The Empty Bowl by Emily Coungeau

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Lo, once thy loveliness a radiance shed,
   The lustre of the stars was in thine eye,   
An aureole of beauty o'er thy head,  
   Marked thee too beautiful a thing to die.

Silent and stiff, no breath of fragrance now
   Wafteth its balm to lead me to my goal,   
The silken hair that traileth o'er thy brow
   A girdle was which bound me to thy soul.

Or so I dreamed -- thy voice so softly low;
   The deepest fibres of my being stirred,
Falling in silver quivers from the bow
   Of thy curved lips as a sweet harpsichord.

And when thy slender fingers touched the strings
   In cadence sad or passionate lament,
In spirit I could feel the mystic wings  
   Of love which sanctified our sacrament.   

The golden bowl is empty, and in vain
   My burning tears on thy frail heart have shone;   
Living, yet dead, thou art another's gain,  
   Thou whom it breaks my heart to look upon.     

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 24 March 1915;
and later in
Rustling Leaves: Selected Poems by Emily Coungeau, 1920.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 24, 2012 8:50 AM.

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