The Name

Don Marquis

It shifts and shifts from form to form,
  It drifts and darkles, gleams and glows;
It is the passion of the storm,
  The poignance of the rose;
Through changing shapes, through devious
  By noon or night, through cloud or flame,
My heart has followed all my days
  Something I cannot name.

In sunlight on some woman’s hair,
  Or starlight in some woman’s eyne,
Or in low laughter smothered where
  Her red lips wedded mine,
My heart hath known, and thrilled to know,
  This unnamed presence that it sought;
And when my heart hath found it so,
  “Love is the name,” I thought.

Sometimes when sudden afterglows
  In futile glory storm the skies
Within their transient gold and rose
  The secret stirs and dies;
Or when the trampling morn walks o’er
  The troubled seas, with feet of flame,
My awed heart whispers, “Ask no more,
  For Beauty is the name!”

Or dreaming in old chapels where
  The dim aisles pulse with murmurings
That part are music, part are prayer—
  (Or rush of hidden wings)
Sometimes I lift a startled head
  To some saint’s carven countenance,
Half fancying that the lips have said,
  All names mean God, perchance!”

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