The Year of Love

There were four loves that one by one,

Following the seasons and the sun,

Passed over without tears, and fell

Away without farewell.

The first was made of gold and tears,

The next of aspen-leaves and fears,

The third of rose-boughs and rose-roots,

The last love of strange fruits.

These were the four loves faded. Hold


Some minutes fast the time of gold

When our lips each way clung and clove

To a face full of love.

The tears inside our eyelids met,

Wrung forth with kissing, and wept wet

The faces cleaving each to each

Where the blood served for speech.

The second, with low patient brows

Bound under aspen-coloured boughs

And eyes made strong and grave with sleep


And yet too weak to weep –

The third, with eager mouth at ease

Fed from late autumn honey, lees

Of scarce gold left in latter cells

With scattered flower-smells –

Hair sprinkled over with spoilt sweet

Of ruined roses, wrists and feet

Slight-swathed, as grassy-girdled sheaves

Hold in stray poppy-leaves –

The fourth, with lips whereon has bled


Some great pale fruit’s slow colour, shed

From the rank bitten husk whence drips

Faint blood between her lips –

Made of the heat of whole great Junes

Burning the blue dark round their moons

(Each like a mown red marigold)

So hard the flame keeps hold –

These are burnt thoroughly away.

Only the first holds out a day

Beyond these latter loves that were


Made of mere heat and air.

And now the time is winterly

The first love fades too: none will see,

When April warms the world anew,

The place wherein love grew.