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About this Poem 

“Serenade” was published in All-Story Cavalier Weekly in May 1914.

 

Serenade

Three paces down the shore, low sounds the lute,
The better that my longing you may know;
I’m not asking you to come,
But—can’t you go?

Three words, “I love you,” and the whole is said—
The greatness of it throbs from sun to sun;
I’m not asking you to walk,
But—can’t you run?

Three paces in the moonlight’s glow I stand,
And here within the twilight beats my heart.
I’m not asking you to finish,
But—to start.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes was born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York on June 12, 1892. She was an American novelist, poet, playwright, journalist, and visual artist, as well as an important figure in the Modernist movement. Her works include The Book of Repulsive Women (1915), Ladies Almanack (1928), and Nightwood (1937). Barnes died in New York City on June 18, 1982.

by this poet

poem

And now she walks on out turned feet
Beside the litter in the street
Or rolls beneath a dirty sheet
       Within the town.
She does not stir to doff her dress,
She does not kneel low to confess,
A little conscience, no distress
       And settles down.

Ah God! she settles

poem
The night comes down, in ever-darkening shapes that seem—
To grope, with eerie fingers for the window—then—
To rest to sleep, enfolding me, as in a dream
            Faith—might I awaken!
 
And drips the rain with seeming sad, insistent beat.
Shivering across the pane, drooping tear-wise,
And softly patters by,
poem

What loin-cloth, what rag of wrong
Unpriced?
What turn of body, what of lust
Undiced?
So we’ve worshipped you a little
More than Christ.