Katherine Mansfield, "Revelation"
All through the Winter afternoon
We sat together, he and I…
Down in the garden every tree
Seemed frozen to the sky
Yes, every twisted tree that bared
Its naked limbs for sacrifice
Was patterned like a monstrous weed
Upon a lake of ice.
It was as though the pallid world
Was gripped in the embrace of Death
He wrapt the garden in his shroud
He killed it with his breath.
So through the Winter afternoon
We sat together by the fire
And in its heart strange magic worlds
Would build, would flame, expire
In an intensity of flame -
Our books were heaped upon the floor
Fantastic chronicles of men
Of cities seen no more
Of countries buried by the sea
Of people who had laughed and cried
And madly suffered - who had held
The World — and then, had died.
A faded pageant of the past
Trooped by us in the gathering gloom
And we could hear strange, muffled cries
Like voices from the tomb.
And sometimes as we turned a page
We heard the shivering sound of rain
It trickled down the window glass
Like tears upon the pane.
We two, it seemed, were shut apart
Were fire bound from the Winter world
And all the secrets of the past
Lay, like a scroll unfurled.
As through the Winter afternoon
We dreaming, read of many lands
And woke…to find the Book of Life
Spread open in our hands.