Today the Wind for Elizabeth Today the wind through winter’s unclad bones Drowns in its woeful howl my soul’s discant; Beyond, a distant hunter’s oliphant Salutes the dead beneath their frost-bound stones. Today the wind sweet music’s loss bemoans, No more to laud, beneath this canopy Of slate-grey clouds, thy beauty’s panoply: Boreas blows his low, hibernal drones. Oh, be it given me to turn the groans Of the expiring year to song, and grant That thy fair radiance release my chant, On love’s warm wings, to heaven’s starry zones! The Higher Charms for Elizabeth It was a dream, or so I thought, The subtle fire behind thy look… Rare the creature that ever caught My fancy, save within a book, And rarer still the lass who both The inner and the outer eye Could please so keenly by her troth, And make me sigh. “No dream!” the voice of all things real Exclaimed, though not in words, to me. “The hour has come to break the seal “Of one last scroll, obscure to thee, “The scroll of Highest Being whose charms “Ignite thy true love’s beaming eye “That captivates, and then disarms, “To make thee sigh.” On looking up, at once I knew Why some men faint and some men flee, Why some fatigue the ocean blue With wandering from sea to sea, But why the best reel in the ropes To moor their boat for love’s bright eye, And hang their honor, fortune, hopes, Upon a sigh. Love’s Gift for Elizabeth We twain look on each other to behold The sacrifice of each in worldly death, That Love alone inspire our souls with breath, Beyond the setting of our suns of old. Love’s gift is blood. The thorn and not the rose Gives royal weight to the perduring crown; And yet, be it of straw or rag or down, Love’s pillow soothes the head of fortune’s woes. All pastimes waste, all fleeting pleasures cloy, The land of desires lay bare and in ruin; Its sky is a void no bird ever flew in, Its happiness a counterfeit of joy. Lift thy fair countenance to heaven’s rain Of benedictions falling from on high: Love is the hierophant of earth and sky, The minister of jubilance and pain. Here is the gate. Here, take its golden key: Love’s secret garden blooms in every season, Beyond the noise of argument and reason, Receive its Sacrament on bended knee! ©Joseph Charles MacKenzie Joseph Charles MacKenzie is a traditional lyric poet, the only American to have won Scottish International Poetry Competition. His poetry has appeared in The New York Times, The Scotsman (Edinburgh), The Independent (London), US News and World Report, Google News, and many other outlets. He writes primarily for the Society of Classical Poets (New York) and Trinacria (New York). MacKenzie has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.