ERASURE POETRY

Evelyn Hope

Robert Browning (1812–1889)
BEAUTIFUL Evelyn Hope is dead!
Sit and watch by her side an hour.
That is her book-shelf, this her bed;
She plucked that piece of geranium-flower,
Beginning to die too, in the glass; 5
Little has yet been changed, I think:
The shutters are shut, no light may pass
Save two long rays through the hinge’s chink.

Sixteen years old when she died!
Perhaps she had scarcely heard my name; 10
It was not her time to love; beside,
Her life had many a hope and aim,
Duties enough and little cares,
And now was quiet, now astir,
Till God’s hand beckoned unawares,— 15
And the sweet white brow is all of her.

Is it too late then, Evelyn Hope?
What, your soul was pure and true,
The good stars met in your horoscope,
Made you of spirit, fire and dew— 20
And, just because I was thrice as old
And our paths in the world diverged so wide,
Each was naught to each, must I be told?
We were fellow mortals, naught beside?

No, indeed! for God above 25
Is great to grant, as mighty to make,
And creates the love to reward the love:
I claim you still, for my own love’s sake!
Delayed it may be for more lives yet,
Through worlds I shall traverse, not a few: 30
Much is to learn, much to forget
Ere the time be come for taking you.

But the time will come—at last it will,
When, Evelyn Hope, what meant (I shall say)
In the lower earth, in the years long still, 35
That body and soul so pure and gay?
Why your hair was amber, I shall divine,
And your mouth of your own geranium’s red—
And what you would do with me, in fine,
In the new life come in the old life’s stead. 40

I have lived (I shall say) so much since then,
Given up myself so many times,
Gained me the gains of various men,
Ransacked the ages, spoiled the climes;
Yet one thing, one, in my soul’s full scope, 45
Either I missed or itself missed me:
And I want and find you, Evelyn Hope!
What is the issue? Let us see!

I loved you, Evelyn, all the while!
My heart seemed full as it could hold; 50
There was place and to spare for the frank young smile,
And the red young mouth, and the hair’s young gold.
So, hush,—I will give you this leaf to keep:
See, I shut it inside the sweet cold hand!
There, that is our secret: go to sleep! 55
You will wake, and remember, and understand.

********************************************************************

‪#‎NAPOWRIMO‬
DAY 6
Prompt: Erasure Poem
EVELYN HOPE- Robert Browning
Beautiful Evelyn Hope
watch by her side
that is her book-shelf,
that piece of geranium-flower,
in the glass
little
The shutters are shut,
through the hinge’s chink.

Sixteen years old
Perhaps
her time to love
a hope and aim,
little cares,
now astir,
hand beckoned
sweet white

Evelyn Hope
pure and true,
The good stars met,
Made you of spirit
I was thrice as old
And our paths
Each was naught to each,
We were fellow mortals

for God above
to grant,
the love
for my own love’s sake!
for more lives yet,
Through worlds I shall traverse,
to learn,
Ere the time be come

the time will come
When, Evelyn Hope,
in the years long still,
That body and soul
I shall divine,
your mouth
with me, in fine,
In the new life

(I shall say) since then,
so many times,
Gained me the gains
Ransacked the ages,
one thing,
I missed
you, Evelyn Hope!
see!

Evelyn,
My heart
There was place for
the red young mouth,
So, hush
See,
that is our secret: go to sleep!
You will wake, and understand.

© Paromita Mukherjee Ojha, 6th April 2016

p.s : Erasure is a form of found poetry or found art created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem. The results can be allowed to stand in situ or they can be arranged into lines and/or stanzas.

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