Summer Past | John Gray

to Oscar Wilde

There was the summer. There
Warm hours of leaf-lipped song,
And dripping amber sweat.
O sweet to see
The great trees condescend to cast a pearl
Down to the myrtles; and the proud leaves curl
In ecstasy

Fruit of a quest, despair.
Smart of a sullen wrong.
Where may they hide them yet?
One hour, yet one,
To find the mossgod lurking in his nest,
To see the naiads’ floating hair, caressed
By fragrant sun-

Beams. Softly lulled the eves
The song-tired birds to sleep,
That other things might tell
Their secrecies.
The beetle humming neath the fallen leaves
Deep in what hollow do the stern gods keep
Their bitter silence? By what listening well
Where holy trees,

Song-set, unfurl eternally the sheen
Of restless green?

Reverend Canon John Gray (1866 – 1934) was an English poet and Catholic priest. It has often been suggested that he was the inspiration behind Oscar Wilde’s fictional Dorian Gray despite evidence to the contrary. His great nephew is the alternative rock musician Crispin Gray.

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