Max Desmarets, his Valentine






How shall a ghost from the Père-la-Chaise
Greeting send to a vanished love?
How shall he struggle the sods above
And merrily chatter of by-gone days?
Woe is me! Through the matted grass
That grows by my head (where the gamin plays
In the silent alleys of Père-la-Chaise)
Never a soul like mine can pass.
Madame, if spark of life be thine,
List to a ghostly Valentine.

Seventy years in a coffin pent
Little of beauty have I to show,
Seventy years will alter one so
With a coffin lid for a firmament
And the inky darkness night and day;
With the murmur of all the restless dead
With the hum of Paris overhead,
"What wonder, then, if l fall away ...

In place of a heart my white ribs shine . ..
Pity a skeleton Valentine

Bony palms on your hand would close,
Words of love from a fleshless jaw,
Might trouble the bravest soul with awe,
Madame if once again I rose.
I am not pleasant to look upon,-
(Never a thing on the Earth today
Is fouler favoured than Desmarets)
For, verily, most of my 'padding' is gone.
Nerveless trunk and a fleshless chine
Make me a loathely Valentine

How can I greet a ghostly love
Knowing not where her soul is fled
In the Courts that confine the myriad dead?
How can I follow her flight and discover?
Here, from behind my dungeon bars,
Goeth my question up to the stars:—
"Moon in the sky,
"Suns as ye roll,
"Meteors that fly
"Search for her soul.
"Bring me her greeting
"Spirits of grace
"Planets swift fleeting
"Through infinite space.
Waste worlds that, fireless,
"Wander destroyed;
"Comets that, tireless,
"Whirl through the void
"By the gateways of Hades,
"Of pale Proserpine
"Oh! tell her this shade is
"Her true Valentine."