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Alan Seeger - Do You Remember Once . . .

Do you remember once, in Paris of glad faces, 
The night we wandered off under the third moon's rays 
And, leaving far behind bright streets and busy places, 
Stood where the Seine flowed down between its quiet quais? 

The city's voice was hushed; the placid, lustrous waters 
Mirrored the walls across where orange windows burned. 
Out of the starry south provoking rumors brought us 
Far promise of the spring already northward turned. 

And breast drew near to breast, and round its soft desire 
My arm uncertain stole and clung there unrepelled. 
I thought that nevermore my heart would hover nigher 
To the last flower of bliss that Nature's garden held. 

There, in your beauty's sweet abandonment to pleasure, 
The mute, half-open lips and tender, wondering eyes, 
I saw embodied first smile back on me the treasure 
Long sought across the seas and back of summer skies. 

Dear face, when courted Death shall claim my limbs and find them 
Laid in some desert place, alone or where the tides 
Of war's tumultuous waves on the wet sands behind them 
Leave rifts of gasping life when their red flood subsides, 

Out of the past's remote delirious abysses 
Shine forth once more as then you shone, -- beloved head, 
Laid back in ecstasy between our blinding kisses, 
Transfigured with the bliss of being so coveted. 

And my sick arms will part, and though hot fever sear it, 
My mouth will curve again with the old, tender flame. 
And darkness will come down, still finding in my spirit 
The dream of your brief love, and on my lips your name. 


You loved me on that moonlit night long since. 
You were my queen and I the charming prince 
Elected from a world of mortal men. 
You loved me once. . . . What pity was it, then, 
You loved not Love. . . . Deep in the emerald west, 
Like a returning caravel caressed 
By breezes that load all the ambient airs 
With clinging fragrance of the bales it bears 
From harbors where the caravans come down, 
I see over the roof-tops of the town 
The new moon back again, but shall not see 
The joy that once it had in store for me, 
Nor know again the voice upon the stair, 
The little studio in the candle-glare, 
And all that makes in word and touch and glance 
The bliss of the first nights of a romance 
When will to love and be beloved casts out 
The want to question or the will to doubt. 
You loved me once. . . . Under the western seas 
The pale moon settles and the Pleiades. 
The firelight sinks; outside the night-winds moan -- 
The hour advances, and I sleep alone. 


Farewell, dear heart, enough of vain despairing! 
If I have erred I plead but one excuse -- 
The jewel were a lesser joy in wearing 
That cost a lesser agony to lose. 

I had not bid for beautifuller hours 
Had I not found the door so near unsealed, 
Nor hoped, had you not filled my arms with flowers, 
For that one flower that bloomed too far afield. 

If I have wept, it was because, forsaken, 
I felt perhaps more poignantly than some 
The blank eternity from which we waken 
And all the blank eternity to come. 

And I betrayed how sweet a thing and tender 
(In the regret with which my lip was curled) 
Seemed in its tragic, momentary splendor 
My transit through the beauty of the world. 

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Added: May 2 2005 | Viewed: 400 times | Comments and analysis of Do You Remember Once . . . by Alan Seeger Comments (1)

Do You Remember Once . . . - Comments and Information

Poet: Alan Seeger
Poem: Do You Remember Once . . .
Poem of the Day: Nov 14 2014

Comment 1 of 1, added on November 27th, 2005 at 11:54 AM.

I love them, especially the first two they are absolutely beautiful. You should be really proud for I have not seen such touching poetry in so long. I loved it and I really hope that you make more.

jenny from Canada

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