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When love has changed to kindness by Rupert Brooke

When love has changed to kindliness
Oh, love, our hungry lips, that press 
So tight that Time's an old god's dream 
Nodding in heaven, and whisper stuff 
Seven million years were not enough 
To think on after, make it seem 
Less than the breath of children playing, 
A blasphemy scarce worth the saying, 
A sorry jest, "When love has grown 
To kindliness -- to kindliness!" . . . 
And yet -- the best that either's known 
Will change, and wither, and be less, 
At last, than comfort, or its own 
Remembrance. And when some caress 
Tendered in habit (once a flame 
All heaven sang out to) wakes the shame 
Unworded, in the steady eyes 
We'll have, -- that day, what shall we do? 
Being so noble, kill the two 
Who've reached their second-best? Being wise, 
Break cleanly off, and get away. 
Follow down other windier skies 
New lures, alone? Or shall we stay, 
Since this is all we've known, content 
In the lean twilight of such day, 
And not remember, not lament? 
That time when all is over, and 
Hand never flinches, brushing hand; 
And blood lies quiet, for all you're near; 
And it's but spoken words we hear, 
Where trumpets sang; when the mere skies 
Are stranger and nobler than your eyes; 
And flesh is flesh, was flame before; 
And infinite hungers leap no more 
In the chance swaying of your dress; 
And love has changed to kindliness.

 

 

 
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                   page created 08/03/11