
    • While yet upon the shadowy grove
    • Splinter the arrows of the moon.
    • Before across the silent lawn
    • In sea-green mist the morning steals,
    • And to love’s frightened eyes reveals
    • The long white fingers of the dawn.
    • Fast climbing up the eastern sky,
    • To grasp and slay the shuddering night,
    • All careless of my heart’s delight,
    • Or if the nightingale should die.