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.