Percy Edward Pinkerton - Selected Writings

Here I present extracts from Percy Pinkerton's three published books of poetry and two paragraphs from ASOLO published in The Magazine of Art.

   

LAGOON MESSAGE  
(from Galeazzo & Adriatica 1886/1894)

NOT now, but later, when the road
We tread together breaks apart,
When thou, my dearest, distant art,
And tedious days have swelled the load
Upon my heart.

Or haply after that, when I
Am sealed within an earthy bed,
Resting and unremeberèd
This scene will speak and easily
The whole be said.

Some eve, when from his burning chair
The sun below Fusina slips,
And all the sable poplar-tips
Wave in the warm vermilion air,
The wind the lips.

Of the soft breeze the wayward touch
Shall tell the all I longed to own;
And thou, on lurid lakes alone,
Wilt say: ‘Poor soul, he loved me much;
And he is gone'.

ON THE LIDO  
(from Galeazzo 1886)

I pace the Lido’s yellow shore,
And shells and foam are at my feet; 
The spot a sweets aspect wore 
Last summer when we used to meet. 
I seek your foot-mark in the sand, 
I miss the pressure of your hand. 

Far over sea we sent our eyes
Where through the golden evening light 
Like gorgeous-plumèd butterflies. 
Boats wandered out to meet the night;
And silver sparks were in the sky, 
Yet still we loitered, you and I.

Neither had any need of speech; 
Ours was a silent happiness; 
As the white breakers on the beach 
Flung out their note of weariness, 
Such music seemed to fit our mood, 
To sanctify our solitude. 

Oh! to win back one sunset eve 
Of all those memorable days; 
Oh! could I faithfully believe 
That somewhere yet by winding ways 
Our lips would meet as once, of yore 
Upon the Lido's yellow shore.

 

II. THE MILL AT MOON-RISE 
(from At Hazebro')

ABOVE the shore the wind-mill stands,
A phantom in the twilight grey; 
And all around are silent lands 
Where scattered lights gleam far away. 

Then, slowly from the tranquil tide 
Emerging, in her shroud of fire, 
The wan moon rises like a bride 
Pale with unspeakable desire. 

Beyond the sand-dunes, by the sea, 
I hear the curlew's plaintive cry; 
The mill, as though to menace me, 
Spreads ghostly arms across the sky.

I trust; I doubt; and trembling wait
Here, in the moonlight and the mist. 
Dear, is your love for me so great? 
And will you dare to keep the tryst?

 

IX. AT PARTING  
(from At Hazebro' 1909)

NIGHT; and a waning moon 
Low in the western sky;
And the sound of the wave on the shore 
As the sound of an infinite sigh! 

Grief in the heart of twain 
For joy that hath taken flight;
For love that comes never, never again 
In a day or a night. 

Oh! that we have to part, 
Sweet, but it must be so!
Love had his hour, his rapturous hour, 
And love must go!  

BY THE SHORE  
(from At Hazebro' 1909)

THE sea is cold, and dark as grief, 
Now, at the close of day;
The pale moon like a phantom leaf 
Floats o'er the tranquil bay.
At yonder pier-head in the dusk 
A faint light re-appears;
Less faint, perchance, than this our love 
That perishes in tears. 


A ROSE IN WINTER  
(from At Hazebro' 1909)

AS the year sadly touches its close, 
In the mist, and the dark, and the rime, 
My friend, I would send you a rose 
That I pluck'd in the sweet summer-time. 

But 'tis only a grey little ghost, 
Bereft of its beauty and pride; 
A handful of ashes at most, 
As it lies on the page at my side!

Or to you 'twould a message convey, 
A word like a flame from the past, 
That only a rose-bud could say, 
If only a rose-bud could last!

 

FEBRUARY  
(from Galeazzo & Adriatica 1886/1894)

Out of the scented apple trees
The evening breeze
Shook snowy blooms upon your hair;
All the vermilion of the west grew pale;
Then like a shining sail,
The moon swam upwards in the silent air.

Ah! Arrow-swift athwart my brain
There comes again
That picture of my sweetest night
As now, in dismal February gloom,
Alone beside your tomb
I watch the snow-flakes shrouding it in white.

DECEMBER  
(from Galeazzo 1886)


This chill day closes; on the humid floor
Stone paved, without, all avid for the store
Of bread and grain that I am wont to throw
To them, soft pigeons flutter to and fro.

Mine inattentive ears
Rests all on wearily,
Grey birds, grey court, grey dome of darkening sky.

When all must end, when my December nears,
Setting the finish to these fretful years,
Will there be brightness all before mine eyes,
Or shall I see, as ghosts around me, rise
Unheeded sins, that stand
Each with a horrid hand
To hale me under to a sunless land?

 

The Magazine of Art (LONDON) VOL 10 (March 1887)

ASOLO
(Asolo is a town in the province of Treviso, Italy)

Beginning paragraph: 

WHY should I rashly, vainly exhibit its beauty and distinction to the world's cold eye? Who cares either to hear or to believe? None but the fool makes parade of his most precious things; wherefore, then, should I call others into my heart's garden, to use the shadow of its leaves, and take pleasure in one of its peerless flowers? Perhaps every man in his life at some time finds a little harbour, calm and lovely, and aloof from the tumultuous world. Then, does he quick1y advise others of his angle of repose? Does he tempt other tossing ships to approach the haven? Asolo, reader, Asolo is my little harbour, my imagined port of peace; full of refreshment, above “these noises,” environed with clouds, with verdurous hills, and the music of moving boughs; and if I tell you something about it here, that is because not yet am I convinced that selfishness is in fine the master-thing, the real end of all wisdom. Moreover, praise of my pitch, words of enthusiasm as I combine them, will never touch you thoroughly. So may I speak, and vent my desire to proclaim the charms of this leafy citadel, fearless that any will seek to invade it.

Ending paragraph: 
As the sounds of morning tempted us to leave our chamber, so we are drawn out again into the cool atmosphere at night. Again we mount the grassy slope, slippery with dews, to survey the scattered lights of the houses below; fire-flies flit through the trees; cicalas shrill in the jasmine bower that flings around us its subtle perfume; for a moment, like a thin red flame on the crest of that dark mountain, the moon lingers. She sinks; and we are alone beneath stars.