May Sarton

May Sarton

Read | On The Writer | On The Writing
Favorite Quotes | Film and Audio | Q&A | Links | Order Books

Charleston Plantations by May Sarton

You cannot see them from the road: go far and deep,
Down the long avenues where mosses cover up the leaves,
Across the empty terraced lawns neglected and asleep,
To the still place where no dog barks and no dove grieves,
And a black mirror gives you back your face too white
In pools dyed jet by cypress roots: go deep and far,
Deep into time, far into crumbling spaces and half-light
To where they stand, our Egypt and our Nineveh.
Deep in a deathly stillness stand the planters' houses.

The garlands and the little foxes' faces carved
Upon the mantels look on empty walls and water-stains
And the stairs tremble though so elegantly curved
(Outside are waiting the bright creeping vines),
And as your foot falls in the silences, you guess
Decay has been arrested for a moment in the wall,
But the gray plumes upon the trees in deathly loveliness
Will stir when you have passed, and somewhere a stone fall.
Deep in a deathly stillness stand the planters' houses.

There is no rice now and the world that sprang from it
Like an azalea, brilliant from the swamps, has crumbled.
A single century, it is embalmed as Egypt.
A single century, and all that elegance was humbledó
While we who fired that world and watched it burn
Come every spring to whisper near the tomb,
To stare, a little shaken, where the mosses mourn
And the azaleas and magnolias have not ceased to bloom.
Deep in a deathly stillness stand the planters' houses.

Read | On The Writer | On The Writing
Favorite Quotes | Film and Audio | Q&A | Links | Order Books

C
O
N
T
A
C
T