In Memory of Robert Hillyer
I see a temple by a lake
And on the lake a swan:
Memory makes no true mistake
In seeing you the swan.
The temple speaks of Greece, of Rome,
Viewed with romantic eyes:
Connecticut is still your home,
But in an English guise.
Your treasure chamber, filled with books,
Is part Egyptian, part
Harvard with some Oxford looks -
The disarray of art.
You talk and smile and make me feel
I am a poet too,
Whose every poem must bear the seal
Of beauty, as with you.
Few poets are as gently kind
As you to foolish youth:
All those you taught are of one mind;
They praise, and tell the truth.
I see you in that twilit room:
You talk of Egypt, and
Meanwhile the crimson dahlias bloom
Upon a Georgian stand.
And on the lake a single swan
Moves towards the columned shore:
I leave you there, as from the lawn
The fire-flies start to soar.