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Conrad Aiken (1889 – 1973)


American writer and poet.
Conrad Aiken
The music ends. The screen grows dark. We hurry
To go our devious secret ways, forgetting
Those many lives . . . We loved, we laughed, we killed,
We danced in fire, we drowned in a whirl of sea-waves.
The flutes are stilled, and a thousand dreams are stilled.
Aiken quotes
Once I loved, and she I loved was darkened.
Again I loved, and love itself was darkened.
Vainly we follow the circle of shadowy days.
The screen at last grows dark, the flutes are silent.
The doors of night are closed. We go our ways.
Aiken
And the shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves
Interlace with low voices and footsteps and sunlight
To divide us forever.




Aiken Conrad quotes
'I bound her to me in all soft ways,
I bound her to me in a net of days,
Yet now she has gone in silence and said no word.
How can we face these dazzling things, I ask you?
There is no use: we cry: and are not heard.
Aiken Conrad
Over the darkened city, the city of towers,
The city of a thousand gates,
Over the gleaming terraced roofs, the huddled towers,
Over a somnolent whisper of loves and hates,
The slow wind flows, drearily streams and falls,
With a mournful sound down rain-dark walls.
Conrad Aiken quotes
Was forty, then, too old for work like this?
Why should it be? He'd never been afraid—
His eye was sure, his hand was steady . . .
But dreams had meanings.
Conrad Aiken
And there was one, beneath black eaves, who thought,
Combing with lifted arms her golden hair,
Of the lover who hurried towards her through the night;
And there was one who dreamed of a sudden death
As she blew out her light.
Aiken Conrad quotes
My heart has become as hard as a city street,
The horses trample upon it, it sings like iron,
All day long and all night long they beat,
They ring like the hooves of time.
Aiken
One of us sings in the street, and we listen to him;
The words ring over us like vague bells of sorrow.
He sings of a house he lived in long ago.
It is strange; this house of dust was the house I lived in;
The house you lived in, the house that all of us know.
Aiken Conrad
Before him, numberless lovers smiled and talked.
And death was observed with sudden cries,
And birth with laughter and pain.
And the trees grew taller and blacker against the skies
And night came down again.
Conrad Aiken
Something had changed—but it was not the street—
The street was just the same—it was himself.




Conrad Aiken quotes
Come back, true love! Sweet youth, return!—
But time goes on, and will, unheeding,
Though hands will reach, and eyes will yearn,
And the wild days set true hearts bleeding.
Conrad Aiken
His thoughts were blown and scattered like leaves;
He thought of the pail . . . Why, then, was it forgotten?
Because he would not need it?
Aiken quotes
And we recall, with a gleaming stab of sadness,
Vaguely and incoherently, some dream
Of a world we came from, a world of sun-blue hills . . .
A black wood whispers around us, green eyes gleam;
Someone cries in the forest, and someone kills.
Aiken Conrad
I love you, what star do you live on?
Aiken Conrad quotes
As darkness falls
The walls grow luminous and warm, the walls
Tremble and glow with the lives within them moving,
Moving like music, secret and rich and warm.
How shall we live tonight? Where shall we turn?
To what new light or darkness yearn?
A thousand winding stairs lead down before us;
And one by one in myriads we descend
By lamplit flowered walls, long balustrades,
Through half-lit halls which reach no end.
Conrad Aiken
From high black walls, gleaming vaguely with rain,
Each yellow light looked down like a golden eye.
They trembled from coign to coign, and tower to tower,
Along high terraces quicker than dream they flew.
And some of them steadily glowed, and some soon vanished,
And some strange shadows threw.
Conrad Aiken quotes
Death is a meeting place of sea and sea.
Conrad Aiken
Through soundless labyrinths of dream you pass,
Through many doors to the one door of all.
Soon as it's opened we shall hear a music:
Or see a skeleton fall . . .
Aiken Conrad
We flow, we descend, we turn . . . and the eternal dreamer
Moves among us like light, like evening air . . .


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