Footprints on the Roof: Poems About the Earth
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Hither, hither, love Hither, hither, love —. You say you love; but with a voice You say you love; but with a voice. The Gothic looks solemn The Gothic looks solemn,. Think not of it, sweet one, so Think not of it, sweet one, so; —. O grief! O balm! Apollo to the Graces Apol. Which of the fairest three. To Mrs. Reynolds's Cat Cat! O blush not so! O blush not so O blush not so! Hence burgendy, claret, and port Hence burgundy, claret, and port,.
God of the Meridian God of the meridian,. Robin Hood No! Lines on the Mermaid Tavern Souls of poets dead and gone,. Time's sea hath been five years at its slow ebb Time's sea hath been five years at its slow ebb;. To the Nile Son of the old moon-mountains African!
Spenser, a jealous honorer of thine Spenser! O thou whose face hath felt the winter's wind O thou whose face hath felt the winter's wind,. Extracts from an Opera O! O, I am frighten'd with most hateful thoughts Oh, I am frighten'd with most hateful thoughts! Song The stranger lighted from his steed,. O sleep a little while white pearl Asleep!
Four seasons fill the measure of the year Four seasons fill the measure of the year;. Where be ye going, you Devon maid Where be ye going, you Devon maid? Over the hill and over the dale Over the hill and over the dale,. O that a week could be an age, and we.
Mother of Hermes! To Homer Standing aloof in giant ignorance,. Give me your patience sister while I frame. Sweet, sweet is the greeting of eyes Sweet, sweet is the greeting of eyes,. On Visiting the Tomb of Burns The town, the churchyard, and the setting sun,. Old Meg she was a gipsey Old Meg she was a gipsey,. There was a naughty bay There was a naughty boy,. To Ailsa Rock Hearken, thou craggy ocean pyramid! This mortal body of a thousand days This mortal body of a thousand days.
All gentle folks who owe a grudge All gentle folk who owe a grudge. Of late two dainties were before me plac'd Of late two dainties were before me plac'd. There is a joy in footing slow across a silent plain There is a charm in footing slow across a silent plain,. Not Aladdin magian Not Aladdin magian. Read me a lesson, Muse, and speak it loud Read me a lesson, Muse, and speak it loud.
Upon my life, Sir Nevis,I am piqu'd Mrs. Upon my life Sir Nevis I am pique'd. Fragment of a Castle-builder Nature withheld cassandra in the skies,. And what is Love? Where's the Poet? Show him! Fancy Ever let the Fancy roam,. Bards of passion and of mirth Bards of passion and of mirth,. Spirit here that reignest Spirit here that reignest! I had a dove, and the sweet dove died I had a dove and the sweet dove died;. The Eve of St. Agnes St. Agnes' Eve — Ah, bitter chill it was!
Mark Upon a Sabbath-day it fell;. Why did I laugh tonight? No voice will tell Why did I laugh to-night? No voice will tell. When they were come unto the Faery's court When they were come into the Faery's court. Character of C. He is to weet a melancholy carle. Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art Bright star! Hyperion: A Fragment. Book I Deep in the shady sadness of a vale. Happy, happy glowing fire! Sonnet to Sleep O soft embalmer of the still midnight,. Ode to Psyche O Goddess! On Fame Fame, like a wayward girl, will still be coy.
On Fame How fever'd is the man, who cannot look. If by dull rhymes our English must be chain'd If by dull rhymes our English must be chain'd,. Two or three posies Two or three posies. Ode to a Nightingale My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains. Ode on a Grecian Urn Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,. Ode on Melancholy No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist. Ode on Indolence One morn before me were three figures seen,. Shed no tear — O shed no tear Shed no tear — O, shed no tear! Conrad So, I am safe emerged from these broils! Good, if I may guess.
You guess aright. And, sister, slurring o'er. I pr'ythee, Conrad, do not overact. Trust me for once. That you may be assured. I saw my moment. The Hungarians,. So far yourself. But what is this to me. Yes, sister, but it does regard you greatly,. I would enquire somewhat of him:. At one pernicious charge of the enemy,. No, nor great, nor mighty;. Here in lovely New England When summer is come, a sea-turn Flutters a page of remembrance In the volume of long ago.
There at their infinite business Of measuring time forever, Murmuring songs of the sea, The great tides come and go. Over the dikes and the uplands Wander the great cloud shadows, Strange as the passing of sorrow, Beautiful, solemn, and slow. For, spreading her old enchantment Of tender ineffable wonder, Summer is there in the Northland!
How should my heart not know? Of every rig, from rakish brig And gallant barkentine, To little Fundy fishing boats With gunwales painted green. They used to go on trading trips Around the world for me, For though I had to stay on shore My heart was on the sea. They stopped at every port to call From Babylon to Rome, To load with all the lovely things We never had at home;. With elephants and ivory Bought from the King of Tyre, And shells and silk and sandal-wood That sailor men admire;. With figs and dates from Samarcand, And squatty ginger-jars, And scented silver amulets From Indian bazaars;.
With cocoanuts from Zanzibar, And pines from Singapore; And when they had unloaded these They could go back for more. Where are the ships I used to know, That came to port on the Fundy tide Half a century ago, In beauty and stately pride? In they would come past the beacon light, With the sun on gleaming sail and spar, Folding their wings like birds in flight From countries strange and far. Schooner and brig and barkentine, I watched them slow as the sails were furled, And wondered what cities they must have seen On the other side of the world.
