Jetsam Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


I wonder can this be the world it wasA
At sunset I remember the sky fellB
Green as pale meadows at the long street endsC
But overhead the smoke wrack hugged the roofsD
As if to shut the city from God's eyesE
Till dawn should quench the laughter and the lightsF
Beneath the gas flare stolid faces passedG
Too dull for sin old loosened lips set hardH
To drain the stale lees from the cup of senseI
Or if a young face yearned from out the mistJ
Made by its own bright hair the eyes were wanK
With desolate fore knowledge of the endL
My life lay waste about me as I walkedM
From the gross dark of unfrequented streetsN
The face of my own youth peered forth at meO
Struck white with pity at the thing I wasA
And globed in ghostly fire thrice virginalP
With lifted face star strong went one who sangQ
Lost verses from my youth's gold canticleP
Out of the void dark came my face and hersR
One vivid moment then the street was thereS
Bloat shapes and mean eyes blotted the sear duskT
And in the curtained window of a houseU
Whence sin reeked on the night a shameful headV
Was silhouetted black as Satan's faceW
Against eternal fires I stumbled onK
Down the dark slope that reaches riverwardV
Stretching blind hands to find the throat of GodV
And crush Him in his lies The river layP
Coiled in its factory filth and few lean treesX
All was too hateful I could not die thereS
I whom the Spring had strained unto her breastV
Whose lips had felt the wet vague lips of dawnY
So under the thin willows' leprous shadeV
And through the tangled ranks of riverweedV
I pushed till lo God heard me I came forthZ
Where 'neath the shoreless hush of region lightV
Through a new world undreamed of undesiredV
Beyond imagining of man's weary heartV
Far to the white marge of the wondering seaO
This still plain widens and this moon rains downA2
Insufferable ecstasy of peaceB2
My heart is man's heart strong to bear this night'sF
Unspeakable affliction of mute loveC2
That crazes lesser things The rocks and clodsF
Dissemble feign a busy intercourseF
The bushes deal in shadowy subterfugeD2
Lurk dull dart spiteful out make heartless signsF
Utter awestricken purpose of no senseF
But I walk quiet crush aside the handsF
Stretched furtively to drag me madmen's waysF
I know the thing they suffer and the tricksF
They must be at to help themselves endureE2
I would not be too boastful I am weakF2
Too weak to put aside the utter acheG2
Of this lone splendor long enough to seeF
Whether the moon is still her white strange selfH2
Or something whiter stranger even the faceF
Which by the changed face of my risen youthI2
Sang globed in fire her golden canticleP
I dare not look again another gazeF
Might drive me to the wavering coppice thereS
Where bat winged madness brushed me the wild laughJ2
Of naked nature crashed across my bloodV
So rank it was with earthy presencesF
Faun shapes in goatish dance young witches' eyesF
Slanting deep invitation whinnying callsF
Ambiguous shocks and whirlwinds of wild mirthK2
They had undone me in the darkness thereS
But that within me smiting through my lidsF
Lowered to shut in the thick whirl of senseF
The dumb light ached and rummaged and with outV
The soaring splendor summoned me aloudV
To leave the low dank thickets of the fleshL2
Where man meets beast and makes his lair with himM2
For spirit reaches of the strenuous vastV
Where stalwart stars reap grain to make the breadV
God breaketh at his tables and is gladV
I came out in the moonlight cleansed and strongN2
And gazed up at the lyric face to seeF
All sweetness tasted of in earthen cupsF
Ere it be dashed and spilled all radiance flungO2
Beyond experience every benison dreamP2
Treasured and mystically crescent thereS
O who will shield me from her Who will placeF
A veil between me and the fierce in throngN2
Of her inexorable benediciteV
See I have loved her well and been with herQ2
Through tragic twilights when the stricken seaF
Groveled with fear or when she made her throneR2
In imminent cities built of gorgeous windsF
And paved with lightnings or when the sobering starsF
Would lead her home 'mid wealth of plundered MayP
Along the violet slopes of evensongN2
Of all the sights that starred the dreamy yearS2
For me one sight stood peerless and apartV
Bright rivers tacit low hills prone and dumbT2
Forests that hushed their tiniest voice to hearU2
Skies for the unutterable advent robedV
In purple like the opening iris budsF
And by some lone expectant pool one treeF
Whose gray boughs shivered with excess of aweV2
As with preluding gush of amber lightV
And herald trumpets softly lifted throughW2
Across the palpitant horizon margeX2
Crocus filleted came the singing moonY2
Out of her changing lights I wove my youthI2
A place to dwell in sweet and spiritualP
And all the bitter years of my exileP
My heart has called afar off unto herQ2
Lo after many days love finds its ownR2
The futile adorations the waste tearsF
The hymns that fluttered low in the false dawnY
