Oscar Wilde

(1854-1900 / Dublin / Ireland)

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Her Voice


THE wild bee reels from bough to bough
With his furry coat and his gauzy wing.
Now in a lily-cup, and now
Setting a jacinth bell a-swing,
In his wandering;
Sit closer love: it was here I trow
I made that vow,

Swore that two lives should be like one
As long as the sea-gull loved the sea,
As long as the sunflower sought the sun,--
It shall be, I said, for eternity
'Twixt you and me!
Dear friend, those times are over and done,
Love's web is spun.

Look upward where the poplar trees
Sway and sway in the summer air,
Here in the valley never a breeze
Scatters the thistledown, but there
Great winds blow fair
From the mighty murmuring mystical seas,
And the wave-lashed leas.

Look upward where the white gull screams,
What does it see that we do not see?
Is that a star? or the lamp that gleams
On some outward voyaging argosy,--
Ah! can it be
We have lived our lives in a land of dreams!
How sad it seems.

Sweet, there is nothing left to say
But this, that love is never lost,
Keen winter stabs the breasts of May
Whose crimson roses burst his frost,
Ships tempest-tossed
Will find a harbour in some bay,
And so we may.

And there is nothing left to do
But to kiss once again, and part,
Nay, there is nothing we should rue,
I have my beauty,--you your Art,
Nay, do not start,
One world was not enough for two
Like me and you.

Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2001

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  • Rookie Patricia Northall (3/20/2014 11:22:00 AM)

    I found this a very romantic, but rather sad too. Wilde certainly has a style so different to poets
    such as Keats, Byron, even Wordsworth. The length of this poem is just right, and the first
    verse takes you right to the heart of his thoughts and feelings of a love that cannot be, but remembers so well their time together in the second verse, climaxing with such clarity their
    parting, and insignificance in the world around them.
    I felt very much the emotional need, and separation between two lovers.
    Pat Northall (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Colleen Courtney (3/20/2014 9:48:00 AM)

    Gosh, haven't read this in a long time. It still and will forever be an amazing piece. How can anyone not appreciate the beauty? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 651 Points Paul Reed (3/20/2014 3:56:00 AM)

    I wonder which poem is Straw's favourite? Perhaps some verse so deeply founded in factual accuracy that it fails to move the soul? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Catherine Harper (1/18/2013 9:32:00 AM)

    I don't know for you but I have to admit that it is the greatest poem that history has met It's actually my fav...And just to answer to mr.Straw, a poet can make to his poem whatever he wants...You can't tell the artist not to paint the sea pink or tell the musician to stop writing his own music or tell the poet not to write something out of the world...And for Oscar Wilde's defence I may be a 14-year-old girl and maybe I know nothing of poetry, but I know that everubody knows Wilde so you can comment on his work but not the way you did...
    PS I'm so sorry for any grammtical or vocabulary mistakes but I'm Greek.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 240 Points Ray Quesada (10/3/2012 4:52:00 PM)

    utter genius. always loved Wilde. i think the job of the poet is to carry the feelings of all human beings within their hearts. emotions in their most naked form have no words to properly describe them, and yet, the world is occasionally blessed with men and women who feel the weight and love and sadnesses of the world so strongly that it haunts them day and night. their only option, not to get rid of it, but to understand it and thus be able to deal with it, is to write it in the form of poetry. They write not in ink. they write in tears and in the blood drawn from their very hearts. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Carlos Echeverria (3/20/2012 10:48:00 AM)

    Wilde's sexual orientation may bias the judgement of his critics. This poem is sex-neutral, however, and as a love poem-it speaks to all lovers. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 485 Points Paul Brookes (3/20/2012 2:33:00 AM)

    This is a very British poem. If Mr Straw would like to know May's breast can be stabbed by winter, we have such weird weather we can have sun, rain, snow, and hail all in the same afternoon in spring! ! Also has he never heard of poetic licence. It not meant to be literal. e.g. The sun flower seeks the sun etc. Plus Gulls are found all over the place on land as well as sea. I have some flying out back at this moment and they live here all year. I live 70 miles from the sea. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Grissell M (4/1/2010 7:32:00 AM)

    ...there is nothing left to say
    But this, that love is never lost,
    .
    .
    How sweet the smell of love in the breath of needy (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Assorted Thoughts (3/20/2010 8:50:00 PM)

    I don't know much about poetry but one of my favorite quotes is, The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived ~
    Oscar Wilde. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Pruchnicki (3/20/2010 5:15:00 PM)

    To refute Straw's angry comment line by line would take far too long, but what the hell here goes! Wilde has NOT written a prose critique or a scientific treatise about the birds and the bees cavorting as they are wont to do - just for starters, has our doughty word warrior never heard of or read about the seagulls that frequent the Great Salt Lake in Utah? That's west of the Rockies, you know? Take a gander at a map when you find time! Figurative language can embrace such diverse images as the faraway murmur of the sea as wave after wave assaults the dry sands of time (check it out, you who ignore Wilde's prosaic use of imagery and then submit sub-standard imagery of your own making on this site!): keen and cutting winds of winter pierce us to our very core! Take that, you unfeeling trog dragging your knuckles along the dusty ground! Today the snow fell long and fast this second day of Spring 2010! Of course we look upward to discern the crowns of evergreen trees that swing and sway hundreds of feet above us! Of course, I agree in these circumstances that we tempest-tossed by our passion in an imaginary land of dreams seek shelter and kiss and kiss before we go our separate ways! Give me Wilde's song over Straw's dreary complaint any day or night! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (3/20/2010 9:20:00 AM)

    The sea-gull does not “love” the sea; the sunflower does not “seek” the sun. If two lives last so long as these things, then they cannot be “for eternity”. A spun web is not the end but the beginning - a web would be made to catch love, and not in a very nice way! . Where else is his love to look but “upward” to view where the poplar trees sway. What have “mighty, murmuring, mystical” got to do with anything? How comes there is a seagull in a valley? “Keen winter” does not “stab the breasts of May” - May acts on winter, not the reverse. You cannot attribute “bursting” to the action of roses on the frost. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Gone Away (3/20/2010 5:28:00 AM)

    I enjoyed this. It has a companion poem entitled 'My Voice'. Her voice obviously shows the female perspective on the end of their love affair. I like that she is not bitter that their love has ended, only sad, but hopeful that as love does not end they will go on and find love again. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 21 Points Jorge Rolon (3/20/2010 2:25:00 AM)

    This poem very powerful
    its great everything well done
    stop by and read mine if you get the chance
    yours is a 100 out of 10 (: (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 221 Points Indira Renganathan (3/20/2010 1:48:00 AM)

    One world was not enough for two
    Like me and you....wonderful throughout ending with these superb lines....beyond comments and remarks (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 294 Points Ramesh T A (3/20/2010 1:44:00 AM)

    Is he saying all these things of love to a friend or a lady love? The question needs to be answered by those who know the close life matters of Wilde! In general it is a nice poem indeed! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Amy Lee (3/20/2008 6:55:00 PM)

    Amo this poema it gives off a good sense of knowledge.Keep up the work. (Report) Reply

Read all 23 comments »

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