Monday, July 6, 2015

Charles Williams' faerie poem

Among the odder things I've found while working on my current paper is that Charles Williams once wrote a 'faerie' poem. Since it's fairly obscure (having appeared back in 1924 in a volume that sold very few copies), I thought I'd share.


Under the edge of midnight
  While my love is far away,
A wind from the world of faerie
  Blows between day and day.

And wandering thoughts possess me,
  Such as no wise man knows,
Death and a thousand accidents,
  And high impossible woes.

Whether now in her pastime
  She turned a little, sighed
With the heaviness of breathing
  And even in turning died:

Or whether some cloud covers
  The lobes of the conscious brain
And all that she knew aforetime
  She shall never know again,

But her friends shal bring her to me,
  Bewildered and afraid
Lest a stranger's hand should touch her,
  A shrinking alien maid, —

Yet such distress in patience
  And faith an end may find,
And a more fantastic peril
  Moves in my dreaming mind:

None knows how deep within us
  Lies hid a secret flaw,
Where spins the mad world ever
  On the very edge of law.

Under the chance that rules us
  Anarchic terrors stir,
Lest what to me has happened
  Has never happened to her.

First love in our first meeting,
  Changed eyes, and bridal vows,
The incredible years together
  Lived in a single house,

The kisses born of custom
  That are sweeter and stranger still
Than any clasp of passion,
  And the shaping of one will, —

Was it some wraith deceived me,
  And lives she still apart
In her father's house contented,
  With an unwakened heart?

Now at this striking midnight
  Through the chink between day and day,
Has a wind from the world of faerie
  Blown all my life away?

Here am I now left naked
  Of the vapour that was she:
While the true maid 'midst her kindred
  Has never thought of me?

For ten long years together
  Can a thing be and not be,
Till it ceases to be or ever, —
  And has this chanced to me?

—Ch. Wms, Windows of Night [1924], p. 56–58

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