I’m coming back and find

This lonely, despairing house

That’s down in the waste, yet sturdy land,

Broken up like a lonely shell at sea,

That, found by fishermen,

Spills out gold and jewels, unthought of

In the well-known stories of the past.


A stormy wind churns up the waves

That lap around this island;

It is driven by the hymns of youth —

The stories of our dancing and laughing.


Do you remember

That marionette’s play?

And do you remember

That sweet foxen’s brush

That touched your beauty’s wings?


But if these stories — full of lyrical achievement —

Unfold like misleading words,

Like a trance of street-worn beggars

That promised a tale of wine and beer,

Unfulfilled in the tragedy of night?


And if I travelled far and wandered wide

And still have no photograph of reality?

Then the river may have mercy,

Tombstones loom up against the sky.


And if I have been right,

Then my ways never ought to alter.

Although I’m not ready to augur changes of fate,

I’ll be satisfied and composed

To await the ways of mortal variation.