Calm and victorious, at rest From the relentless, rough sea-play, The wild duck on the river's breast Was not more sure than they. The creatures of a passing race, The dark spruce forests made them strong, The sea's lore gave them magic grace, The great winds taught them song. And God endowed them each with life— His blessing on the craftsman's skill— To meet the blind unreasoned strife And dare the risk of ill.
Not mere insensate wood and paint Obedient to the helm's command, But often restive as a saint Beneath the Heavenly hand. All the beauty and mystery Of life were there, adventure bold, Youth, and the glamour of the sea And all its sorrows old. And many a time I saw them go Out on the flood at morning brave, As the little tugs had them in tow, And the sunlight danced on the wave. There all day long you could hear the sound Of the caulking iron, the ship's bronze bell, And the clank of the capstan going round As the great tides rose and fell.
The sailors' songs, the Captain's shout, The boatswain's whistle piping shrill, And the roar as the anchor chain runs out,— I often hear them still. I can see them still, the sun on their gear, The shining streak as the hulls careen, And the flag at the peak unfurling,—clear As a picture on a screen.
The fog still hangs on the long tide-rips, The gulls go wavering to and fro, But where are all the beautiful ships I knew so long ago? My heart is a garden of dreams Where you walk when day is done, Fair as the royal flowers, Calm as the lingering sun. Never a drouth comes there, Nor any frost that mars, Only the wind of love Under the early stars,—. The living breath that moves Whispering to and fro, Like the voice of God in the dusk Of the garden long ago.
Within my stone-walled garden I see her standing now, Uplifted in the twilight, With glory on her brow! I love to walk at evening And watch, when winds are low, The new moon in the tree-tops, Because she loved it so! And there entranced I listen, While flowers and winds confer, And all their conversation Is redolent of her. I love the trees that guard it, Upstanding and serene, So noble, so undaunted, Because that was her mien.
I love the brook that bounds it, Because its silver voice Is like her bubbling laughter That made the world rejoice. I love the golden jonquils, Because she used to say, If soul could choose a color It would be clothed as they. I love the blue-gray iris, Because her eyes were blue, Sea-deep and heaven-tender In meaning and in hue. I love the small wild roses, Because she used to stand Adoringly above them And bless them with her hand. These were her boon companions.
But more than all the rest I love the April lilac, Because she loved it best. Soul of undying rapture! How love's enchantment clings, With sorcery and fragrance, About familiar things! Against the sunset's burning gold, Etched in dark monotone Behind its alley of grey trees And gateposts of grey stone, Stands the Old Manse, about whose eaves An air of mystery clings, Abandoned to the lonely peace Of bygone ghostly things.
In molten gold the river winds With languid sweep and turn, Beside the red-gold wooded hill Yellowed with ash and fern. The streets are tiled with gold-green shade And arched with fretted gold, Ecstatic aisles that richly thread This minster grim and old. The air is flecked with filtered gold,— The shimmer of romance Whose ageless glamour still must hold The world as in a trance, Pouring o'er every time and place Light of an amber sea, The spell of all the gladsome things That have been or shall be.
When April came with sunshine And showers and lilac bloom, My heart with sudden gladness Was like a fragrant room. Her eyes were heaven's own azure, As deep as God's own truth. Her soul was made of rapture And mystery and youth. She knew the sorry burden Of all the ancient years, Yet could not dwell with sadness And memory and tears.
With her there was no shadow Of failure nor despair, But only loving joyance. O Heart, how glad we were! When the dawn winds whisper To the standing corn, And the rose of morning From the dark is born, All my shadowy garden Seems to grow aware Of a fragrant presence, Half expected there. In the golden shimmer Of the burning noon, When the birds are silent And the poppies swoon, Once more I behold her Smile and turn her face, With its infinite regard, Its immortal grace.
When the twilight silvers Every nodding flower, And the new moon hallows The first evening hour, Is it not her footfall Down the garden walks, Where the drowsy blossoms Slumber on their stalks? In the starry quiet, When the soul is free, And a vernal message Stirs the lilac tree, Surely I have felt her Pass and brush my cheek, With the eloquence of love That does not need to speak!
In the day of battle, In the night of dread, Let one hymn be lifted, Let one prayer be said. Not for pride of conquest, Not for vengeance wrought, Nor for peace and safety With dishonour bought! Praise for faith in freedom, Our fighting fathers' stay, Born of dreams and daring, Bred above dismay. Prayer for cloudless vision, And the valiant hand, That the right may triumph To the last demand.
In the Garden of Eden, planted by God, There were goodly trees in the springing sod,—. Trees of beauty and height and grace, To stand in splendor before His face. Trees for the birds to build and sing, And the lilac tree for a joy in spring;. Trees to turn at the frosty call And carpet the ground for their Lord's footfall;. Trees for fruitage and fire and shade, Trees for the cunning builder's trade;.
Wood for the bow, the spear, and the flail, The keel and the mast of the daring sail;. He made them of every grain and girth For the use of man in the Garden of Earth. Then lest the soul should not lift her eyes From the gift to the Giver of Paradise,. On the crown of a hill, for all to see, God planted a scarlet maple tree.
Who called us forth out of darkness and gave us the gift of life, Who set our hands to the toiling, our feet in the field of strife? Darkly they mused, predestined to knowledge of viewless things, Sowing the seed of wisdom, guarding the living springs. Little they reckoned privation, hunger or hardship or cold, If only the life might prosper, and the joy that grows not old. With sorceries subtler than music, with knowledge older than speech, Gentle as wind in the wheat-field, strong as the tide on the beach,.
