The Second Book of Modern Verse Ed. Jessie B. Rittenhouse
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The Second Book of Modern Verse
A Selection from the work of contemporaneous American poets Edited by Jessie B. Rittenhouse Editor of The Little Book of Modern Verse [Selections made in 1919.]
It was my intention, when preparing 'The Little Book of Modern Verse', published in 1913, to continue the series by a volume once in five years, but as it seemed inadvisable to issue one during the war, it is now six years since the publication of the first volume.
In the meantime, that the series might cover the period of American poetry from the beginning, 'The Little Book of American Poets' was edited, confined chiefly to work of the nineteenth century, but ending with a group of living poets whose work has fallen equally within our own period. This group, including Edwin Markham, Bliss Carman, Edith Thomas, Louise Imogen Guiney, Lizette Woodworth Reese, and many others whose work has enriched both periods, was fully represented also in 'The Little Book of Modern Verse'; and it has seemed necessary, therefore keenly as I regret the necessity, which limits of space impose, to omit the work of all poets who have been represented in both of my former collections.
Indeed the period covered by the present volume has been so prolific that it became necessary, if one would represent it with even approximate adequacy, to forego including many poets from 'The Little Book of Modern Verse' itself, and but twenty-eight are repeated from that collection.
Even with these necessary eliminations in the interest of space for newer poets, the general scheme of the series — that of small, intimate volumes that shall be typical of the period, rather than exhaustive — has made it impossible to include all whose work I should otherwise have been glad to represent.
While I have not hesitated, where a poet's earlier work seemed finer and more characteristic than his later, to draw upon such earlier work, in the main 'The Second Book of Modern Verse' has been selected from poetry published since 1913, the date of my first anthology.
Jessie B. Rittenhouse New York September 23, 1919
Abraham Lincoln walks at Midnight. [Vachel Lindsay] Acceptance. [Willard Wattles] Ad Matrem Amantissimam et Carissimam Filii in Aeternum Fidelitas. [John Myers O'Hara] After Apple-Picking. [Robert Frost] After Sunset. [Grace Hazard Conkling] Afternoon on a Hill. [Edna St. Vincent Millay] Afterwards. [Mahlon Leonard Fisher] Ambition. [Aline Kilmer] The Ancient Beautiful Things. [Fannie Stearns Davis] Apology. [Amy Lowell] April on the Battlefields. [Leonora Speyer] April — North Carolina. [Harriet Monroe] Atropos. [John Myers O'Hara] Autumn. [Jean Starr Untermeyer] Autumn Movement. [Carl Sandburg]
Ballad of a Child. [John G. Neihardt] Behind the House is the Millet Plot. [Muna Lee] Berkshires in April. [Clement Wood] Beyond Rathkelly. [Francis Carlin] Birches. [Robert Frost] The Bitter Herb. [Jeanne Robert Foster] Blind. [Harry Kemp] Blue Squills. [Sara Teasdale] The Breaking. [Margaret Steele Anderson]
Chanson of the Bells of Oseney. [Cale Young Rice] The Chant of the Colorado. [Cale Young Rice] The Child in Me. [May Riley Smith] The Chinese Nightingale. [Vachel Lindsay] Choice. [Angela Morgan] Cinquains. [Adelaide Crapsey] The City. [Charles Hanson Towne] City Roofs. [Charles Hanson Towne] Compensation. [William Ellery Leonard] Convention. [Agnes Lee] Cradle Song. [Josephine Preston Peabody]
The Dark Cavalier. [Margaret Widdemer] The Day before April. [Mary Carolyn Davies] Days. [Karle Wilson Baker] Death — Divination. [Charles Wharton Stork] Dialogue. [Walter Conrad Arensberg] Dilemma. [Orrick Johns] Doors. [Hermann Hagedorn] Dream. [Anna Hempstead Branch] The Dream of Aengus Og. [Eleanor Rogers Cox] Dusk at Sea. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.]
Earth. [John Hall Wheelock] Earth's Easter. [Robert Haven Schauffler] Ellis Park. [Helen Hoyt] The Enchanted Sheepfold. [Josephine Preston Peabody] Envoi. [Josephine Preston Peabody] Evening Song of Senlin. [Conrad Aiken] Exile from God. [John Hall Wheelock] Eye-Witness. [Ridgely Torrence]
The Falconer of God. [William Rose Benet] "Feuerzauber". [Louis Untermeyer] The Fields. [Witter Bynner] Fifty Years Spent. [Maxwell Struthers Burt] The First Food. [George Sterling] Flammonde. [Edwin Arlington Robinson] The Flower of Mending. [Vachel Lindsay] Four Sonnets. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.] Francis Ledwidge. [Grace Hazard Conkling]
General William Booth Enters into Heaven. [Vachel Lindsay] The Gift. [Louis V. Ledoux] A Girl's Songs. [Mary Carolyn Davies] God's Acre. [Witter Bynner] God's World. [Edna St. Vincent Millay] Good-Bye. [Norreys Jephson O'Conor] Good Company. [Karle Wilson Baker] The Great Hunt. [Carl Sandburg]
Harbury. [Louise Driscoll] Have you an Eye. [Edwin Ford Piper] Heat. [H. D.] The Hill Wife. [Robert Frost] Hills of Home. [Witter Bynner] The Homeland. [Dana Burnet] How much of Godhood. [Louis Untermeyer] Hrolf's Thrall, His Song. [Willard Wattles]
"I am in Love with High Far-Seeing Places". [Arthur Davison Ficke] I have a Rendezvous with Death. [Alan Seeger] "I Pass a Lighted Window". [Clement Wood] Idealists. [Alfred Kreymborg] The Idol-Maker prays. [Arthur Guiterman] "If you should tire of loving me". [Margaret Widdemer] In Excelsis. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.] In Patris Mei Memoriam. [John Myers O'Hara] In Spite of War. [Angela Morgan] In the Hospital. [Arthur Guiterman] In the Monastery. [Norreys Jephson O'Conor] In the Mushroom Meadows. [Thomas Walsh] Indian Summer. [William Ellery Leonard] Interlude. [Scudder Middleton] The Interpreter. [Orrick Johns] Invocation. [Clara Shanafelt] Irish Love Song. [Margaret Widdemer]
Jerico. [Willard Wattles]
The Kings are passing Deathward. [David Morton]
