May Sarton is the pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton (May 3, 1912 – July 16, 1995), an American poet, novelist and memoirist.
Did someone say that there would be an end,
An end, Oh, an end, to love and mourning?
Such voices speak when sleep and waking blend,
The cold bleak voices of the early morning
When all the birds are dumb in dark November—
Remember and forget, forget, remember.
After the false night, warm true voices, wake!
Voice of the dead that touches the cold living,
Through the pale sunlight once more gravely speak.
Tell me again, while the last leaves are falling:
“Dear child, what has been once so interwoven
Cannot be raveled, nor the gift ungiven.”
Now the dead move through all of us still glowing,
Mother and child, lover and lover mated,
Are wound and bound together and enflowing.
What has been plaited cannot be unplaited—
Only the strands grow richer with each loss
And memory makes kings and queens of us.
Dark into light, light into darkness, spin.
When all the birds have flown to some real haven,
We who find shelter in the warmth within,
Listen, and feel new-cherished, new-forgiven,
As the lost human voices speak through us and blend
Our complex love, our mourning without end.
THE PHOENIX AGAIN
On the ashes of this nest
Love wove with deathly fire
The phoenix takes its rest
Forgetting all desire.
After the flame, a pause,
After the pain, rebirth.
Obeying nature’s laws
The phoenix goes to earth.
You cannot call it old
You cannot call it young.
No phoenix can be told,
This is the end of the song.
It struggles now alone
Against death and self-doubt,
But underneath the bone
The wings are pushing out.
And one cold starry night
Whatever your belief
The phoenix will take flight
Over the seas of grief
To sing her thrilling song
To stars and waves and sky
For neither old nor young
The phoenix does not die.