Out of their beauty and longing, out of their raptures and tears, In patience and pride they bore us, to war with the warring years. Who looked on the world before them, and summoned and chose our sires, Subduing the wayward impulse to the will of their deep desires? Sovereigns of ultimate issues under the greater laws, Theirs was the mystic mission of the eternal cause;. Confident, tender, courageous, leaving the low for the higher, Lifting the feet of the nations out of the dust and the mire; Luring civilization on to the fair and new, Given God's bidding to follow, having God's business to do.
Who strengthened our souls with courage, and taught us the ways of Earth? Who gave us our patterns of beauty, our standards of flawless worth? Mothers, unmilitant, lovely, moulding our manhood then, Walked in their woman's glory, swaying the might of men. They schooled us to service and honor, modest and clean and fair,— The code of their worth of living, taught with the sanction of prayer.
They were our sharers of sorrow, they were our makers of joy, Lighting the lamp of manhood in the heart of the lonely boy. Haloed with love and with wonder, in sheltered ways they trod, Seers of sublime divination, keeping the truce of God. Who called us from youth and dreaming, and set ambition alight, And made us fit for the contest,—men, by their tender rite?
Sweethearts above our merit, charming our strength and skill To be the pride of their loving, to be the means of their will. If we be the builders of beauty, if we be the masters of art, Theirs were the gleaming ideals, theirs the uplift of the heart. Truly they measure the lightness of trappings and ease and fame, For the teeming desire of their yearning is ever and ever the same:. To crown their lovers with gladness, to clothe their sons with delight, And see the men of their making lords in the best man's right.
Lavish of joy and labor, broken only by wrong, These are the guardians of being, spirited, sentient and strong. Theirs is the starry vision, theirs the inspiriting hope, Since Night, the brooding enchantress, promised that day should ope. Lo, we have built and invented, reasoned, discovered and planned, To rear us a palace of splendor, and make us a heaven by hand. We are shaken with dark misgiving, as kingdoms rise and fall; But the women who went to found them are never counted at all. Versed in the soul's traditions, skilled in humanity's lore, They wait for their crown of rapture, and weep for the sins of war.
And behold they turn from our triumphs, as it was in the first of days, For a little heaven of ardor and a little heartening of praise. These are the rulers of kingdoms beyond the domains of state, Martyrs of all men's folly, over-rulers of fate. These we will love and honor, these we will serve and defend, Fulfilling the pride of nature, till nature shall have an end. This is the code unwritten, this is the creed we hold, Guarding the little and lonely, gladdening the helpless and old,—. Apart from the brunt of the battle our wondrous women shall bide, For the sake of a tranquil wisdom and the need of a spirit's guide.
Come they into assembly, or keep they another door, Our makers of life shall lighten the days as the years of yore. The lure of their laughter shall lead us, the lilt of their words shall sway. Though life and death should defeat us, their solace shall be our stay. Veiled in mysterious beauty, vested in magical grace, They have walked with angels at twilight and looked upon glory's face.
Life we will give for their safety, care for their fruitful ease, Though we break at the toiling benches or go down in the smoky seas. This is the gospel appointed to govern a world of men. Till love has died, and the echoes have whispered the last Amen. Once I walked the world enchanted Through the scented woods of spring, Hand in hand with Love, in rapture Just to hear a bluebird sing.
Now the lonely winds of autumn Moan about my gusty eaves, As I sit beside the fire Listening to the flying leaves. As the dying embers settle And the twilight falls apace, Through the gloom I see a vision Full of ardor, full of grace. When the Architect of Beauty Breathed the lyric soul in man, Lo, the being that he fashioned Was of such a mould and plan!
Bravely through the deepening shadows Moves that figure half divine, With its tenderness of bearing, With its dignity of line. Eyes more wonderful than evening With the new moon on the hill, Mouth with traces of God's humor In its corners lurking still. Ah, she smiles, in recollection; Lays a hand upon my brow; Rests this head upon Love's bosom!
Surely it is April now! Not in the ancient abbey, Nor in the city ground, Not in the lonely mountains, Nor in the blue profound, Lay him to rest when his time is come And the smiling mortal lips are dumb;. But here in the decent quiet Under the whispering pines, Where the dogwood breaks in blossom And the peaceful sunlight shines, Where wild birds sing and ferns unfold, When spring comes back in her green and gold.
And when that mortal likeness Has been dissolved by fire, Say not above the ashes, "Here ends a man's desire. Then dreamful-hearted lovers Shall hear in wind and rain The cadence of his music, The rhythm of his refrain, For he was a blade of the April sod That bowed and blew with the whisper of God.
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To walk the world and know the fine Large consciousness of things divine. With eager step and flowerlike face, With lovely ardor, poise, and grace,. On what delightful errands bent, Passionate, generous, and intent,—. An angel still, though veiled and gloved, Made to love us and to be loved.
Where slim white birches wave and gleam Beside a shadowy woodland stream,. The marching years go by And brush your garment's hem. The bandits by and by Will bid you go with them. Trust not that caravan! Old vagabonds are they; They'll rob you if they can, And make believe it's play. Make the old robbers give Of all the spoils they bear,— Their truth, to help you live,— Their joy, to keep you fair.
Ask not for gauds nor gold, Nor fame that falsely rings; The foolish world grows old Caring for all these things. Make all your sweet demands For happiness alone, And the years will fill your hands With treasures rarely known. I said to Life, "How comes it, With all this wealth in store, Of beauty, joy, and knowledge, Thy cry is still for more? Must man go bowed forever In bondage to thy greed? With tears of pride and passion She answered, "God above! I only wait the asking, To spend it all for love!