A Lady. [Amy Lowell] The Last Piper. [Edward J. O'Brien] Lincoln. [John Gould Fletcher] Little Things. [Orrick Johns] Loam. [Carl Sandburg] Lonely Burial. [Stephen Vincent Benet] The Lonely Death. [Adelaide Crapsey] Love is a Terrible Thing. [Grace Fallow Norton] A Love Song. [Theodosia Garrison] Love Songs. [Sara Teasdale] The Lover envies an Old Man. [Shaemas O Sheel] A Lynmouth Widow. [Amelia Josephine Burr]
Mad Blake. [William Rose Benet] Madonna of the Evening Flowers. [Amy Lowell] Mater Dolorosa. [Louis V. Ledoux] Men of Harlan. [William Aspinwall Bradley] The Monk in the Kitchen. [Anna Hempstead Branch] Morning Song of Senlin. [Conrad Aiken] The Most-Sacred Mountain. [Eunice Tietjens] Moth-Terror. [Benjamin De Casseres] The Mould. [Gladys Cromwell] Music I heard. [Conrad Aiken] Muy Vieja Mexicana. [Alice Corbin]
The Name. [Anna Hempstead Branch] The Narrow Doors. [Fannie Stearns Davis] New Dreams for Old. [Cale Young Rice] The New God. [James Oppenheim] Nirvana. [John Hall Wheelock] A Note from the Pipes. [Leonora Speyer] A Nun. [Odell Shepard]
Of One Self-Slain. [Charles Hanson Towne] Old Age. [Cale Young Rice] Old Amaze. [Mahlon Leonard Fisher] Old King Cole. [Edwin Arlington Robinson] Old Manuscript. [Alfred Kreymborg] Old Ships. [David Morton] Omnium Exeunt in Mysterium. [George Sterling] Open Windows. [Sara Teasdale] Orchard. [H. D.] Our Little House. [Thomas Walsh] Overnight, a Rose. [Caroline Giltinan] Overtones. [William Alexander Percy]
Path Flower. [Olive Tilford Dargan] The Path that leads to Nowhere. [Corinne Roosevelt Robinson] Patterns. [Amy Lowell] Peace. [Agnes Lee] Pierrette in Memory. [William Griffith] Poets. [Joyce Kilmer] Prayer during Battle. [Hermann Hagedorn] Prayer of a Soldier in France. [Joyce Kilmer] Prevision. [Aline Kilmer] The Provinces. [Francis Carlin]
Reveille. [Louis Untermeyer] Richard Cory. [Edwin Arlington Robinson] The Road not taken. [Robert Frost] Romance. [Scudder Middleton] Rouge Bouquet. [Joyce Kilmer] The Runner in the Skies. [James Oppenheim]
A Saint's Hours. [Sarah N. Cleghorn] Silence. [Edgar Lee Masters] The Silent Folk. [Charles Wharton Stork] Slumber Song. [Louis V. Ledoux] Smith, of the Third Oregon, dies. [Mary Carolyn Davies] The Son. [Ridgely Torrence] Song. [Margaret Steele Anderson] Song. [Adelaide Crapsey] Song. [Edward J. O'Brien] Song. [Margaret Widdemer] A Song of Two Wanderers. [Marguerite Wilkinson] Songs of an Empty House. [Marguerite Wilkinson] Spoon River Anthology. [Edgar Lee Masters] Spring. [John Gould Fletcher] Spring in Carmel. [George Sterling] Spring Song. [William Griffith] Students. [Florence Wilkinson] Symbol. [David Morton]
Tampico. [Grace Hazard Conkling] "There will come Soft Rain". [Sara Teasdale] The Three Sisters. [Arthur Davison Ficke] A Thrush in the Moonlight. [Witter Bynner] To a Portrait of Whistler in the Brooklyn Art Museum. [Eleanor Rogers Cox] To Any one. [Witter Bynner] Trees. [Joyce Kilmer]
The Unknown Beloved. [John Hall Wheelock]
Valley Song. [Carl Sandburg] Venus Transiens. [Amy Lowell] Voyage a l'Infini. [Walter Conrad Arensberg]
The Wanderer. [Zoe Akins] The Water Ouzel. [Harriet Monroe] When the Year grows Old. [Edna St. Vincent Millay] Where Love is. [Amelia Josephine Burr] Where Love once was. [James Oppenheim] Which. [Corinne Roosevelt Robinson] The White Comrade. [Robert Haven Schauffler] Wide Haven. [Clement Wood] "A Wind Rose in the Night". [Aline Kilmer]
Yellow Warblers. [Katharine Lee Bates] You. [Ruth Guthrie Harding]
The Second Book of Modern Verse
The Road not taken. [Robert Frost]
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
Symbol. [David Morton]
My faith is all a doubtful thing, Wove on a doubtful loom, — Until there comes, each showery spring, A cherry-tree in bloom; And Christ who died upon a tree That death had stricken bare, Comes beautifully back to me, In blossoms, everywhere.
Spring. [John Gould Fletcher]
At the first hour, it was as if one said, "Arise." At the second hour, it was as if one said, "Go forth." And the winter constellations that are like patient ox-eyes Sank below the white horizon at the north.
At the third hour, it was as if one said, "I thirst"; At the fourth hour, all the earth was still: Then the clouds suddenly swung over, stooped, and burst; And the rain flooded valley, plain and hill.
At the fifth hour, darkness took the throne; At the sixth hour, the earth shook and the wind cried; At the seventh hour, the hidden seed was sown; At the eighth hour, it gave up the ghost and died.
At the ninth hour, they sealed up the tomb; And the earth was then silent for the space of three hours. But at the twelfth hour, a single lily from the gloom Shot forth, and was followed by a whole host of flowers.
"There will come Soft Rain". [Sara Teasdale]
There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night, And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire.
And not one will know of the war, not one Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, If mankind perished utterly.
And Spring herself when she woke at dawn, Would scarcely know that we were gone.
Spring Song. [William Griffith]
Softly at dawn a whisper stole Down from the Green House on the Hill, Enchanting many a ghostly bole And wood-song with the ancient thrill.
Gossiping on the country-side, Spring and the wandering breezes say, God has thrown Heaven open wide And let the thrushes out to-day.
The Day before April. [Mary Carolyn Davies]
The day before April Alone, alone, I walked in the woods And I sat on a stone.
I sat on a broad stone And sang to the birds. The tune was God's making But I made the words.
Berkshires in April. [Clement Wood]
It is not Spring — not yet — But at East Schaghticoke I saw an ivory birch Lifting a filmy red mantle of knotted buds Above the rain-washed whiteness of her arms.
It is not Spring — not yet — But at Hoosick Falls I saw a robin strutting, Thin, still, and fidgety, Not like the puffed, complacent ball of feathers That dawdles over the cidery Autumn loam.
It is not Spring — not yet — But up the stocky Pownal hills Some springy shrub, a scarlet gash on the grayness, Climbs, flaming, over the melting snows.
