POETRY BY QUEEN MARIE OF ROUMANIA

from Poems of All Nations
edited by Katherine Hunter Coe, F.R.S.A.
The Channing Press, Dawlish, England, 1936



THE BAD KING
by
MARIE QUEEN OF ROUMANIA

In the hall down there,
In a black carved chair,
Sits a king who owns
Eleven white thrones,
But dark as night is his heart.

The bride he has won
Sits out in the sun
And weaves a white sheet
Which lies at her feet,
Like snow that is turning to ice.

The dark man on the throne
Sits alone, quite alone,
And he knows full well
The voice of the bell
That will tell the tale of his death.

His bride knows it too
And what she will do
With the shroud she's spun
When the sinking sun
At last will have set her free.

So she sings a wild song
To the fear-filled throng
Which is winding its way
To the castle grey
Where the king lies dead in his blood!




DARK VISION
by
MARIE QUEEN OF ROUMANIA

Down by the sea where the wild waves weep,
Where the ten tossing tides rise out of the deep,
I met a lone man with the face of a ghost
And asked him the way to the sad sea-coast,
There where my love was lost.
But never a word did the pale man say,
But stood silent, letting the salt sea spray
Splash like the silver sun over his head;
And looking at him I saw he was dead,
Dead as my love was dead.

And dead were his lips and dead were his hands,
And beyond him I saw a wide vision of lands
Where the snow-swans swarm upon silent strands,
Where their last song's sung and the last star stands
Watching the lonely night.

And the man—with his hand he showed me the shore
Where the dead lie dumb amid seas that roar,
And laid himself down where the dark star fell,
And though he was dead, oh! I knew quite well
That a day would dawn for us both.




THE PILGRIM
by

MARIE QUEEN OF ROUMANIA

Thou art as the world to me,
As a holy land beyond my reach.
I perceive its beauty ; but over it lies darkness
As a mantle of night my hand alone could lift.
But chains are put upon my feet,
Which even my yearning cannot break.
And in my heart lies the fear man fears
When near to a mystery he has sometimes
Dreamed of, but has never dared to touch.
Thou art to me as a story told to my heart;
As a story which is mine, and yet not mine,
Because another has read it first,
One who is dearer to me than my own life's blood.
I stand before thee as one dazzled,
As one into whose eyes the sun shines,
So that where'er he looks naught does he see
But light and e'er again . . . light . . . light . . .
Till all colours blend into one colour
Which is light. . . .
As all melodies blend into one melody,
Many rivers running into one sea,
Thou art to me as an oasis over which sorrow lies
Like phantom wings, full of shadow,
Shutting out all joy.
My feet are on its very border,
But dare not step within its enchanted circle,
Where with thy consent, another
Has lighted a hallowed light.
I can but stand without, humbly,
As a pilgrim who, having reached sanctuary,
Is afraid of approaching its altar
For fear a too great joy
Might rend in twain his heart.
But, oh, allow my sorrow
To flow along beside thy sorrow,
Two sister rivers running towards God. . . .




THE MESSENGER
by
MARIE QUEEN OF ROUMANIA

Know ye the name of the one who came
From over the rim of the world,
A staff in hand, from the far lost land,
Where only the chosen dwell?

Through night and through storm, where stars are born,
He came till he reached my door;
He was the kind of those who find
Their way to the sad heart's core.

He spoke of the land where angels stand
Guarding all the secrets of God,
And brought me a word the stars once heard
Whilst watching alone at night.

Deep were his eyes as the truth that lies
Concealed in the heart of hope,
His face as a dream for those who seem
Forsaken by man and God.

The word was a star as great truths are,
Shining for travellers lost;
I guard it well as a deep-toned bell
That rings with the voice of hope.