I am homesick for the mountains— My heroic mother hills— And the longing that is on me No solace ever stills. I would climb to brooding summits With their old untarnished dreams, Cool my heart in forest shadows To the lull of falling streams;. Hear the innocence of aspens That babble in the breeze, And the fragrant sudden showers That patter on the trees. I am lonely for my thrushes In their hermitage withdrawn, Toning the quiet transports Of twilight and of dawn.
I need the pure, strong mornings, When the soul of day is still, With the touch of frost that kindles The scarlet on the hill;. Lone trails and winding woodroads To outlooks wild and high, And the pale moon waiting sundown Where ledges cut the sky. I dream of upland clearings Where cones of sumac burn, And gaunt and gray-mossed boulders Lie deep in beds of fern;. The gray and mottled beeches, The birches' satin sheen, The majesty of hemlocks Crowning the blue ravine. My eyes dim for the skyline Where purple peaks aspire, And the forges of the sunset Flare up in golden fire.
There crests look down unheeding And see the great winds blow, Tossing the huddled tree-tops In gorges far below;. Where cloud-mists from the warm earth Roll up about their knees, And hang their filmy tatters Like prayers upon the trees. I cry for night-blue shadows On plain and hill and dome,— The spell of old enchantments, The sorcery of home. I know a vale where I would go one day, When June comes back and all the world once more Is glad with summer. Deep in shade it lies A mighty cleft between the bosoming hills, A cool dim gateway to the mountains' heart.
Footprints on the Roof: Poems about the Earth
On either side the wooded slopes come down, Hemlock and beech and chestnut. Here and there Through the deep forest laurel spreads and gleams, Pink-white as Daphne in her loveliness. Among the sunlit shadows I can see That still perfection from the world withdrawn, As if the wood-gods had arrested there Immortal beauty in her breathless flight. The road winds in from the broad river-lands, Luring the happy traveller turn by turn Up to the lofty mountains of the sky. And as he marches with uplifted face, Far overhead against the arching blue Gray ledges overhang from dizzy heights, Scarred by a thousand winters and untamed.
The Siblings’ Watch - Words Without Borders
And where the road runs in the valley's foot, Through the dark woods a mountain stream comes down, Singing and dancing all its youth away Among the boulders and the shallow runs, Where sunbeams pierce and mossy tree trunks hang Drenched all day long with murmuring sound and spray. There light of heart and footfree, I would go Up to my home among the lasting hills.
Nearing the day's end, I would leave the road, Turn to the left and take the steeper trail That climbs among the hemlocks, and at last In my own cabin doorway sit me down, Companioned in that leafy solitude By the wood ghosts of twilight and of peace, While evening passes to absolve the day And leave the tranquil mountains to the stars. And in that sweet seclusion I should hear, Among the cool-leafed beeches in the dusk, The calm-voiced thrushes at their twilight hymn. So undistraught, so rapturous, so pure, They well might be, in wisdom and in joy, The seraphs singing at the birth of time The unworn ritual of eternal things.
How quiet is the morning in the hills! Hemlock and aspen, chestnut, beech, and fir Go tiering down from storm-worn crest and ledge, While in the hollows of the dark ravine See the red road emerge, then disappear Towards the wide plain and fertile valley lands. My forest cabin half-way up the glen Is solitary, save for one wise thrush, The sound of falling water, and the wind Mysteriously conversing with the leaves. Here I abide unvisited by doubt, Dreaming of far-off turmoil and despair, The race of men and love and fleeting time, What life may be, or beauty, caught and held For a brief moment at eternal poise.
What impulse now shall quicken and make live This outward semblance and this inward self? One breath of being fills the bubble world, Colored and frail, with fleeting change on change. Surely some God contrived so fair a thing In a vast leisure of uncounted days, And touched it with the breath of living joy, Wondrous and fair and wise! It must be so. At evening and at morning By an enchanted way I walk the world in wonder, And have no word to say. It is the path we traversed One twilight, thou and I; Thy beauty all a rapture, My spirit all a cry. The red leaves fall upon it, The moon and mist and rain, But not the magic footfall That made its meaning plain.
There is a world of being We range from pole to pole, Through seasons of the spirit And weather of the soul. It has its new-born Aprils, With gladness in the air, Its golden Junes of rapture, Its winters of despair. And in its tranquil autumns We halt to re-enforce Our tattered scarlet pennons With valor and resource.
From undiscovered regions Only the angels know, Great winds of aspiration Perpetually blow,. To free the sap of impulse From torpor of distrust, And into flowers of joyance Quicken the sentient dust. From nowhere of a sudden Loom sudden clouds of fault, With thunders of oppression And lightnings of revolt. With hush of apprehension And quaking of the heart, There breed the storms of anger, And floods of sorrow start.
And there shall fall,—how gently! Till snows of mercy cover The dream that shall come true, When time makes all things wondrous, And life makes all things new. Where is Heaven? Is it not Just a friendly garden plot, Walled with stone and roofed with sun, Where the days pass one by one, Not too fast and not too slow, Looking backward as they go At the beauties left behind To transport the pensive mind! Is it not a greening ground With a river for its bound, And a wood-thrush to prolong Fragrant twilights with his song, When the peonies in June Wait the rising of the moon, And the music of the stream Voices its immortal dream!
There each morning will renew The miracle of light and dew, And the soul may joy to praise The Lord of roses and of days; There the caravan of noon Halts to hear the cricket's tune, Fifing there for all who pass The anthem of the summer grass! Does not Heaven begin that day When the eager heart can say, Surely God is in this place, I have seen Him face to face In the loveliness of flowers, In the service of the showers, And His voice has talked to me In the sunlit apple tree.
