The House Of Clouds

I would build a cloudy House
  For my thoughts to live in;
When for earth too fancy-loose
  And too low for Heaven!
Hush! I talk my dream aloud---
  I build it bright to see,---
I build it on the moonlit cloud,
  To which I looked with thee.

Cloud-walls of the morning's grey,
  Faced with amber column,---
Crowned with crimson cupola
  From a sunset solemn!
May mists, for the casements, fetch,
  Pale and glimmering;
With a sunbeam hid in each,
  And a smell of spring.

Build the entrance high and proud,
  Darkening and then brightening,---
If a riven thunder-cloud,
  Veined by the lightning.
Use one with an iris-stain,
  For the door within;
Turning to a sound like rain,
  As I enter in.

Build a spacious hall thereby:
  Boldly, never fearing.
Use the blue place of the sky,
  Which the wind is clearing;
Branched with corridors sublime,
  Flecked with winding stairs---
Such as children wish to climb,
  Following their own prayers.

In the mutest of the house,
  I will have my chamber:
Silence at the door shall use
  Evening's light of amber,
Solemnising every mood,
  Softemng in degree,---
Turning sadness into good,
  As I turn the key.

Be my chamber tapestried
  With the showers of summer,
Close, but soundless,---glorified
  When the sunbeams come here;
Wandering harpers, harping on
  Waters stringed for such,---
Drawing colours, for a tune,
  With a vibrant touch.

Bring a shadow green and still
  From the chestnut forest,
Bring a purple from the hill,
  When the heat is sorest;
Spread them out from wall to wall,
  Carpet-wove around,---
Whereupon the foot shall fall
  In light instead of sound.

Bring the fantasque cloudlets home
  From the noontide zenith
Ranged, for sculptures, round the room,---
  Named as Fancy weeneth:
Some be Junos, without eyes;
  Naiads, without sources
Some be birds of paradise,---
  Some, Olympian horses.

Bring the dews the birds shake off,
  Waking in the hedges,---
Those too, perfumed for a proof,
  From the lilies' edges:
From our England's field and moor,
  Bring them calm and white in;
Whence to form a mirror pure,
  For Love's self-delighting.

Bring a grey cloud from the east,
  Where the lark is singing;
Something of the song at least,
  Unlost in the bringing:
That shall be a morning chair,
  Poet-dream may sit in,
When it leans out on the air,
  Unrhymed and unwritten.

Bring the red cloud from the sun
  While he sinketh, catch it.
That shall be a couch,---with one
  Sidelong star to watch it,---
Fit for poet's finest Thought,
  At the curfew-sounding,--- ;
Things unseen being nearer brought
  Than the seen, around him.

Poet's thought,----not poet's sigh!
  'Las, they come together!
Cloudy walls divide and fly,
  As in April weather!
Cupola and column proud,
  Structure bright to see---
Gone---except that moonlit cloud,
  To which I looked with thee!

Let them! Wipe such visionings
  From the Fancy's cartel---
Love secures some fairer things
  Dowered with his immortal.
The sun may darken,---heaven be bowed---
  But still, unchanged shall be,---
Here in my soul,---that moonlit cloud,
  To which I looked with THEE!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era. more…

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