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Short poem

Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

Tiare Tahiti

              1Mamua, when our laughter ends,
              2And hearts and bodies, brown as white,
              3Are dust about the doors of friends,
              4Or scent ablowing down the night,
              5Then, oh! then, the wise agree,
              6Comes our immortality.
              7Mamua, there waits a land
              8Hard for us to understand.
              9Out of time, beyond the sun,
            10All are one in Paradise,
            11You and Pupure are one,
            12And Taü, and the ungainly wise.
            13There the Eternals are, and there
            14The Good, the Lovely, and the True,
            15And Types, whose earthly copies were
            16The foolish broken things we knew;
            17There is the Face, whose ghosts we are;
            18The real, the never-setting Star;
            19And the Flower, of which we love
            20Faint and fading shadows here;
            21Never a tear, but only Grief;
            22Dance, but not the limbs that move;
            23Songs in Song shall disappear;
            24Instead of lovers, Love shall be;
            25For hearts, Immutability;
            26And there, on the Ideal Reef,
            27Thunders the Everlasting Sea!

            28And my laughter, and my pain,
            29Shall home to the Eternal Brain.
            30And all lovely things, they say,
            31Meet in Loveliness again;
            32Miri's laugh, Teipo's feet,
            33And the hands of Matua,
            34Stars and sunlight there shall meet
            35Coral's hues and rainbows there,
            36And Teüra's braided hair;
            37And with the starred tiare's white,
            38And white birds in the dark ravine,
            39And flamboyants ablaze at night,
            40And jewels, and evening's after-green,
            41And dawns of pearl and gold and red,
            42Mamua, your lovelier head!
            43And there'll no more be one who dreams
            44Under the ferns, of crumbling stuff,
            45Eyes of illusion, mouth that seems,
            46All time-entangled human love.
            47And you'll no longer swing and sway
            48Divinely down the scented shade,
            49Where feet to Ambulation fade,
            50And moons are lost in endless Day.
            51How shall we wind these wreaths of ours,
            52Where there are neither heads nor flowers?
            53Oh, Heaven's Heaven! -- but we'll be missing
            54The palms, and sunlight, and the south;
            55And there's an end, I think, of kissing,
            56When our mouths are one with Mouth. ...

            57Taü here, Mamua,
            58Crown the hair, and come away!
            59Hear the calling of the moon,
            60And the whispering scents that stray
            61About the idle warm lagoon.
            62Hasten, hand in human hand,
            63Down the dark, the flowered way,
            64Along the whiteness of the sand,
            65And in the water's soft caress,
            66Wash the mind of foolishness,
            67Mamua, until the day.
            68Spend the glittering moonlight there
            69Pursuing down the soundless deep
            70Limbs that gleam and shadowy hair,
            71Or floating lazy, half-asleep.
            72Dive and double and follow after,
            73Snare in flowers, and kiss, and call,
            74With lips that fade, and human laughter
            75And faces individual,
            76Well this side of Paradise! ....
            77There's little comfort in the wise.


1] Mamua is the native woman who nursed Brooke in Tahiti, with whom he had a love affair during his three-month stay (beginning late January 1914), and whom he named Taata Mata. He met her at the Tiare Hotel and missed her after he had left. In early 1915 he received her letter of May 14 in which she wrote: "Sweetheart you know I always thinking about you that time when you left me I been sorry for long time. We have good time when you was here Ialways remember about you forget me all readly oh! mon cherbien aime je t'aimerai toujours ... je me rappeler toujours votre petite etroite figure et la petite bouche que me baise bien tu m'a percea mon coeur et j'aime toujours ne m'oubli pas mon cher .... I send you my kiss to you darling -- mille kiss." As Brooke was dying, he asked that she be told of his death and said: "Give her my love" (John Lehmann, Rupert Brooke: His Life and Legend [London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980]: 109-10).

15] Brooke refers to Plato's doctrine of the forms.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Rupert Brooke, 1914 & other Poems (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, June 6, 1915): 19-21. PR 6003 R4N5 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1915
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1999.
Recent editing: 2:2001/11/15

Composition date: February 1914
Composition date note: Composed at Papeete, Tahiti.
Form: octosyllabic quatrains and couplets

Other poems by Rupert Brooke