the drowse of the sunlight

Conrad Aiken

IN the mazes of loitering people, the watchful and furtive,
The shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves,
In the drowse of the sunlight, among the low voices,
I suddenly face you,

Your dark eyes return for a space from her who is with you,
They shine into mine with a sunlit desire,
They say an ‘I love you, what star do you live on?’
They smile and then darken,

And silent, I answer ‘You too–I have known you,–I love you!–‘
And the shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves
Interlace with low voices and footsteps and sunlight
To divide us forever.

I remember being obsessed with this poem in college. I wrote it on the back of a postcard and hung it on my wall. All the postcards on my wall had poetry on the back side, the usual suspects–Cummings, Plath, Rumi–but this one was always my favorite. Painfully romantic, I liked to close my eyes and imagine myself in the scene. I hadn’t lived enough life to know love like this. The kind that sneaks up on you. The impossible kind. Though really, it is all the impossible kind.


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