Hilda (Doolittle) Aldington
THE CLIFF TEMPLE
GREAT, bright portal,
shelf of rock,
rocks fitted in long ledges,
rocks fitted to dark, to silver granite,
to lighter rock—
clean cut, white against white.
High—high—and no hill-goat
has set foot on your fine grass;
you lift, you are the-world-edge,
pillar for the sky-arch.
The world heaved—
we are next to the sky:
over us, sea-hawks shout,
gulls sweep past—
the terrible breakers are silent
from this place.
Below us, on the rock-edge,
where earth is caught in the fissures
of the jagged cliff,
a small tree stiffens in the gale,
it bends—but its white flowers
are fragrant at this height.
for ever and for ever, must I follow you
through the stones?
I catch at you—you lurch:
you are quicker than my hand-grasp.
Shall I hurl myself from here,
shall I leap and be nearer you?
Shall I drop, beloved, beloved,
ankle against ankle?
Would you pity me, O white breast?
Have you heard,
do you know how I climbed this rock?
My breath caught, I lurched forward—
I stumbled in the ground-myrtle.