Katherine Bradley and her niece Edith Cooper collaborated under the pseudonym “Michael Field” on a number of poetic dramas with historical and mythical subjects, one prose play, and eight volumes of verse.
Isle of Lesbos: Poetry : Historical : Michael Field
Her soul a deep-wave pearl
Dim, lucent of all lovely mysteries;
A face flowered for heart’s ease,
A brow’s grace soft as seas
Seen through faint forest-trees:
A mouth, the lips apart,
Like aspen-leaflets trembling in the breeze
From her tempestuous heart.
Such: and our souls so knit,
I leave a page half-writ —
The work begun
Will be to heaven’s conception done,
If she come to it.
I sing thee with the stock-dove’s throat,
Warm, crooning, superstitious note,
That on its dearie so doth dote
It falls to sorrow,
And from the fair, white swans afloat
A dirge must borrow.
In thee I have such deep content,
I can but murrnur a lament;
It is as though my heart were rent
By thy perfection,
And all my passion’s torrent spent
She sits beside: through four low panes of glass
The sun, a misty meadow, and the stream;
Falling through rounded elms the last sunbeam
Through night’s thick fibre sudden barges pass
With great forelights of gold, with trailing mass
Of timber: rearward of their transient glearn
The shadows settle, and profounder dream
Enters, fulfils the shadows. Vale and grass
Are now no more; a last leaf strays about,
Then every wandering ceases; we remain.
Clear dusk, the face of wind is on the sky:
The eyes I love lift to the upper pane —
Their voice gives note of welcome quietly
‘I love the air in which the stars come out.’
So sweet, all sweet — the body as the shyer
Sweet senses, and the Spirit sweet as those:
For me the fragrance of a whole sweet-briar
Beside the rose!
Lo, my loved is dying, and the call
Is come that I must die,
All the leaves are dying, all
Dying, drifting by.
Every leaf is lonely in its fall,
Every flower has its speck and stain;
The birds from hedge and tree
And the great reconciliation of this pain
Lies in the full soft rain.