She has uptreasured as a lover's giftsF
They are the mystic garment that she wearsF
Against the bridal and the crocus flowersF
She twined her brow with at the going forthZ
They are the burden of the song she madeV
In coming through the quiet fields of spaceF
And breathe between her passion parted lipsF
Calling me out along the flowering roadV
Which summers through the dimness of the seaF
Hark where the deep feels round its thousand shoresF
To find remembered respite and far drawnY
Through weed strewn shelves and crannies of the coastV
The myriad silence yearns to myriad speechZ2
O sea that yearns a day shall thy tongues beF
So eloquent and heart shall all thy tonguesF
Be dumb to speak thy longing Say I holdV
Life as a broken jewel in my handV
And fain would buy a little love with itV
For comfort say I fain would make it shineA3
Once in remembering eyes ere it be dustV
Were life not worthy spent Then what of thisF
When all my spirit hungers to repayP
The beauty that has drenched my soul with peaceF
Once at a simple turning of the wayP
I met God walking and although the dawnY
Was large behind Him and the morning starsF
Circled and sang about his face as birdsF
About the fieldward morning cottagerQ2
My coward heart said faintly Let us hasteV
Day grows and it is far to market townA2
Once where I lay in darkness after fightV
Sore smitten thrilled a little thread of songN2
Searching and searching at my muffled senseF
Until it shook sweet pangs through all my bloodV
And I beheld one globed in ghostly fireQ2
Singing star strong her golden canticleP
And her mouth sang The hosts of Hate roll pastV
A dance of dust motes in the sliding sunB3
Love's battle comes on the wide wings of stormC3
From east to west one legion Wilt thou striveD3
Then since the splendor of her sword bright gazeF
Was heavy on me with yearning and with scornE3
My sick heart muttered Yea the little strifeF3
Yet see the grievous wounds I fain would sleepG3
O heart shalt thou not once be strong to goN2
Where all sweet throats are calling once be braveH3
To slake with deed thy dumbness Let us goN2
The path her singing face looms low to pointV
Pendulous blanched with longing shedding flameI3
Of silver on the brown grope of the floodV
For all my spirit's soilure is put byJ3
And all my body's soilure lacking nowK3
But the last lustral sacrament of deathL3
To make me clean for those near searching eyesF
That question yonder whether all be wellP
And pause a little ere they dare rejoiceF
Question and be thou answered passionate faceF
For I am worthy worthy now at lastV
After so long unworth strong now at lastV
To give myself to beauty and be savedV
Now being man to give myself to theeF
As once the tumult of my boyish heartV
Companioned thee with rapture through the worldV
Forth from a land whereof no poet's lipM3
Made mention how the leas were lily sprentV
Into a land God's eyes had looked not onK
To love the tender bloom upon the hillsF
To morrow when the fishers come at dawnY
Upon that shell of me the sea has tossedV
To land as fit for earth to use againN3
Men meeting at the shops and corner streetsF
Will speak a word of pity glossing o'erQ2
With altered accent dubious sweep of handV
Their virile just contempt for one who failedV
But they can never cast my earnings upO3
Who know so well my losses Even youW2
Who in the mild light of the spirit walkN2
And hold yourselves acquainted with the truthI2
Be not too swift to judge and cast me outV
You shall find other nobler ways than mineA3
To work your soul's redemption glorious noonsF
Of battle 'neath the heaven suspended signA3
And nightly refuge 'neath God's gis rimM2
Increase of wisdom and acquaintance heldV
With the heart's austerities still governanceF
And ripening of the blood in the weekday sunB3
To make the full orbed consecrated fruitV
At life's end for the Sabbath supper meetV
I shall not sit beside you at that feastV
For ere a seedling of my golden treeF
Pushed off its petals to get room to growN2
I stripped the boughs to make an April gaudV
And wreathe a spendthrift garland for my hairQ2
But mine is not the failure God deploresF
For I of old am beauty's votaristV
Long recreant often foiled and led astrayQ2
But resolute at last to seek her thereQ2
Where most she does abide and crave with tearsF
That she assoil me of my blemishmentV
Low looms her singing face to point the wayQ2
Pendulous blanched with longing shedding flameI3
Of silver on the brown grope of the floodV
The stars are for me the horizon wakesF
Its pilgrim chanting and the little sandV
Grows musical of hope beneath my feetV
The waves that leap to meet my swimming breastV
Gossip sweet secrets of the light drenched wayQ2
And when the deep throbs of the rising surgeP3
Pulse upward with me and a rain of wingsF
Blurs round the moon's pale place she stoops to reachZ2
Still welcome of bright hands across the waveH3
And sings low low globed all in ghostly fireQ2
Lost verses from my youth's gold canticleP

William Vaughn Moody


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