I can feel Him in my heart, When the tears of knowledge start For another's joy or woe, Where the lonely soul must go. Yea, I learned His very look, When we walked beside the brook, And you smiled and touched my hand. God is love I understand. There is no grief for me Nor sadness any more; For since I first knew thee Great Joy has kept my door. That angel of the calm All-comprehending smile, No menace can dismay, No falsity beguile.
Out of the house of life Before him fled away Languor, regret, and strife And sorrow on that day. Grim fear, unmanly doubt, And impotent despair Went at his bidding forth Among the things that were,—. Leaving a place all clean, Resounding of the sea And decked with forest green, To be a home for thee. Here we came when love was young. Now that love is old, Shall we leave the floor unswept And the hearth acold? Here the hill-wind in the dusk.
Wandering to and fro, Moves the moonflowers, like a ghost Of the long ago. Here from every doorway looks A remembered face, Every sill and panel wears A familiar grace. Let the windows smile again To the morning light, And the door stand open wide When the moon is bright. Let the breeze of twilight blow Through the silent hall, And the dreaming rafters hear How the thrushes call.
Oh, be merciful and fond To the house that gave All its best to shelter love, Built when love was brave! Here we came when love was young, Now that love is old, Never let its day be lone, Nor its heart acold! The starry midnight whispers, As I muse before the fire On the ashes of ambition And the embers of desire,. Where thou for love dost lead! Oh, once I could not understand The sob within the throat of spring,— The shrilling of the frogs, nor why The birds so passionately sing. That was before your beauty came And stooped to teach my soul desire, When on these mortal lips you laid The magic and immortal fire.
I wondered why the sea should seem So gray, so lonely, and so old; The sigh of level-driving snows In winter so forlornly cold. I wondered what it was could give The scarlet autumn pomps their pride. And paint with colors not of earth The glory of the mountainside. I could not tell why youth should dream And worship at the evening star, And yet must go with eager feet Where danger and where splendor are.
I could not guess why men at times, Beholding beauty, should go mad With joy or sorrow or despair Or some unknown delight they had. I wondered what they had received From Time's inexorable hand So full of loveliness and doom. But now, ah, now I understand! April now in morning clad Like a gleaming oread, With the south wind in her voice, Comes to bid the world rejoice.
With the sunlight on her brow, Through her veil of silver showers, April o'er New England now Trails her robe of woodland flowers,—. Violet and anemone; While along the misty sea, Pipe at lip, she seems to blow Haunting airs of long ago. What do men give thanks for? I give thanks for one, Lovelier than morning, Dearer than the sun.
Such a head the victors Must have praised and known, With that breast and bearing, Nike's very own—. As superb, untrammeled, Rhythmed and poised and free As the strong pure sea-wind Walking on the sea;. Such a hand as Beauty Uses with full heart, Seeking for her freedom In new shapes of art;. Soft as rain in April, Quiet as the days Of the purple asters And the autumn haze;.
With a soul more subtle Than the light of stars, Frailer than a moth's wing To the touch that mars;. Wise with all the silence Of the waiting hills, When the gracious twilight Wakes in them and thrills;. With a voice more tender Than the early moon Hears among the thrushes In the woods of June;. Delicate as grasses When they lift and stir— One sweet lyric woman— I give thanks for her. We travelled empty-handed With hearts all fear above, For we ate the bread of friendship, We drank the wine of love.
Through many a wondrous autumn, Through many a magic spring, We hailed the scarlet banners, We heard the blue-bird sing. We looked on life and nature With the eager eyes of youth, And all we asked or cared for Was beauty, joy, and truth. We found no other wisdom, We learned no other way, Than the gladness of the morning, The glory of the day.
So all our earthly treasure Shall go with us, my dears, Aboard the Shadow Liner, Across the sea of years. Over the hills of April With soft winds hand in hand, Impassionate and dreamy-eyed, Spring leads her saraband. Her garments float and gather And swirl along the plain, Her headgear is the golden sun, Her cloak the silver rain. With color and with music, With perfumes and with pomp, By meadowland and upland, Through pasture, wood, and swamp, With promise and enchantment Leading her mystic mime, She comes to lure the world anew With joy as old as time.
Quick lifts the marshy chorus To transport, trill on trill; There's not a rod of stony ground Unanswering on the hill. The brooks and little rivers Dance down their wild ravines, And children in the city squares Keep time, to tambourines. The bluebird in the orchard Is lyrical for her, The blackbird with his meadow pipe Sets all the wood astir, The hooded white spring-beauties Are curtsying in the breeze, The blue hepaticas are out Under the chestnut trees.
The maple buds make glamor, Viburnum waves its bloom, The daffodils and tulips Are risen from the tomb. The lances of Narcissus Have pierced the wintry mold; The commonplace seems paradise Through veils of greening gold. O heart, hear thou the summons, Put every grief away, When all the motley masques of earth Are glad upon a day. Alack, that any mortal Should less than gladness bring Into the choral joy that sounds The saraband of spring!
Soul, art thou sad again With the old sadness? Thou shalt be glad again With a new gladness, When April sun and rain Mount to the teeming brain With the earth madness. When from the mould again, Spurning disaster, Spring shoots unfold again, Follow thou faster Out of the drear domain Of dark, defeat, and pain, Praising the Master.
