new zealand electronic poetry centre

Lola Ridge

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“ Sleep, Dolores”

“Sleep, Dólorès,” my mother sang to me,
            When life was all a play, dear,
            In joyous rhythms rung;
Quaint, fantastic, wayward melody –
            Now life is closing grey, dear,
            And all its songs are sung.

“Sleep, Dólorès! The grey wolves ride away,”
            I saw them in a far-line
            Across the looming plains
(“Sleep, Dólorès, sweet, slumber while you may”) –
            Gaunt shapes athwart the star-line
            That broke their bridle reins.

“Sleep, Dólorès.” In that old world o’ mine,
            Where fancy vainly lingers
            Were palaces to let;
No gates, toll gates, nor title deeds to sign,
            Nor tangle of cold fingers
            That never should have met.

“Sleep, Dólorès!” I thought the shining stars
            Were lamps along the night coast
            Of cities far away;
Head lights, red lights, that flashed among the spars
            Of schooners on the white coast,
            Adown the Milky Way.

“Sleep, Dólorès!” And tranced in slumber song
            Bright, wondrous things I saw, dear,
            My starry cities in –
Child dreams, wild dreams, that recked not right nor wrong,
            And Love was over Law, dear,
            And knew not shame or sin.

“Hush, Dólorès! The wolves are near the town”;
            A thrust, a thin red knife-line
            The blade is sharp and keen.
“Wake, Dólorès! The grey wolves ride thee down!
            Gaunt shapes athwart thy life-line,
            And not a league between.”



‘“Sleep, Dolores,”’ Bulletin 7 Jul 1904: 3. NSW.
See also ‘Sleep, Dolorias,’ Verses 1905: 33-34.

Last updated 7 June, 2013