It is not Spring — not yet — But at Williamstown the willows are young and golden, Their tall tips flinging the sun's rays back at him; And as the sun drags over the Berkshire crests, The willows glow, the scarlet bushes burn, The high hill birches shine like purple plumes, A royal headdress for the brow of Spring. It is the doubtful, unquiet end of Winter, And Spring is pulsing out of the wakening soil.
In Excelsis. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.]
Spring! And all our valleys turning into green, Remembering — As I remember! So my heart turns glad For so much youth and joy — this to have had When in my veins the tide of living fire Was at its flow; This to know, When now the miracle of young desire Burns on the hills, and Spring's sweet choristers again Chant from each tree and every bush aflame Love's wondrous name; This under youth's glad reign, With all the valleys turning into green — This to have heard and seen!
And Song! Once to have known what every wakened bird Has heard; Once to have entered into that great harmony Of love's creation, and to feel The pulsing waves of wonder steal Through all my being; once to be In that same sea Of wakened joy that stirs in every tree And every bird; and then to sing — To sing aloud the endless Song of Spring!
Waiting, I turn to Thee, Expectant, humble, and on bended knee; Youth's radiant fire Only to burn at Thy unknown desire — For this alone has Song been granted me. Upon Thy altar burn me at Thy will; All wonders fill My cup, and it is Thine; Life's precious wine For this alone: for Thee. Yet never can be paid The debt long laid Upon my heart, because my lips did press In youth's glad Spring the Cup of Loveliness!
Blue Squills. [Sara Teasdale]
How many million Aprils came Before I ever knew How white a cherry bough could be, A bed of squills, how blue.
And many a dancing April When life is done with me, Will lift the blue flame of the flower And the white flame of the tree.
Oh, burn me with your beauty, then, Oh, hurt me, tree and flower, Lest in the end death try to take Even this glistening hour.
O shaken flowers, O shimmering trees, O sunlit white and blue, Wound me, that I through endless sleep May bear the scar of you.
Earth. [John Hall Wheelock]
Grasshopper, your fairy song And my poem alike belong To the dark and silent earth From which all poetry has birth; All we say and all we sing Is but as the murmuring Of that drowsy heart of hers When from her deep dream she stirs: If we sorrow, or rejoice, You and I are but her voice.
Deftly does the dust express In mind her hidden loveliness, And from her cool silence stream The cricket's cry and Dante's dream; For the earth that breeds the trees Breeds cities too, and symphonies. Equally her beauty flows Into a savior, or a rose — Looks down in dream, and from above Smiles at herself in Jesus' love. Christ's love and Homer's art Are but the workings of her heart; Through Leonardo's hand she seeks Herself, and through Beethoven speaks In holy thunderings around The awful message of the ground.
The serene and humble mold Does in herself all selves enfold — Kingdoms, destinies, and creeds, Great dreams, and dauntless deeds, Science that metes the firmament, The high, inflexible intent Of one for many sacrificed — Plato's brain, the heart of Christ: All love, all legend, and all lore Are in the dust forevermore.
Even as the growing grass Up from the soil religions pass, And the field that bears the rye Bears parables and prophecy. Out of the earth the poem grows Like the lily, or the rose; And all man is, or yet may be, Is but herself in agony Toiling up the steep ascent Toward the complete accomplishment When all dust shall be, the whole Universe, one conscious soul. Yea, the quiet and cool sod Bears in her breast the dream of God.
If you would know what earth is, scan The intricate, proud heart of man, Which is the earth articulate, And learn how holy and how great, How limitless and how profound Is the nature of the ground — How without terror or demur We may entrust ourselves to her When we are wearied out, and lay Our faces in the common clay.
For she is pity, she is love, All wisdom she, all thoughts that move About her everlasting breast Till she gathers them to rest: All tenderness of all the ages, Seraphic secrets of the sages, Vision and hope of all the seers, All prayer, all anguish, and all tears Are but the dust, that from her dream Awakes, and knows herself supreme — Are but earth when she reveals All that her secret heart conceals Down in the dark and silent loam, Which is ourselves, asleep, at home.
Yea, and this, my poem, too, Is part of her as dust and dew, Wherein herself she doth declare Through my lips, and say her prayer.
Trees. [Joyce Kilmer]
I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.
Idealists. [Alfred Kreymborg]
Brother Tree: Why do you reach and reach? Do you dream some day to touch the sky? Brother Stream: Why do you run and run? Do you dream some day to fill the sea? Brother Bird: Why do you sing and sing? Do you dream — Young Man: Why do you talk and talk and talk?
Blind. [Harry Kemp]
The Spring blew trumpets of color; Her Green sang in my brain — I heard a blind man groping "Tap — tap" with his cane;
I pitied him in his blindness; But can I boast, "I see"? Perhaps there walks a spirit Close by, who pities me, —
A spirit who hears me tapping The five-sensed cane of mind Amid such unguessed glories — That I am worse than blind.
Yellow Warblers. [Katharine Lee Bates]
The first faint dawn was flushing up the skies When, dreamland still bewildering mine eyes, I looked out to the oak that, winter-long, — a winter wild with war and woe and wrong — Beyond my casement had been void of song.
And lo! with golden buds the twigs were set, Live buds that warbled like a rivulet Beneath a veil of willows. Then I knew Those tiny voices, clear as drops of dew, Those flying daffodils that fleck the blue,
Those sparkling visitants from myrtle isles, Wee pilgrims of the sun, that measure miles Innumerable over land and sea With wings of shining inches. Flakes of glee, They filled that dark old oak with jubilee,
Foretelling in delicious roundelays Their dainty courtships on the dipping sprays, How they should fashion nests, mate helping mate, Of milkweed flax and fern-down delicate To keep sky-tinted eggs inviolate.
Listening to those blithe notes, I slipped once more From lyric dawn through dreamland's open door, And there was God, Eternal Life that sings, Eternal joy, brooding all mortal things, A nest of stars, beneath untroubled wings.
April — North Carolina. [Harriet Monroe]
Would you not be in Tryon Now that the spring is here, When mocking-birds are praising The fresh, the blossomy year?
Look — on the leafy carpet Woven of winter's browns Iris and pink azaleas Flutter their gaudy gowns.
The dogwood spreads white meshes — So white and light and high — To catch the drifting sunlight Out of the cobalt sky.
The pointed beech and maple, The pines, dark-tufted, tall, Pattern with many colors The mountain's purple wall.
Hark — what a rushing torrent Of crystal song falls sheer! Would you not be in Tryon Now that the spring is here?
Path Flower. [Olive Tilford Dargan]
A red-cap sang in Bishop's wood, A lark o'er Golder's lane, As I the April pathway trod Bound west for Willesden.
