Poems by Anne Bremer

THE UNSPOKEN

Buried deep it lies,
A metal bell with a hollow sound,
Deep down in the ground.

Scanning the skies
For stars to wear
As moondust in our hair,
We walk around.
With simulated glee each goes,
Peering for tiny flowers of rose
Spangled on the ground.

So carefully covered, hidden it lies,
This metal bell of hollow sound;
With finger on lips, we move around;
For no one dares, oh, no one dares—
See the smiling mask that each one wears.

COMPENSATION

On days when I remember
The days I would forget,
I walk among the flowers
Of the garden I have made;
Flowers of clearest azure
Grow, I find, in shade.

THE JOURNEY

Unwearied the seasons come and go,
Unfailing recur bud, leaf, fruit, snow.
The vast blue solitude abides,
Each walks alone below—
Two seldom walk abreast.

When the circle is rounded by the tides
And the journey ends—who would not rest?

TWO PATHS

I had not hoped last year
To look on budding cheer.
Mauve heather spray-drops bloom
Like pale nuns, wrapped austere;
And on my window sill
Two sappy leaf-blades, slim,
Enfold a daffodil.

Slowly I climb the hill,
The tangled web nearer, each day;
One furtive, wistful glance
I cast—the other way.

QUIETNESS

In city crowds, in whirls of sound and motion,
In remote lands, under far sky,
Though years together, we have been strangers,
My soul and I.

Aged walls of apathy close in upon us,
The pleasant social smile has ceased to satisfy;
We are alone together, . . . no longer strangers,
My soul and I.

SUNSET

Waves majestic,
Rising, seething,
Foaming, crashing;
Pools of molten gold
Poured upon fluid chrysoprase.

A bird, solitary,
Speeding darkly, dips the curling crests;
Rising, seething,
Foaming, crashing;
Vast silences beyond.

Expand oh! soul, hold infinitude!
Spacious tranquility
Calmly silvering into night.

FOOT-PRINTS

Shadows of lilac echo the form
Of my arched shoe,
Where the bare, untrammeled toe
Of an agile Indian may have pressed,
Long years ago.

When Serra’s thonged and sandaled feet
Marred the smoothness of tawny sand,
Wistful memory followed birds
Flying in quest
Of genial land.

The tide for her shining lover will reach
When moonlight silvers dunes and beach;
Many feet have passed on your silent plain,—
Unchanging, changing—you remain.

LIFE EFFECTUAL

Slender lily smooth and white
whose perfume floats upon the air
like opalescent gossamer;

Butterfly poised, shimmering wings in light,
gold damascene: black, pure-yellow and jade;

Magic music, in its flight
softly winging aloft the soul;

If only a day, of spiritual height
calmly silvering to its goal.

STILL LIFE

Anne Bremer, Still Life, ca. 1921, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Anne Bremer, Still Life, ca. 1921, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Aubergin and yellow glazes,
Satsuma and rare old vases,
In the studio on the hilltop;
Silken curtains filter daylight,
Where the mellow shade falls softly
On a lacquered jar of rouge.

Golden glints of prisoned sunlight
Gleam within a wide-necked milk-jug,
Downy folds of scarlet velvet
Mirrored view their ruddy beauty,
And the frisking flames of firelight
Dance upon its polished surface.

On a wooden cart it rattled
In the quaint old town of Bruges;
Over stones and bumpy pavements,
Over crooked narrow streets.
Once it humbly served the many
Chubby, placid, Belgian babies.

Toddling babies cooed and prattled
While their mothers friendly gossiped.
Sun-rays skipped across its surface
In a wooden cart with others,
Ample-bellied shining brothers.

Golden glints of prisoned sunlight
Gleam within its bright brass surface;
Idle now, it lolls at ease.

SKETCH

Anne Bremer, The Highlands, ca. 1920, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Anne Bremer, The Highlands, ca. 1920, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Crooked gnarled cedars fringe grey sea;
Still falls a ghostly pall of haze
Lowering chill on rocky shore.

Savage waves, boisterous, lash grim crags;
Hungry waves, clamorous, pound and roar:
More, more, more!


These were all written in the last two years or so of Anne Bremer’s life, after she developed leukemia.  Shall I post some more?
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