Close, Safe, Warm

Never the Time and the Place

By Robert Browning

Never the time and the place

And the loved one all together!

This path—how soft to pace!

This May—what magic weather!

Where is the loved one’s face?

In a dream that loved one’s face meets mine,

But the house is narrow, the place is bleak

Where, outside, rain and wind combine

With a furtive ear, if I strive to speak,

With a hostile eye at my flushing cheek,

With a malice that marks each word, each sign!

O enemy sly and serpentine,

Uncoil thee from the waking man!

Do I hold the Past

Thus firm and fast

Yet doubt if the Future hold I can?

This path so soft to pace shall lead

Thro’ the magic of May to herself indeed!

Or narrow if needs the house must be,

Outside are the storms and strangers: we

Oh, close, safe, warm sleep I and she,—

I and she!

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