Why does the thin grey strand
Floating up from the forgotten
Cigarette between my fingers,
Why does it trouble me?

Ah, you will understand;
When I carried my mother downstairs,
A few times only, at the beginning
Of her soft-foot malady,

I should find, for a reprimand
To my gaiety, a few long grey hairs
On the breast of my coat; and one by one
I watched them float up the dark chimney.

The Bride

My love looks like a girl to-night,
      But she is old.
The plaits that lie along her pillow
      Are not gold,
But threaded with filigree silver,
      And uncanny cold.

She looks like a young maiden, since her brow
      Is smooth and fair,
Her cheeks are very smooth, her eyes are closed.
      She sleeps a rare
Still winsome sleep, so still, and so composed.

Nay, but she sleeps like a bride, and dreams her dreams
      Of perfect things.
She lies at last, the darling, in the shape of her dream,
      And her dead mouth sings
By its shape, like the thrushes in clear evenings.

--- D. H. Lawrence
In Inventions of Farewell
A Book of Elegies

Sandra M. Gilbert, Editor
(©2001 W. W. Norton)

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