Hope for thy guide again, Ample and splendid; Love at thy side again, All doubting ended; Ah, by the dragon slain, For nothing small or vain Michael contended! Thou shalt take heart again, No more despairing; Play thy great part again, Loving and caring. Hark, how the gold refrain Runs through the iron strain, Splendidly daring! Thou shalt grow strong again, Confident, tender,— Battle with wrong again, Be truth's defender,— Of the immortal train, Born to attempt, attain, Never surrender!
Now the lengthening twilights hold Tints of lavender and gold, And the marshy places ring With the pipers of the spring. Now the solitary star Lays a path on meadow streams, And I know it is not far To the open door of dreams. Lord of April, in my hour May the dogwood be in flower, And my angel through the dome Of spring twilight lead me home.
Over the wintry threshold Who comes with joy to-day, So frail, yet so enduring, To triumph o'er dismay? Ah, quick her tears are springing, And quickly they are dried, For sorrow walks before her, But gladness walks beside. She comes with gusts of laughter,— The music as of rills; With tenderness and sweetness,— The wisdom of the hills. Her hands are strong to comfort, Her heart is quick to heed.
She knows the signs of sadness, She knows the voice of need. There is no living creature, However poor or small, But she will know its trouble, And hasten to its call. Oh, well they fare forever, By mighty dreams possessed, Whose hearts have lain a moment On that eternal breast. Once more in misted April The world is growing green. Along the winding river The plumey willows lean. Beyond the sweeping meadows The looming mountains rise, Like battlements of dreamland Against the brooding skies.
In every wooded valley The buds are breaking through, As though the heart of all things No languor ever knew. The golden-wings and bluebirds Call to their heavenly choirs. The pines are blued and drifted With smoke of brushwood fires. And in my sister's garden Where little breezes run, The golden daffodillies Are blowing in the sun. I heard the spring wind whisper Above the brushwood fire, "The world is made forever Of transport and desire.
I am the breath of being, The primal urge of things; I am the whirl of star dust, I am the lift of wings. I heard the spring light whisper Above the dancing stream, "The world is made forever In likeness of a dream. I heard the spring rain murmur Above the roadside flower, "The world is made forever In melody and power. I lift the lost perfection To blossom from the dust.
Then Earth to them made answer, As with a slow refrain Born of the blended voices Of wind and sun and rain,. Lo, now comes the April pageant And the Easter of the year. Now the tulip lifts her chalice, And the hyacinth his spear; All the daffodils and jonquils With their hearts of gold are here. Child of the immortal vision, What hast thou to do with fear? When the summons wakes the impulse, And the blood beats in the vein, Let no grief thy dream encumber, No regret thy thought detain. Through the scented bloom-hung valleys, Over tillage, wood and plain, Comes the soothing south wind laden With the sweet impartial rain.
All along the roofs and pavements Pass the volleying silver showers, To unfold the hearts of humans And the frail unanxious flowers. Breeding fast in sunlit places, Teeming life puts forth her powers, And the migrant wings come northward On the trail of golden hours. Over intervale and upland Sounds the robin's interlude From his tree-top spire at evening Where no unbeliefs intrude. Every follower of beauty Finds in the spring solitude Sanctuary and persuasion Where the mysteries still brood.
Now the bluebird in the orchard, A warm sighing at the door, And the soft haze on the hillside, Lure the houseling to explore The perennial enchanted Lovely world and all its lore; While the early tender twilight Breathes of those who come no more. By full brimming river margins Where the scents of brush fires blow, Through the faint green mist of springtime, Dreaming glad-eyed lovers go, Touched with such immortal madness Not a thing they care to know More than those who caught life's secret Countless centuries ago. In old Egypt for Osiris, Putting on the green attire, With soft hymns and choric dancing They went forth to greet the fire Of the vernal sun, whose ardor His earth children could inspire; And the ivory flutes would lead them To the slake of their desire.
In remembrance of Adonis Did the Dorian maidens sing Linus songs of joy and sorrow For the coming back of spring,— Sorrow for the wintry death Of each irrevocable thing, Joy for all the pangs of beauty The returning year could bring. Now the priests and holy women With sweet incense, chant and prayer, Keep His death and resurrection Whose new love bade all men share Immortality of kindness, Living to make life more fair.
Wakened to such wealth of being, Who would not arise and dare? Seeing how each new fulfilment Issues at the call of need From infinitudes of purpose In the core of soul and seed, Who shall set the bounds of puissance Or the formulas of creed? Truth awaits the test of beauty, Good is proven in the deed. Therefore, give thy spring renascence,— Freshened ardor, dreams and mirth,— To make perfect and replenish All the sorry fault and dearth Of the life from whose enrichment Thine aspiring will had birth; Take thy part in the redemption Of thy kind from bonds of earth.
So shalt thou, absorbed in beauty, Even in this mortal clime Share the life that is eternal, Brother to the lords of time,— Virgil, Raphael, Gautama,— Builders of the world sublime. Yesterday was not earth's evening Every morning is our prime. All that can be worth the rescue From oblivion and decay,— Joy and loveliness and wisdom,— In thyself, without dismay Thou shalt save and make enduring Through each word and act, to sway The hereafter to a likeness Of thyself in other clay.
Still remains the peradventure, Soul pursues an orbit here Like those unreturning comets, Sweeping on a vast career, By an infinite directrix, Focussed to a finite sphere,— Nurtured in an earthly April, In what realm to reappear? If I should tell you I saw Pan lately down by the shallows of Silvermine, Blowing an air on his pipe of willow, just as the moon began to shine; Or say that, coming from town on Wednesday, I met Christ walking in Ponus Street; You might remark, "Our friend is flighty! Visions, for want of enough red meat! Then let me ask you.
