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Conrad Aiken - Chiarascuro: Rose


Fill your bowl with roses: the bowl, too, have of crystal. 
Sit at the western window. Take the sun 
Between your hands like a ball of flaming crystal, 
Poise it to let it fall, but hold it still, 
And meditate on the beauty of your existence; 
The beauty of this, that you exist at all. 


The sun goes down,—but without lamentation. 
I close my eyes, and the stream of my sensation 
In this, at least, grows clear to me: 
Beauty is a word that has no meaning. 
Beauty is naught to me. 


The last blurred raindrops fall from the half-clear sky, 
Eddying lightly, rose-tinged, in the windless wake of the sun. 
The swallow ascending against cold waves of cloud 
Seems winging upward over huge bleak stairs of stone. 
The raindrop finds its way to the heart of the leaf-bud. 
But no word finds its way to the heart of you. 


This also is clear in the stream of my sensation: 
That I am content, for the moment, Let me be. 
How light the new grass looks with the rain-dust on it! 
But heart is a word that has no meaning, 
Heart means nothing to me. 


To the end of the world I pass and back again 
In flights of the mind; yet always find you here, 
Remote, pale, unattached . . . O Circe-too-clear-eyed, 
Watching amused your fawning tiger-thoughts, 
Your wolves, your grotesque apes—relent, relent! 
Be less wary for once: it is the evening. 


But if I close my eyes what howlings greet me! 
Do not persuade. Be tranquil. Here is flesh 
With all its demons. Take it, sate yourself. 
But leave my thoughts to me.

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Added: Feb 21 2003 | Viewed: 3972 times | Comments and analysis of Chiarascuro: Rose by Conrad Aiken Comments (1)

Chiarascuro: Rose - Comments and Information

Poet: Conrad Aiken
Poem: Chiarascuro: Rose
Poem of the Day: Sep 24 2003

Comment 1 of 1, added on May 29th, 2007 at 8:14 AM.

Interesting format. Perhaps the use of "he" and "she" detracts slightly...but I see the poets point in trying to establish a verbal dialogue. Beautiful choice of words overall

Leslie from Australia

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