At foot each tiny blade grew big And taller stood to hear, And every leaf on every twig Was like a little ear.
As I too paused, and both ways tried To catch the rippling rain, — So still, a hare kept at my side His tussock of disdain, —
Behind me close I heard a step, A soft pit-pat surprise, And looking round my eyes fell deep Into sweet other eyes;
The eyes like wells, where sun lies too, So clear and trustful brown, Without a bubble warning you That here's a place to drown.
"How many miles?" Her broken shoes Had told of more than one. She answered like a dreaming Muse, "I came from Islington."
"So long a tramp?" Two gentle nods, Then seemed to lift a wing, And words fell soft as willow-buds, "I came to find the Spring."
A timid voice, yet not afraid In ways so sweet to roam, As it with honey bees had played And could no more go home.
Her home! I saw the human lair, I heard the huckster's bawl, I stifled with the thickened air Of bickering mart and stall.
Without a tuppence for a ride, Her feet had set her free. Her rags, that decency defied, Seemed new with liberty.
But she was frail. Who would might note The trail of hungering That for an hour she had forgot In wonder of the Spring.
So shriven by her joy she glowed It seemed a sin to chat. (A tea-shop snuggled off the road; Why did I think of that?)
Oh, frail, so frail! I could have wept, — But she was passing on, And I but muddled, "You'll accept A penny for a bun?"
Then up her little throat a spray Of rose climbed for it must; A wilding lost till safe it lay Hid by her curls of rust;
And I saw modesties at fence With pride that bore no name; So old it was she knew not whence It sudden woke and came;
But that which shone of all most clear Was startled, sadder thought That I should give her back the fear Of life she had forgot.
And I blushed for the world we'd made, Putting God's hand aside, Till for the want of sun and shade His little children died;
And blushed that I who every year With Spring went up and down, Must greet a soul that ached for her With "penny for a bun!"
Struck as a thief in holy place Whose sin upon him cries, I watched the flowers leave her face, The song go from her eyes.
Then she, sweet heart, she saw my rout, And of her charity A hand of grace put softly out And took the coin from me.
A red-cap sang in Bishop's wood, A lark o'er Golder's lane; But I, alone, still glooming stood, And April plucked in vain;
Till living words rang in my ears And sudden music played: Out of such sacred thirst as hers The world shall be remade.
Afar she turned her head and smiled As might have smiled the Spring, And humble as a wondering child I watched her vanishing.
Little Things. [Orrick Johns]
There's nothing very beautiful and nothing very gay About the rush of faces in the town by day, But a light tan cow in a pale green mead, That is very beautiful, beautiful indeed . . . And the soft March wind and the low March mist Are better than kisses in a dark street kissed . . . The fragrance of the forest when it wakes at dawn, The fragrance of a trim green village lawn, The hearing of the murmur of the rain at play — These things are beautiful, beautiful as day! And I shan't stand waiting for love or scorn When the feast is laid for a day new-born . . . Oh, better let the little things I loved when little Return when the heart finds the great things brittle; And better is a temple made of bark and thong Than a tall stone temple that may stand too long.
New Dreams for Old. [Cale Young Rice]
Is there no voice in the world to come crying, "New dreams for old! New for old!"? Many have long in my heart been lying, Faded, weary, and cold. All of them, all, would I give for a new one. (Is there no seeker Of dreams that were?) Nor would I ask if the new were a true one: Only for new dreams! New for old!
For I am here, half way of my journey, Here with the old! All so old! And the best heart with death is at tourney, If naught new it is told. Will there no voice, then, come — or a vision — Come with the beauty That ever blows Out of the lands that are called Elysian? I must have new dreams! New for old!
Invocation. [Clara Shanafelt]
O Glass-Blower of time, Hast blown all shapes at thy fire? Canst thou no lovelier bell, No clearer bubble, clear as delight, inflate me — Worthy to hold such wine As was never yet trod from the grape, Since the stars shed their light, since the moon Troubled the night with her beauty?
Dream. [Anna Hempstead Branch]
But now the Dream has come again, the world is as of old. Once more I feel about my breast the heartening splendors fold. Now I am back in that good place from which my footsteps came, And I am hushed of any grief and have laid by my shame.
I know not by what road I came — oh wonderful and fair! Only I know I ailed for thee and that thou wert not there. Then suddenly Time's stalwart wall before thee did divide, Its solid bastions dreamed and swayed and there was I inside.
It is thy nearness makes thee seem so wonderful and far. In that deep sky thou art obscured as in the noon, a star. But when the darkness of my grief swings up the mid-day sky, My need begets a shining world. Lo, in thy light am I.
All that I used to be is there and all I yet shall be. My laughter deepens in the air, my quiet in the tree. My utter tremblings of delight are manna from the sky, And shining flower-like in the grass my innocencies lie.
And here I run and sleep and laugh and have no name at all. Only if God should speak to me then I would heed the call. And I forget the curious ways, the alien looks of men, For even as it was of old, so is it now again.
Still every angel looks the same and all the folks are there That are so bounteous and mild and have not any care. But kindest to me is the one I would most choose to be. She is so beautiful and sheds such loving looks on me.
She is so beautiful — and lays her cheek against my own. Back — in the world — they all will say, "How happy you have grown." Her breath is sweet about my eyes and she has healed me now, Though I be scarred with grief, I keep her kiss upon my brow.
All day, sweet land, I fight for thee outside the goodly wall, And 'twixt my breathless wounds I have no sight of thee at all! And sometimes I forget thy looks and what thy ways may be! I have denied thou wert at all — yet still I fight for thee.
Four Sonnets. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.]
How may one hold these days of wonderment And bind them into stillness with a thong, Ere as a fleeting dream they pass along Into the waste of lovely things forspent; How may one keep what the Great Powers have sent, The prayers fulfilled more beautiful and strong Than any thought could fashion into song Of all the rarest harmonies inblent?
There is an Altar where they may be laid And sealed in Faith within Its sacred care, — Here they are safe unto the very end; For these are of the things that never fade, Brought from the City that is built four-square, The gifts of Him who is the Perfect Friend.
The Last Spring
The first glad token of the Spring is here That bears each time one miracle the more, For in the sunlight is the golden ore, The joyous promise of a waking year; And in that promise all clouds disappear And youth itself comes back as once before, For only dreams are real in April's store When buds are bursting and the skies are clear.
Fair Season! at your touch the sleeping land Quickens to rapture, and a rosy flame Is the old signal of awakening; Thus in a mystery I understand The deepest meaning of your lovely name — How it will be in that perpetual Spring!
Behind the pinions of the Seraphim, Whose wings flame out upon the swinging spheres, There is a Voice that speaks the numbered years Until that Day when all comes back to Him; Behind the faces of the Cherubim, Whose smiles of love are seen through broken tears, There is a Face that every creature fears, The Face of Love no veil may ever dim.
