Shall we go
shallow unto Penafiel,
fair in battled porcupine or pinafore,
there to kiss faint bishops' rings
and tarry hushed to hear the whisperings
by autums' lightfoot fail of light
of what forgotten nightingale
yet chantries lies of Portingale
before the pale of dawning chills
still her wonderwood of forest world?
Shall we garner
blowed fair roses garnet-like
about Penafiel, reap and truckle thorns
badges of our penitence, randoms of wishes
bishops unterdicted as unbecoming
gentle perfect knights when shining armor
was our honor bright, when all was dross
that was not, or when stars were tangent
tangile things, transmitting our field of battle,
almost tokens to besleeve our battered arms?
Nightingales no longer sigh for us:
too late to callow brittle vanity,
wished for wishes unbestowed -
what childlike people ever worshipped stars?
fair too long in far and wanton mystery
of folderol and carousel, too slaked
of sadness and of melancholy to be shriven
now we stumble groping for a maiden hint of day,
a chink of light, before the lions come,
and bears to leave us carrion.
The quieting of nightingales is herald
to the shaling homeward of passing owls,
and no renascency of prayer or prey stales
the starling wonderment we knew when new
we knew the moon's harsh etching of the haunts
we knew when new, yet never knew.
I am battled to sit down before Penafiel,
there to rest long; I bear no sleeves
nor stars in point or ente, and gather
thistles to enarm this last passade.
The night is cold, old and silent as
a deaf man's shout, and I have wrote
my covenant. I am alone,
God save my soul.