Last December, when there was skating on Wampanaw, Among the weeds and sticks and grasses under the hard black ice I saw An old mud-turtle poking about, as if he were putting his house to rights, Stiff with the cold perhaps, yet knowing enough to prepare for the winter nights. And here he is on a log this morning, sunning himself as calm as you please. But I want to know, when the lock of winter was sprung of a sudden, who kept the keys?
Marilyn Singer (1948-)
Who told old nibbler to go to sleep safe and sound with the lily roots, And then in the first warm days of April—out to the sun with the greening shoots? By night a flock of geese went over, honking north on the trails of air, The spring express—but who despatched it, equipped with speed and cunning care? Hark to our bluebird down in the orchard trolling his chant of the happy heart, As full of light as a theme of Mozart's—but where did he learn that more than art? Where the river winds through grassy meadows, as sure as the south wind brings the rain, Sounding his reedy note in the alders, the redwing comes back to his nest again.
Are these not miracles? Prompt you answer: "Merely the prose of natural fact; Nothing but instinct plain and patent, born in the creatures, that bids them act. Well, I have an instinct as fine and valid, surely, as that of the beasts and birds, Concerning death and the life immortal, too deep for logic, too vague for words. No trace of beauty can pass or perish, but other beauty is somewhere born; No seed of truth or good be planted, but the yield must grow as the growing corn.
Therefore this ardent mind and spirit I give to the glowing days of earth. To be wrought by the Lord of life to something of lasting import and lovely worth. If the toil I give be without self-seeking, bestowed to the limit of will and power, To fashion after some form ideal the instant task and the waiting hour,. It matters not though defeat undo me, though faults betray me and sorrows scar, Already I share the life eternal with the April buds and the evening star.
The slim new moon is my sister now; the rain, my brother; the wind, my friend. Is it not well with these forever? Can the soul of man fare ill in the end? Now is the time of year When all the flutes begin,— The redwing bold and clear, The rainbird far and thin. In all the waking lands There's not a wilding thing But knows and understands The burden of the spring.
Now every voice alive By rocky wood and stream Is lifted to revive The ecstasy, the dream. For Nature, never old, But busy as of yore, From sun and rain and mould Is making spring once more. She sounds her magic note By river-marge and hill, And every woodland throat Re-echoes with a thrill. O mother of our days, Hearing thy music call. Teach us to know thy ways And fear no more at all!
First of the moving vanguard, In front of the spring you come, Where flooded waters sparkle And streams in the twilight hum. You sound the note of the chorus By meadow and woodland pond, Till, one after one up-piping, A myriad throats respond. I see you, Brother, I see you, With scarlet under your wing, Flash through the ruddy maples, Leading the pageant of spring. Earth has put off her raiment Wintry and worn and old, For the robe of a fair young sibyl. Dancing in green and gold. I heed you, Brother. To-morrow I, too, in the great employ, Will shed my old coat of sorrow For a brand-new garment of joy.
I hear a rainbird singing Far off. How fine and clear His plaintive voice comes ringing With rapture to the ear!
- Poetry Reviews: Footprints on the Roof: Poems About the Earth.
- Footprints on the Roof: Poems About the Earth.
- No. 6 in G Minor, Op. 15, No. 3;
- CIRCLES OF THE MOON & Other Poems – MJM LaBare | NarrativeNortheast | A Literary & Arts Magazine?
- Digital Integrated Circuits (2nd Edition).
Over the misty wood-lots, Across the first spring heat, Comes the enchanted cadence, So clear, so solemn-sweet. How often I have hearkened To that high pealing strain Across wild cedar barrens, Under the soft gray rain! How often I have wondered, And longed in vain to know The source of that enchantment, That touch of human woe! O brother, who first taught thee To haunt the teeming spring With that sad mortal wisdom Which only age can bring? When you hear the white-throat pealing From a tree-top far away, And the hills are touched with purple At the borders of the day;.
When the redwing sounds his whistle At the coming on of spring, And the joyous April pipers Make the alder marshes ring;. When the wild new breath of being Whispers to the world once more, And before the shrine of beauty Every spirit must adore;. When long thoughts come back with twilight, And a tender deepened mood Shows the eyes of the beloved Like the hepaticas in the wood;. Ah, remember, when to nothing Save to love your heart gives heed, And spring takes you to her bosom,— So it was with Golden Weed! I know a shining meadow stream That winds beneath an Eastern hill, And all year long in sun or gloom Its murmuring voice is never still.
The summer dies more gently there, The April flowers are earlier,— The first warm rain-wind from the Sound Sets all their eager hearts astir. And there when lengthening twilights fall As softly as a wild bird's wing, Across the valley in the dusk I hear the silver flute of spring. In the wondrous star-sown night, In the first sweet warmth of spring, I lie awake and listen To hear the glad earth sing. I hear the brook in the wood Murmuring, as it goes, The song of the happy journey Only the wise heart knows.
Footprints on the Roof: Poems About the Earth
I hear the trilling note Of the tree-frog under the hill, And the clear and watery treble Of his brother, silvery shrill. And then I wander away Through the mighty forest of Sleep, To follow the fairy music To the shore of an endless deep. When April winds arrive And the soft rains are here, Some morning by the roadside These Fairy folk appear. We never see their coming, However sharp our eyes; Each year as if by magic They take us by surprise. Along the ragged woodside And by the green spring-run, Their small white heads are nodding And twinkling in the sun.