O Angels of Glad Laughter and of Song, Your voices sound so near, the little wall Can scarcely hide the trees that bend and nod; Unbar the gate, for you have waited long To show the Garden that was made for all, — Where all is safe beneath the Smile of God.
The Path of the Stars
Down through the spheres that chant the Name of One Who is the Law of Beauty and of Light He came, and as He came the waiting Night Shook with the gladness of a Day begun; And as He came, He said: Thy Will Be Done On Earth; and all His vibrant Words were white And glistering with silver, and their might Was of the glory of a rising sun.
Unto the Stars sang out His Living Words White and with silver, and their rhythmic sound Was as a mighty symphony unfurled; And back from out the Stars like homing birds They fell in love upon the sleeping ground And were forever in a wakened world.
Chanson of the Bells of Oseney. [Cale Young Rice]
The bells of Oseney (Hautclere, Doucement, Austyn) Chant sweetly every day, And sadly, for our sin. The bells of Oseney (John, Gabriel, Marie) Chant lowly, Chant slowly, Chant wistfully and holy Of Christ, our Paladin.
Hautclere chants to the East (His tongue is silvery high), And Austyn like a priest Sends west a weighty cry. But Doucement set between (Like an appeasive nun) Chants cheerly, Chants clearly, As if Christ heard her nearly, A plea to every sky.
A plea that John takes up (He is the evangelist) Till Gabriel's angel cup Pours sound to sun or mist. And last of all Marie (The virgin-voice of God) Peals purely, Demurely, And with a tone so surely Divine, that all must hear.
The bells of Oseney (Doucement, Austyn, Hautclere) Pour ever day by day Their peals on the rapt air; And with their mellow mates (John, Gabriel, Marie) Tell slowly, Tell lowly, Of Christ the High and Holy, Who makes the whole world fair.
Poets. [Joyce Kilmer]
Vain is the chiming of forgotten bells That the wind sways above a ruined shrine. Vainer his voice in whom no longer dwells Hunger that craves immortal Bread and Wine.
Light songs we breathe that perish with our breath Out of our lips that have not kissed the rod. They shall not live who have not tasted death. They only sing who are struck dumb by God.
Acceptance. [Willard Wattles]
I cannot think nor reason, I only know he came With hands and feet of healing And wild heart all aflame.
With eyes that dimmed and softened At all the things he saw, And in his pillared singing I read the marching Law.
I only know he loves me, Enfolds and understands — And oh, his heart that holds me, And oh, his certain hands!
In the Hospital. [Arthur Guiterman]
Because on the branch that is tapping my pane A sun-wakened leaf-bud, uncurled, Is bursting its rusty brown sheathing in twain, I know there is Spring in the world.
Because through the sky-patch whose azure and white My window frames all the day long, A yellow-bird dips for an instant of flight, I know there is Song.
Because even here in this Mansion of Woe Where creep the dull hours, leaden-shod, Compassion and Tenderness aid me, I know There is God.
Overnight, a Rose. [Caroline Giltinan]
That overnight a rose could come I one time did believe, For when the fairies live with one, They wilfully deceive. But now I know this perfect thing Under the frozen sod In cold and storm grew patiently Obedient to God. My wonder grows, since knowledge came Old fancies to dismiss; And courage comes. Was not the rose A winter doing this? Nor did it know, the weary while, What color and perfume With this completed loveliness Lay in that earthly tomb. So maybe I, who cannot see What God wills not to show, May, some day, bear a rose for Him It took my life to grow.
The Idol-Maker prays. [Arthur Guiterman]
Great god whom I shall carve from this gray stone Wherein thou liest, hid to all but me, Grant thou that when my art hath made thee known And others bow, I shall not worship thee. But, as I pray thee now, then let me pray Some greater god, — like thee to be conceived Within my soul, — for strength to turn away From his new altar, when, that task achieved, He, too, stands manifest. Yea, let me yearn From dream to grander dream! Let me not rest Content at any goal! Still bid me spurn Each transient triumph on the Eternal Quest, Abjuring godlings whom my hand hath made For Deity, revealed, but unportrayed!
Reveille. [Louis Untermeyer]
What sudden bugle calls us in the night And wakes us from a dream that we had shaped; Flinging us sharply up against a fight We thought we had escaped.
It is no easy waking, and we win No final peace; our victories are few. But still imperative forces pull us in And sweep us somehow through.
Summoned by a supreme and confident power That wakes our sleeping courage like a blow, We rise, half-shaken, to the challenging hour, And answer it — and go.
The Breaking. [Margaret Steele Anderson]
(The Lord God speaks to a youth)
Bend now thy body to the common weight! (But oh, that vine-clad head, those limbs of morn! Those proud young shoulders I myself made straight! How shall ye wear the yoke that must be worn?)
Look thou, my son, what wisdom comes to thee! (But oh, that singing mouth, those radiant eyes! Those dancing feet — that I myself made free! How shall I sadden them to make them wise?)
Nay then, thou shalt! Resist not, have a care! (Yea, I must work my plans who sovereign sit! Yet do not tremble so! I cannot bear — Though I am God — to see thee so submit!)
The Falconer of God. [William Rose Benet]
I flung my soul to the air like a falcon flying. I said, "Wait on, wait on, while I ride below! I shall start a heron soon In the marsh beneath the moon — A strange white heron rising with silver on its wings, Rising and crying Wordless, wondrous things; The secret of the stars, of the world's heart-strings, The answer to their woe. Then stoop thou upon him, and grip and hold him so!"
My wild soul waited on as falcons hover. I beat the reedy fens as I trampled past. I heard the mournful loon In the marsh beneath the moon. And then — with feathery thunder — the bird of my desire Broke from the cover Flashing silver fire. High up among the stars I saw his pinions spire. The pale clouds gazed aghast As my falcon stoopt upon him, and gript and held him fast.
My soul dropt through the air — with heavenly plunder? — Gripping the dazzling bird my dreaming knew? Nay! but a piteous freight, A dark and heavy weight Despoiled of silver plumage, its voice forever stilled, — All of the wonder Gone that ever filled Its guise with glory. Oh, bird that I have killed, How brilliantly you flew Across my rapturous vision when first I dreamed of you!
Yet I fling my soul on high with new endeavor, And I ride the world below with a joyful mind. I shall start a heron soon In the marsh beneath the moon — A wondrous silver heron its inner darkness fledges! I beat forever The fens and the sedges. The pledge is still the same — for all disastrous pledges, All hopes resigned! My soul still flies above me for the quarry it shall find.
