Great carven bookshelves laden with grave books,
Dim faded rugs, spoils of an ancient loom,
Deep cushioned chairs, and dreamy inglenooks.
The atmosphere is fragrant with a scent
Where bowls of roses spill their rich perfume.
While to the whole austerity is lent
By a white statue shining through the gloom.
A garden slumbers where the sunlight gleams,
A bee is humming on the drowsy air:
This is the home of peace -- and yet there seems
A subtle restless stirring everywhere.
High carven book-shelves laden with grave works
Of stern philosophy and staid desire:
Beneath some cover young Adventure lurks;
Romance is smiling with her lips of fire.
The sunlight weaves strange patterns on the floor.
The air grows tremulous with muffled strife.
If I but turned a leaf, through its white door
A thousand shining ghosts would leap to life.
First published in The Bulletin, 1 January 1920