Promises like pie-crust

September 25, 2007

I’ve been listening to Carla Bruni 2003 album, Quelqu’un m’a dit.  Excellent stuff, although I should also declare my natural bias towards simple vocals and the acoustic guitar.  I have my doubts about her English album, No Promises, (I haven’t actually heard it) just because I think French captures a certain wistful tone that English does not.  Nevertheless, I very much like the idea of putting 19th century poetry to music so I’ll go hunt it down for a listen.

In the meantime, here is a poem, which is on No Promises (coincidentally also by one of my favourite poets).  Enjoy!

Promises Like Pie-Crust
by Christina Georgina Rossetti
(1830-1894)

Promise me no promises,
So will I not promise you:
Keep we both our liberties,
Never false and never true:
Let us hold the die uncast,
Free to come as free to go:
For I cannot know your past,
And of mine what can you know?

You, so warm, may once have been
Warmer towards another one:
I, so cold, may once have seen
Sunlight, once have felt the sun:
Who shall show us if it was
Thus indeed in time of old?
Fades the image from the glass,
And the fortune is not told.

If you promised, you might grieve
For lost liberty again:
If I promised, I believe
I should fret to break the chain.
Let us be the friends we were,
Nothing more but nothing less:
Many thrive on frugal fare
Who would perish of excess.

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