“Lady, Weeping at the Crossroads,” by W H. Auden
Lady, weeping at the crossroads,
Would you meet your love
In the twilight with his greyhounds,
And the hawk on his glove?
Bribe the birds then on the branches,
Bribe them to be dumb,
Stare the hot sun out of heaven
That the night may come.
Starless are the nights of travel,
Bleak the winter wind;
Run with terror all before you
And regret behind.
Run until you hear the ocean’s
Deep though it may be and bitter
You must drink it dry,
Wear out patience in the lowest
Dungeons of the sea,
Searching through the stranded shipwrecks
For the golden key,
Push on to the world’s end, pay the
Dread guard with a kiss,
Cross the rotten bridge that totters
Over the abyss.
There stands the deserted castle
Ready to explore;
Enter, climb the marble staircase,
Open the locked door.
Cross the silent ballroom,
Doubt and danger past;
Blow the cobwebs from the mirror
See yourself at last.
Put your hand behind the wainscot,
You have done your part;
Find the penknife there and plunge it
Into your false heart.