I saw the Guardian Angel sit her down;
Vine-branches fashioned a green shrine above her
And sun-flowers rose behind her like a crown.
Her fingers, their white slenderness encircled
With humble, fragile rings of coral round.
Held, ranged in couples, sprays of faithful roses.
Sealed with a clasp, with threads of woollen bound.
A shimmering air the golden calm was weaving,
All filigree'd with dawn, that like a braid
Surmounted her pure brow, which still was hidden
Half in the shade.
Woven of linen were her veil and sandals.
But, twined 'mid boughs of foliage, on their hem
The theologic Virtues Three were painted;
Hearts set about with gold encompassed them.
Her silken hair, slow rippling, from her shoulder
Down to the mosses of the sward did reach;
The childhood of her eyes disclosed a silence
More sweet than speech.
My arms outstretched, and all my soul upstraining.
Then did I rise,
With haggard yearning, toward the soul suspended
There in her eyes.
Those eyes, they shone so vivid with remembrance,
That they confessed days lived alike with me:
Oh, in the grave inviolate can it change, then,
The Long Ago, and live in the To Be?
Sure, she was one who, being dead, yet brought me.
Miraculous, a strength that comforteth,
And the Viaticum of her survival
Guiding me from the further side of Death.
Emile Verhaeren (1855 - 1916) Belgium
Translated by Alma Strettell
Source: Poems of Emile Verhaeren selected and rendered into English by Alma Strettell (on Project Gutenberg)