Sunday, December 26, 2010

Off the Shelf Archive - December #2

It's long past the time for a refresh on the Off the Shelf page, so the excellent Echo, by Christina Rossetti, is placed here for a final viewing, and a selection from the contemporary Canadian author, Margaret Atwood, takes its place. I'm mostly familiar with Atwood from her novel The Handmaid's Tale, a bit of dystopian feminist-ish sci-fi I read back in the early nineties, but I'd never read her poetry until recently.  I stumbled on this one quite by accident, and am passing it on.

Follow this link to read Sekhmet,The Lion-Headed Goddess of War, by Margaret Atwood.

As always feel free to comment here on either poem, as comments are disabled off the main page. Suggestions for next time are always welcome. Older selections can be accessed by clicking the Off the Shelf Archive label under Tags in the sidebar.

And now, a last look at Echo:


Come to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.

O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brimfull of love abide and meet;
Where thirsting longing eyes
Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
My very life again though cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
Speak low, lean low
As long ago, my love, how long ago.

Christina Rossetti

Image: Woodcut Cover illustration for Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market and Other Poems(1862,)  by Dante Gabriel Rossetti    wikimedia commons


  1. It's heartbreaking. I feel every line.

    "O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet..."

    All of mine have been.

  2. Oh yes.

    "Come back in tears,
    O memory, hope, love of finished years..."

    if only the last lines happened as often as those...

  3. Oh yes, how long ago.

    Come back in tears, or dreams, but come back.

    I like!

  4. What great beauty this, form to die for, the layering of sadness, echo upon echo, haunting and sweet, bitter sweet...


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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