Bitterness – Victoria Sackville West

Yes, they were kind exceedingly; most mild 

Even in indignation, taking by the hand 

One that obeyed them mutely, as a child 

Submissive to a law he does not understand. 
They would not blame the sins his passion wrought. 

No, they were tolerant and Christian, saying, ‘We 

Only deplore …’ saying they only sought 

To help him, strengthen him, to show him love; but he 
Following them with unrecalcitrant tread, 

Quiet, towards their town of kind captivities, 

Having slain rebellion, ever turned his head 

Over his shoulder, seeking still with his poor eyes 
Her motionless figure on the road. The song 

Rang still between them, vibrant bell to answering bell, 

Full of young glory as a bugle; strong; 

Still brave; now breaking like a sea-bird’s cry ‘Farewell!’
And they, they whispered kindly to him ‘Come! 

Now we have rescued you. Let your heart heal. Forget! 

She was your lawless dark familiar.’ Dumb, 

He listened, and they thought him acquiescent. Yet, 
(Knowing the while that they were very kind) 

Remembrance clamoured in him: ‘She was wild and free, 

Magnificent in giving; she was blind 

To gain or loss, and, loving, loved but me,–but me! 
‘Valiant she was, and comradely, and bold; 

High-mettled; all her thoughts a challenge, like gay ships 

Adventurous, with treasure in the hold. 

I met her with the lesson put into my lips, 
‘Spoke reason to her, and she bowed her head, 

Having no argument, and giving up the strife. 

She said I should be free. I think she said 

That, for the asking, she would give me all her life.’ 
And still they led him onwards, and he still 

Looked back towards her standing there; and they, content, 

Cheered him and praised him that he did their will. 

The gradual distance hid them, and she turned, and went.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.