I have come now to the long arc of shadow
And the short day, alas, and where the hills
Whiten, the colour gone from the old grass;
Yet my desire is constant in its green,
It has so taken root in the hard stone
That speaks and hears as if it were a woman.

Similarly this miracle of woman
Stays frozen like the deep snow left in shadow:
For she is no more moved than is a stone
By the sweet season—that which warms the hills
Turning the whiteness of them into green
And decking them in wild flowers, herbs and grass.

When her hair is garlanded with woven grass,
She draws the mind away from other women:
She braids the rippling yellow with the green
So beautifully, Love lingers in their shadow—
Love, who confines me here between low hills
More stringently than mortar binding stone.

Her beauty holds more power than precious stones
And nothing remedies—not herb or grass—
The hurt she gives: so over plain and hill
I have fled, my one need to escape that woman,
But from her eyes’ clear light have found no shadow
By mountain, wall or leafage dense with green.

There was a time I saw her dressed in green
In such a way she could have made a stone
Feel the great love I bear her very shadow;
I desired her, therefore, in a field of grass—
As much in love as ever any woman
Has been—and ringed about by lofty hills.

But rivers will flow back and climb their hills
Before this wood, which is both damp and green,
Will at my touch catch fire—as fair women
Are known to do; and I would sleep on stone
My whole life long and go feeding on grass
Only to see where her dress casts a shadow.

Whenever the hills cast their blackest shadow,
With lovely green she makes it, this young woman,
Vanish, as stones are hidden in the grass.


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