They crowd across the meadow In innocence and mirth, As if there were no sorrow In all this wondrous earth. So frail, so unregarded, And yet about them clings A sorcery of welcome,— The joy of common things. Perhaps their trail of beauty Across the pasture sod In jubilant procession Is where an angel trod. What matter if the sun be lost? What matter though the sky be gray? There's joy enough about the house, For Daffodil comes home to-day. There's news of swallows on the air, There's word of April on the way, They're calling flowers within the street, And Daffodil comes home to-day.
O who would care what fate may bring, Or what the years may take away! There's life enough within the hour, For Daffodil comes home to-day. Now the lilac tree's in bud, And the morning birds are loud. Now a stirring in the blood Moves the heart of every crowd. Word has gone abroad somewhere Of a great impending change. There's a message in the air Of an import glad and strange. Not an idler in the street, But is better off to-day. Not a traveller you meet, But has something wise to say. Now there's not a road too long, Not a day that is not good, Not a mile but hears a song Lifted from the misty wood.
Down along the Silvermine That's the blackbird's cheerful note! You can see him flash and shine With the scarlet on his coat. Now the winds are soft with rain, And the twilight has a spell, Who from gladness could refrain Or with olden sorrows dwell? White Iris was a princess In a kingdom long ago, Mysterious as moonlight And silent as the snow. She drew the world in wonder And swayed it with desire, Ere Babylon was builded Or a stone laid in Tyre. Yet here within my garden Her loveliness appears, Undimmed by any sorrow Of all the tragic years. How kind that earth should treasure So beautiful a thing— All mystical enchantment, To stir our hearts in spring!
Young foreign-born Ailanthus, Because he grew so fast, We scorned his easy daring And doubted it would last. But lo, when autumn gathers And all the woods are old, He stands in green and salmon, A glory to behold! Among the ancient monarchs His airy tent is spread. His robe of coronation Is tasseled rosy red. With something strange and Eastern, His height and grace proclaim His lineage and title Is that celestial name. This is the Tree of Heaven, Which seems to say to us, "Behold how rife is beauty, And how victorious! There stands his learned dictum Which any boy may read, But he who learns the secret Will be made wise indeed.
Astrologer and doctor In the science of his day, Have we so far outstripped him? What more is there to say? She hath a deep-hid virtue No other flower hath. When summer comes rejoicing A-down my garden path, In opulence of color, In robe of satin sheen, She casts o'er all the hours Her sorcery serene. A subtile, heartening fragrance Comes piercing the warm hush, And from the greening woodland I hear the first wild thrush.
They move my heart to pity For all the vanished years, With ecstasy of longing And tenderness of tears. What matter,—Grandiflora, A queen in some proud book, Or sweet familiar Piny With her old-fashioned look? The crowding Apple blossoms Above the orchard wall; The Moonflower in August When eerie nights befall; Chrysanthemum in autumn, Whose pageantries appear With mystery and silence To deck the dying year;.
For Peony, my Peony, Hath strength to make me whole,— She gives her heart of beauty For the healing of my soul. Arnoldus Villanova, Though earth is growing old, As long as life has longing Your guess at truth will hold. Still works the hidden power After a thousand springs,— The medicine for heartache That lurks in lovely things. Once more the magic days are come With stronger sun and milder air; The shops are full of daffodils; There's golden leisure everywhere. I heard my Lou this morning shout: "Here comes the hurdy-gurdy man!
I laid my wintry task aside, And took a day to follow joy: The trail of beauty and the call That lured me when I was a boy. I looked, and there looked up at me A smiling, swarthy, hairy man With kindling eye—and well I knew The piping of the urban Pan. He caught my mood; his hat was off; I tossed the ungrudged silver down. The cunning vagrant, every year He casts his spell upon the town!
And we must fling him, old and young, Our dimes or coppers, as we can; And every heart must leap to hear The piping of the urban Pan. The music swells and fades again, And I in dreams am far away, Where a bright river sparkles down To meet a blue Aegean bay. There, in the springtime of the world, Are dancing fauns, and in their van, Is one who pipes a deathless tune— The earth-born and the urban Pan.
And so he follows down the block, A troop of children in his train, The light-foot dancers of the street Enamored of the reedy strain. I hear their laughter rise and ring Above the noise of truck and van, As down the mellow wind fades out The piping of the urban Pan. Now the spring is in the town, Now the wind is in the tree, And the wintered keels go down To the calling of the sea.
Out from mooring, dock, and slip, Through the harbor buoys they glide, Drawing seaward till they dip To the swirling of the tide. One by one and two by two, Down the channel turns they go, Steering for the open blue Where the salty great airs blow;. Craft of many a build and trim, Every stitch of sail unfurled, Till they hang upon the rim Of the azure ocean world. Who has ever, man or boy, Seen the sea all flecked with gold, And not longed to go with joy Forth upon adventures bold? Who could bear to stay indoor, Now the wind is in the street, For the creaking of the oar And the tugging of the sheet!
Now the spring is in the town, Who would not a rover be, When the wintered keels go down To the calling of the sea? Back to the golden marshes Comes summer at full tide, But not the golden comrade Who was the summer's pride. O my dear, the world to-day Is more lovely than a dream! Magic hints from far away Haunt the woodland, and the stream Murmurs in his rocky bed Things that never can be said. Starry dogwood is in flower, Gleaming through the mystic woods. It is beauty's perfect hour In the wild spring solitudes.
Now the orchards in full blow Shed their petals white as snow. All the air is honey-sweet With the lilacs white and red, Where the blossoming branches meet In an arbor overhead. And the laden cherry trees Murmur with the hum of bees. All the earth is fairy green, And the sunlight filmy gold, Full of ecstasies unseen, Full of mysteries untold.