From Theory of Flight (1935)
Effort at Speech Between Two People
Poem via American Studies at the University of Virginia.
Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now? I will tell you all. I will conceal nothing. When I was three, a little child read a story about a rabbit who died, in the story, and I crawled under a chair: a pink rabbit: it was my birthday, and a candle burnt a sore spot on my finger, and I was told to be happy. Oh grow to know me. I am not happy. I will be open: now I am thinking of white sails against a sky like music, like glad horns blowing, and birds tilting, and an arm about me. There was one I loved, who wanted to live, sailing. Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now? When I was nine, I was fruitfully sentimental, fluid : and my widowed aunt played Chopin, and I bent my head on the painted woodwork, and wept. I want now to be close to you. I would link the minutes of my days close, somehow, to your days. I am not happy. I will be open. I have liked lamps in evening corners, and quiet poems. There has been fear in my life. Sometimes I speculate On what a tragedy his life was, really. Take my hand. First my mind in your hand. What are you now? When I was fourteen, I had a dreams of suicide, and I stood at a steep window, at sunset, hoping toward death : if the light had not melted clouds and pains to beauty, if light had not transformed that day, I would have leapt. I am unhappy. I am lonely. Speak to me. I will be open. I think he never loved me: he loved the bright beaches, the little lips of foam that ride small waves, he loved the veer of gulls: he said with a gay mouth: I love you. Grow to know me. What are you now? If we could touch one another, if these our separate entities could come to grips, clenched like a Chinese puzzle ... yesterday I stood in a crowded street that was live with people, and no one spoke a word, and the morning shone. Everyone silent, moving... Take my hand. Speak to me.