A Lone Evening With Debussy

I've drawn my curtain on the fading light.
Another dreaming day is done,
And words have fallen silent, outdone
By a voice
More intimate than the moon's affectionate stare,
Softer yet than a woman's charms,
And, yes, finer than silk
For it is woven of even lighter threads.

Eyes! Be still and shutter yourselves,
For I perceive Beauty unclothed,
And it is through no effort of yours.
Her mystery lies far beyond your wildest straining, O eyes!
Her magnificence you may only glimpse in a meadow
Or in the shifting blue sea of clouds.

My eyes, you've shown me so little beauty.
Why begrudge me this one delicate moment
In her veiled presence?
Too often, you cheapen her name with your love of garish display,
Your taste for the whorish and immediate.
You conquer my senses, then leave me vexed and unsatiated,
Craving all that must perish.

Do close, grave eyes,
Or gather the mists around you,
For such tender strains were made for tears,
And I will dream of that holy place,
That forest and that faun
Who, though ever desirous for the fleeting nymph,
Must content himself to pipe his bittersweet airs
To the wind and winding river-bed.

George Chadderdon © 1993