First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Dusk and the Mirror

DUSK AND THE MIRROR by ISAAC ROSENBERG

Where the room seems pondering, Shadowy hovering, Pictured walls and dove-dim ceiling, Edgeless, lost and spectral, In a quaint half farewell Away the things familiar fall In some limbo to a spell. Mutation of slipped moment When nothing and solid is blent. O! dusk palpitant! Prank fantastical! You hide and steal from morning What you give back from hiding, You prank before the dawning And run from her frail chiding, And all my household Gods When he who worships nods You tweak and pinch and hide And dabble under your side To drop upon the shores Of an old tomorrow Shut with the same old doors Of sleep and shame and sorrow.

But naked you have left One jewel, dripping still From plundering plashless fingers. Lying in a cleft Of your own surging-bosomed hill It dreams of dreams bereft And warm dishevelled singers, Safe from your placeless will.

Or you are like a tree now, And that is like a lake, Sinister to thee now Its glimmer is awake Like vague undrowning boughs Above the pool You float your gloom in its low light Where Narcissian augurs browse, Dreaming from its cool Apparition a fear; Behind the wall of hours you hear The tread of the arch light.

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