Dilemma. [Orrick Johns]
What though the moon should come With a blinding glow, And the stars have a game On the wood's edge, A man would have to still Cut and weed and sow, And lay a white line When he plants a hedge.
What though God With a great sound of rain Came to talk of violets And things people do, I would have to labor And dig with my brain Still to get a truth Out of all words new.
To a Portrait of Whistler in the Brooklyn Art Museum. [Eleanor Rogers Cox]
What waspish whim of Fate Was this that bade you here Hold dim, unhonored state, No single courtier near?
Is there, of all who pass, No choice, discerning few To poise the ribboned glass And gaze enwrapt on you?
Sword-soul that from its sheath Laughed leaping to the fray, How calmly underneath Goes Brooklyn on her way!
Quite heedless of that smile — Half-devil and half-god, Your quite unequalled style, The airy heights you trod.
Ah, could you from earth's breast Come back to take the air, What matter here for jest Most exquisite and rare!
But since you may not come, Since silence holds you fast, Since all your quips are dumb And all your laughter past —
I give you mine instead, And something with it too That Brooklyn leaves unsaid — The world's fine homage due.
Ah, Prince, you smile again — "My faith, the court is small!" I know, dear James — but then It's I or none at all!
Flammonde. [Edwin Arlington Robinson]
The man Flammonde, from God knows where, With firm address and foreign air, With news of nations in his talk And something royal in his walk, With glint of iron in his eyes, But never doubt, nor yet surprise, Appeared, and stayed, and held his head As one by kings accredited.
Erect, with his alert repose About him, and about his clothes, He pictured all tradition hears Of what we owe to fifty years. His cleansing heritage of taste Paraded neither want nor waste; And what he needed for his fee To live, he borrowed graciously.
He never told us what he was, Or what mischance, or other cause, Had banished him from better days To play the Prince of Castaways. Meanwhile he played surpassing well A part, for most, unplayable; In fine, one pauses, half afraid To say for certain that he played.
For that, one may as well forego Conviction as to yes or no; Nor can I say just how intense Would then have been the difference To several, who, having striven In vain to get what he was given, Would see the stranger taken on By friends not easy to be won.
Moreover, many a malcontent He soothed and found munificent; His courtesy beguiled and foiled Suspicion that his years were soiled; His mien distinguished any crowd, His credit strengthened when he bowed; And women, young and old, were fond Of looking at the man Flammonde.
There was a woman in our town On whom the fashion was to frown; But while our talk renewed the tinge Of a long-faded scarlet fringe, The man Flammonde saw none of that, And what he saw we wondered at — That none of us, in her distress, Could hide or find our littleness.
There was a boy that all agreed Had shut within him the rare seed Of learning. We could understand, But none of us could lift a hand. The man Flammonde appraised the youth, And told a few of us the truth; And thereby, for a little gold, A flowered future was unrolled.
There were two citizens who fought For years and years, and over nought; They made life awkward for their friends, And shortened their own dividends. The man Flammonde said what was wrong Should be made right, nor was it long Before they were again in line, And had each other in to dine.
And these I mention are but four Of many out of many more. So much for them. But what of him — So firm in every look and limb? What small satanic sort of kink Was in his brain? What broken link Withheld him from the destinies That came so near to being his?
What was he, when we came to sift His meaning, and to note the drift Of incommunicable ways That make us ponder while we praise? Why was it that his charm revealed Somehow the surface of a shield? What was it that we never caught? What was he, and what was he not?
How much it was of him we met We cannot ever know; nor yet Shall all he gave us quite atone For what was his, and his alone; Nor need we now, since he knew best, Nourish an ethical unrest: Rarely at once will nature give The power to be Flammonde and live.
We cannot know how much we learn From those who never will return, Until a flash of unforeseen Remembrance falls on what has been. We've each a darkening hill to climb; And this is why, from time to time In Tilbury Town, we look beyond Horizons for the man Flammonde.
The Chinese Nightingale. [Vachel Lindsay]
"How, how," he said. "Friend Chang," I said, "San Francisco sleeps as the dead — Ended license, lust and play: Why do you iron the night away? Your big clock speaks with a deadly sound, With a tick and a wail till dawn comes round. While the monster shadows glower and creep, What can be better for man than sleep?"
"I will tell you a secret," Chang replied; "My breast with vision is satisfied, And I see green trees and fluttering wings, And my deathless bird from Shanghai sings." Then he lit five fire-crackers in a pan. "Pop, pop," said the fire-crackers, "cra-cra-crack." He lit a joss stick long and black. Then the proud gray joss in the corner stirred; On his wrist appeared a gray small bird, And this was the song of the gray small bird: "Where is the princess, loved forever, Who made Chang first of the kings of men?"
And the joss in the corner stirred again; And the carved dog, curled in his arms, awoke, Barked forth a smoke-cloud that whirled and broke. It piled in a maze round the ironing-place, And there on the snowy table wide Stood a Chinese lady of high degree, With a scornful, witching, tea-rose face . . . Yet she put away all form and pride, And laid her glimmering veil aside With a childlike smile for Chang and for me.
The walls fell back, night was aflower, The table gleamed in a moonlit bower, While Chang, with a countenance carved of stone, Ironed and ironed, all alone. And thus she sang to the busy man Chang: "Have you forgotten . . . Deep in the ages, long, long ago, I was your sweetheart, there on the sand — Storm-worn beach of the Chinese land? We sold our grain in the peacock town Built on the edge of the sea-sands brown — Built on the edge of the sea-sands brown . . .
"When all the world was drinking blood From the skulls of men and bulls And all the world had swords and clubs of stone, We drank our tea in China beneath the sacred spice-trees, And heard the curled waves of the harbor moan. And this gray bird, in Love's first spring, With a bright-bronze breast and a bronze-brown wing, Captured the world with his carolling. Do you remember, ages after, At last the world we were born to own? You were the heir of the yellow throne — The world was the field of the Chinese man And we were the pride of the Sons of Han? We copied deep books and we carved in jade, And wove blue silks in the mulberry shade . . ."
"I remember, I remember That Spring came on forever, That Spring came on forever," Said the Chinese nightingale.
My heart was filled with marvel and dream, Though I saw the western street-lamps gleam, Though dawn was bringing the western day, Though Chang was a laundryman ironing away . . . Mingled there with the streets and alleys, The railroad-yard and the clock-tower bright, Demon clouds crossed ancient valleys; Across wide lotus-ponds of light I marked a giant firefly's flight.
