The Circle of Affection and Other Pieces in Prose and Verse

by Duncan Campbell Scott







THIS WORD,— this ‘love’, so hardened by misuse
How can it serve to tell my ‘love’ for you
That is too deep for thought; how can a truce
Be made between the war of shallow and true
In that small word; how can I ever tell
The flood of feeling music might reveal,
Who have no music only the common spell
Of words blunted by use? How can I deal
With things intangible yet so intense
That they are all the best of all my life,
Implicit in my breathing and my sense?
How can I hope to calm the heart at strife
That tries to link the song the spirit sings
With the hid source from which the melody springs?




One is withdrawn and subtle, one is plain,
One I possess and one I apprehend,
One is my life, the other I would fain
Discover, but ever baffled in the end.
For how is delicacy to be shown,
How is perception of beauty to be snared,
How can the truth of impulse be made known,
And how can tenderness of heart be shared?
When there is mind so quick to search and know
Can its swift motion crowd into a line,
And where inventions proud and fruitful grow
How can their store be rendered equal fine?
One proof of sun is shadow; and a thought
May prove the radiance whence its shadow
was caught.




A beryl pool deep in a balsam wood
Margined with mosses and with maiden-hair,
Knots of blue-iris and the twin-flower brood,
Their colour falls on the water and lives in air.
Here in the hush a fawn steals in to drink
And stirs the twilight silence of the hours,
Venturing timid to the mossy brink
She robs the fluid jewel of its flowers
And drinks her fill; then, gentle, slips away;
Still from her touch the tiny ripples tremble
Until the gathering silence bids them stay
And all the water colours reassemble.
Here is a shadow-beauty,—can it impart.
The beauty of your rich and sentient heart?




Think of Imagination as an orb
That takes and gives all light in liberty;
It can the varied drama of life absorb,
Then dream of the past and dream of things to be,
Yet keep appraisment of the present clear.
How can my keenest thinking hope to find
In this bright shade of a creative sphere
The essential strength and compass of your mind?
These, like pale shadows from the vital sun,
May prove the radiance of your mind and heart,
If they were fit perfection would be won
And they must serve for lack of better art.
But for my ‘love’—all words are harsh or cold,
That must be lived, it never can be told.