All Lovely Things
- All lovely things will have an ending,
- All lovely things will fade and die,
- And youth, that’s now so bravely spending,
- Will beg a penny by and by.
- Fine ladies soon are all forgotten,
- And goldenrod is dust when dead,
- The sweetest flesh and flowers are rotten
- And cobwebs tent the brightest head.
- Come back, true love! Sweet youth, return!—
- But time goes on, and will, unheeding,
- Though hands will reach, and eyes will yearn,
- And the wild days set true hearts bleeding.
- Come back, true love! Sweet youth, remain!--
- But goldenrod and daisies wither,
- And over them blows autumn rain,
- They pass, they pass, and know not whither.
Music I Heard
- Music I heard with you was more than music,
- And bread I broke with you was more than bread;
- Now that I am without you, all is desolate;
- All that was once so beautiful is dead.
- Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
- And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
- These things do not remember you, beloved,
- And yet your touch upon them will not pass.
- For it was in my heart that you moved among them,
- And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes;
- And in my heart they will remember always,
- —They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.
Conrad Aiken (1889-1973) was an American poet and novelist, and a Harvard classmate of T.S. Eliot with whom Aiken maintained a lifelong friendship. Like Eliot, he was influenced by the French symbolists in his writings. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1930. Many of his works (both his poetry and his fiction) delve into the psychological dimensions of the human experience. Carefully balancing structure and the free play of the poetic line (another similarity to Eliot), Aiken saw God as the anchor for his understanding and vision of humanity and the created universe.