Just as my fingers on these keys Make music, so the self-same sounds On my spirit make a music, too. Music is feeling, then, not sound; And thus it is that what I feel, Here in this room, desiring you,
Thinking of your blue-shadowed silk, Is music. It is like the strain Waked in the elders by Susanna;
Of a green evening, clear and warm, She bathed in her still garden, while The red-eyed elders, watching, felt
The basses of their beings throb In witching chords, and their thin blood Pulse pizzicati of Hosanna.
In the green water, clear and warm, Susanna lay. She searched The touch of springs, And found Concealed imaginings. She sighed, For so much melody.
Upon the bank, she stood In the cool Of spent emotions. She felt, among the leaves, The dew Of old devotions.
She walked upon the grass, Still quavering. The winds were like her maids, On timid feet, Fetching her woven scarves, Yet wavering.
A breath upon her hand Muted the night. She turned -- A cymbal crashed, Amid roaring horns.
Soon, with a noise like tambourines, Came her attendant Byzantines.
They wondered why Susanna cried Against the elders by her side;
And as they whispered, the refrain Was like a willow swept by rain.
Anon, their lamps' uplifted flame Revealed Susanna and her shame.
And then, the simpering Byzantines Fled, with a noise like tambourines.
Beauty is momentary in the mind -- The fitful tracing of a portal; But in the flesh it is immortal.
The body dies; the body's beauty lives. So evenings die, in their green going, A wave, interminably flowing. So gardens die, their meek breath scenting The cowl of winter, done repenting. So maidens die, to the auroral Celebration of a maiden's choral.
Susanna's music touched the bawdy strings Of those white elders; but, escaping, Left only Death's ironic scraping. Now, in its immortality, it plays On the clear viol of her memory, And makes a constant sacrament of praise.