And the lady, rosy-red, Flourished her fan, her shimmering fan, Stretched her hand toward Chang, and said: "Do you remember, Ages after, Our palace of heart-red stone? Do you remember The little doll-faced children With their lanterns full of moon-fire, That came from all the empire Honoring the throne? — The loveliest fete and carnival Our world had ever known? The sages sat about us With their heads bowed in their beards, With proper meditation on the sight. Confucius was not born; We lived in those great days Confucius later said were lived aright . . . And this gray bird, on that day of spring, With a bright-bronze breast, and a bronze-brown wing, Captured the world with his carolling. Late at night his tune was spent. Peasants, Sages, Children, Homeward went, And then the bronze bird sang for you and me. We walked alone. Our hearts were high and free. I had a silvery name, I had a silvery name, I had a silvery name — do you remember The name you cried beside the tumbling sea?"
Chang turned not to the lady slim — He bent to his work, ironing away; But she was arch, and knowing and glowing, And the bird on his shoulder spoke for him.
"Darling . . . darling . . . darling . . . darling . . ." Said the Chinese nightingale.
The great gray joss on a rustic shelf, Rakish and shrewd, with his collar awry, Sang impolitely, as though by himself, Drowning with his bellowing the nightingale's cry: "Back through a hundred, hundred years Hear the waves as they climb the piers, Hear the howl of the silver seas, Hear the thunder. Hear the gongs of holy China How the waves and tunes combine In a rhythmic clashing wonder, Incantation old and fine: 'Dragons, dragons, Chinese dragons, Red fire-crackers, and green fire-crackers, And dragons, dragons, Chinese dragons.'"
Then the lady, rosy-red, Turned to her lover Chang and said: "Dare you forget that turquoise dawn, When we stood in our mist-hung velvet lawn, And worked a spell this great joss taught Till a God of the Dragons was charmed and caught? From the flag high over our palace home He flew to our feet in rainbow-foam — A king of beauty and tempest and thunder Panting to tear our sorrows asunder: A dragon of fair adventure and wonder. We mounted the back of that royal slave With thoughts of desire that were noble and grave. We swam down the shore to the dragon-mountains, We whirled to the peaks and the fiery fountains. To our secret ivory house we were borne. We looked down the wonderful wing-filled regions Where the dragons darted in glimmering legions. Right by my breast the nightingale sang; The old rhymes rang in the sunlit mist That we this hour regain — Song-fire for the brain. When my hands and my hair and my feet you kissed, When you cried for your heart's new pain, What was my name in the dragon-mist, In the rings of rainbowed rain?"
"Sorrow and love, glory and love," Said the Chinese nightingale. "Sorrow and love, glory and love," Said the Chinese nightingale.
And now the joss broke in with his song: "Dying ember, bird of Chang, Soul of Chang, do you remember? — Ere you returned to the shining harbor There were pirates by ten thousand Descended on the town In vessels mountain-high and red and brown, Moon-ships that climbed the storms and cut the skies. On their prows were painted terrible bright eyes. But I was then a wizard and a scholar and a priest; I stood upon the sand; With lifted hand I looked upon them And sunk their vessels with my wizard eyes, And the stately lacquer-gate made safe again. Deep, deep below the bay, the sea-weed and the spray, Embalmed in amber every pirate lies, Embalmed in amber every pirate lies."
Then this did the noble lady say: "Bird, do you dream of our home-coming day When you flew like a courier on before From the dragon-peak to our palace-door, And we drove the steed in your singing path — The ramping dragon of laughter and wrath: And found our city all aglow, And knighted this joss that decked it so? There were golden fishes in the purple river And silver fishes and rainbow fishes. There were golden junks in the laughing river, And silver junks and rainbow junks: There were golden lilies by the bay and river, And silver lilies and tiger-lilies, And tinkling wind-bells in the gardens of the town By the black-lacquer gate Where walked in state The kind king Chang And his sweetheart mate . . . With his flag-born dragon And his crown of pearl . . . and . . . jade, And his nightingale reigning in the mulberry shade, And sailors and soldiers on the sea-sands brown, And priests who bowed them down to your song — By the city called Han, the peacock town, By the city called Han, the nightingale town, The nightingale town."
Then sang the bird, so strangely gay, Fluttering, fluttering, ghostly and gray, A vague, unravelling, final tune, Like a long unwinding silk cocoon; Sang as though for the soul of him Who ironed away in that bower dim: — "I have forgotten Your dragons great, Merry and mad and friendly and bold. Dim is your proud lost palace-gate. I vaguely know There were heroes of old, Troubles more than the heart could hold, There were wolves in the woods Yet lambs in the fold, Nests in the top of the almond tree . . . The evergreen tree . . . and the mulberry tree . . . Life and hurry and joy forgotten, Years on years I but half-remember . . . Man is a torch, then ashes soon, May and June, then dead December, Dead December, then again June. Who shall end my dream's confusion? Life is a loom, weaving illusion . . . I remember, I remember There were ghostly veils and laces . . . In the shadowy bowery places . . . With lovers' ardent faces Bending to one another, Speaking each his part. They infinitely echo In the red cave of my heart. 'Sweetheart, sweetheart, sweetheart,' They said to one another. They spoke, I think, of perils past. They spoke, I think, of peace at last. One thing I remember: Spring came on forever, Spring came on forever," Said the Chinese nightingale.
Love Songs. [Sara Teasdale]
Come, when the pale moon like a petal Floats in the pearly dusk of Spring, Come with arms outstretched to take me, Come with lips that long to cling.
Come, for life is a frail moth flying, Caught in the web of the years that pass, And soon we two, so warm and eager, Will be as the gray stones in the grass.
I heard a cry in the night, A thousand miles it came, Sharp as a flash of light, My name, my name!
It was your voice I heard, You waked and loved me so — I send you back this word, I know, I know!
I am the still rain falling, Too tired for singing mirth — Oh, be the green fields calling, Oh, be for me the earth!
I am the brown bird pining To leave the nest and fly — Oh, be the fresh cloud shining, Oh, be for me the sky!
Night Song at Amalfi
I asked the heaven of stars What I should give my love — It answered me with silence, Silence above.
I asked the darkened sea Down where the fishers go — It answered me with silence, Silence below.
Oh, I could give him weeping, Or I could give him song — But how can I give silence My whole life long?
Let it be forgotten as a flower is forgotten, Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold, Let it be forgotten forever and ever, Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.
If any one asks, say it was forgotten Long and long ago, As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall In a long forgotten snow.
Love is a Terrible Thing. [Grace Fallow Norton]
I went out to the farthest meadow, I lay down in the deepest shadow;
And I said unto the earth, "Hold me," And unto the night, "O enfold me,"
And unto the wind petulantly I cried, "You know not for you are free!"
And I begged the little leaves to lean Low and together for a safe screen;
Then to the stars I told my tale: "That is my home-light, there in the vale,
"And O, I know that I shall return, But let me lie first mid the unfeeling fern.
