lines :: ina coolbrith

   On Hearing Kelley’s Music to ‘Macbeth’

O melody, what children strange are these
    From thy most vast, illimitable realm?
    These sounds that seize upon and overwhelm
    The soul with shuddering ecstasy! Lo! here
    The night is, and the deeds that make night fear;
Wild winds and waters, and the sough of trees
    Tossed in the tempest; wail of spirits banned,
    Wandering, unhoused of clay, in the dim land;
The incantation of the Sisters Three,
    Nameless of deed and name – the mystic chords
    Weird repetitions of the mystic words;
    The mad, remorseful terrors of the Thane,
    And bloody hands – which bloody must remain.
    Last, the wild march; the battle hand to hand
Of clashing arms, in awful harmony,
    Sublimely grand, and terrible as grand!
The clan-cries; the barbaric trumpetry;
    And the one fateful note, that, throughout all,
    Leads, follows, calls, compels, and holds in thrall.

longing :: ina coolbrith

O foolish wisdom sought in books!
    O aimless fret of household tasks!
O chains that bind the hand and mind—
    A fuller life my spirit asks!

For there the grand hills, summer-crowned,
    Slope greenly downward to the seas;
One hour of rest upon their breast
    Were worth a year of days like these.

Their cool, soft green to ease the pain
    Of eyes that ache o’er printed words;
This weary noise – the city’s voice,
    Lulled in the sound of bees and birds.

For Eden’s life within me stirs,
    And scorns the shackles that I wear;
The man-life grand – pure soul, strong hand,
    The limb of steel, the heart of air!

And I could kiss, with longing wild,
    Earth’s dear brown bosom, loved so much,
A grass-blade fanned across my hand,
    Would thrill me like a lover’s touch.

The trees would talk with me; the flowers
    Their hidden meanings each make known—
The olden lore revived once more,
    When man’s and nature’s heart were one!

And as the pardoned pair might come
    Back to the garden God first framed,
And hear Him call at even-fall,
    And answer, ‘Here am I,’ unshamed—

So I, from out these toils, wherein
    The Eden-faith grows stained and dim,
Would walk, a child, through nature’s wild,
    And hear His voice and answer Him.