"For there is a flame that has blown too near, And there is a name that has grown too dear, And there is a fear . . ."
And to the still hills and cool earth and far sky I made moan, "The heart in my bosom is not my own!
"O would I were free as the wind on wing; Love is a terrible thing!"
Valley Song. [Carl Sandburg]
Your eyes and the valley are memories. Your eyes fire and the valley a bowl. It was here a moonrise crept over the timberline. It was here we turned the coffee cups upside down. And your eyes and the moon swept the valley.
I will see you again to-morrow. I will see you again in a million years. I will never know your dark eyes again. These are three ghosts I keep. These are three sumach-red dogs I run with.
All of it wraps and knots to a riddle: I have the moon, the timberline, and you. All three are gone — and I keep all three.
Spring in Carmel. [George Sterling]
O'er Carmel fields in the springtime the sea-gulls follow the plow. White, white wings on the blue above! White were your brow and breast, O Love! But I cannot see you now. Tireless ever the Mission swallow Dips to meadow and poppied hollow; Well for her mate that he can follow, As the buds are on the bough.
By the woods and waters of Carmel the lark is glad in the sun. Harrow! Harrow! Music of God! Near to your nest her feet have trod Whose journeyings are done. Sing, O lover! I cannot sing. Wild and sad are the thoughts you bring. Well for you are the skies of spring, And to me all skies are one.
In the beautiful woods of Carmel an iris bends to the wind. O thou far-off and sorrowful flower! Rose that I found in a tragic hour! Rose that I shall not find! Petals that fell so soft and slowly, Fragrant snows on the grasses lowly, Gathered now would I call you holy Ever to eyes once blind.
In the pine-sweet valley of Carmel the cream-cups scatter in foam. Azures of early lupin there! Now the wild lilac floods the air Like a broken honey-comb. So could the flowers of Paradise Pour their souls to the morning skies; So like a ghost your fragrance lies On the path that once led home.
On the emerald hills of Carmel the spring and winter have met. Here I find in a gentled spot The frost of the wild forget-me-not, And — I cannot forget. Heart once light as the floating feather Borne aloft in the sunny weather, Spring and winter have come together — Shall you and she meet yet?
On the rocks and beaches of Carmel the surf is mighty to-day. Breaker and lifting billow call To the high, blue Silence over all With the word no heart can say. Time-to-be, shall I hear it ever? Time-that-is, with the hands that sever, Cry all words but the dreadful "Never"! And name of her far away.
Music I heard. [Conrad Aiken]
Music I heard with you was more than music, And bread I broke with you was more than bread; Now that I am without you, all is desolate; All that was once so beautiful is dead.
Your hands once touched this table and this silver, And I have seen your fingers hold this glass. These things do not remember you, beloved, — And yet your touch upon them will not pass.
For it was in my heart you moved among them, And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes; And in my heart they will remember always, — They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.
Dusk at Sea. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.]
To-night eternity alone is near: The sea, the sunset, and the darkening blue; Within their shelter is no space for fear, Only the wonder that such things are true.
The thought of you is like the dusk at sea — Space and wide freedom and old shores left far, The shelter of a lone immensity Sealed by the sunset and the evening star.
Old Ships. [David Morton]
There is a memory stays upon old ships, A weightless cargo in the musty hold, — Of bright lagoons and prow-caressing lips, Of stormy midnights, — and a tale untold. They have remembered islands in the dawn, And windy capes that tried their slender spars, And tortuous channels where their keels have gone, And calm blue nights of stillness and the stars.
Ah, never think that ships forget a shore, Or bitter seas, or winds that made them wise; There is a dream upon them, evermore; — And there be some who say that sunk ships rise To seek familiar harbors in the night, Blowing in mists, their spectral sails like light.
The Wanderer. [Zoe Akins]
The ships are lying in the bay, The gulls are swinging round their spars; My soul as eagerly as they Desires the margin of the stars.
So much do I love wandering, So much I love the sea and sky, That it will be a piteous thing In one small grave to lie.
Harbury. [Louise Driscoll]
All the men of Harbury go down to the sea in ships, The wind upon their faces, the salt upon their lips.
The little boys of Harbury when they are laid to sleep, Dream of masts and cabins and the wonders of the deep.
The women-folk of Harbury have eyes like the sea, Wide with watching wonder, deep with mystery.
I met a woman: "Beyond the bar," she said, "Beyond the shallow water where the green lines spread,
"Out beyond the sand-bar and the white spray, My three sons wait for the Judgment Day."
I saw an old man who goes to sea no more, Watch from morn till evening down on the shore.
"The sea's a hard mistress," the old man said; "The sea is always hungry and never full fed.
"The sea had my father and took my son from me — Sometimes I think I see them, walking on the sea!
"I'd like to be in Harbury on the Judgment Day, When the word is spoken and the sea is wiped away,
"And all the drowned fisher boys, with sea-weed in their hair, Rise and walk to Harbury to greet the women there.
"I'd like to be in Harbury to see the souls arise, Son and mother hand in hand, lovers with glad eyes.
"I think there would be many who would turn and look with me, Hoping for another glimpse of the cruel sea!
"They tell me that in Paradise the fields are green and still, With pleasant flowers everywhere that all may take who will,
"And four great rivers flowing from out the Throne of God That no one ever drowns in and souls may cross dry-shod.
"I think among those wonders there will be men like me, Who miss the old salt danger of the singing sea.
"For in my heart, like some old shell, inland, safe and dry, Any one who harks will still hear the sea cry."
A Lynmouth Widow. [Amelia Josephine Burr]
He was straight and strong, and his eyes were blue As the summer meeting of sky and sea, And the ruddy cliffs had a colder hue Than flushed his cheek when he married me.
We passed the porch where the swallows breed, We left the little brown church behind, And I leaned on his arm, though I had no need, Only to feel him so strong and kind.
One thing I never can quite forget; It grips my throat when I try to pray — The keen salt smell of a drying net That hung on the churchyard wall that day.
He would have taken a long, long grave — A long, long grave, for he stood so tall . . . Oh, God, the crash of a breaking wave, And the smell of the nets on the churchyard wall!
City Roofs. [Charles Hanson Towne]
Roof-tops, roof-tops, what do you cover? Sad folk, bad folk, and many a glowing lover; Wise people, simple people, children of despair — Roof-tops, roof-tops, hiding pain and care.
Roof-tops, roof-tops, O what sin you're knowing, While above you in the sky the white clouds are blowing; While beneath you, agony and dolor and grim strife Fight the olden battle, the olden war of Life.
Roof-tops, roof-tops, cover up their shame — Wretched souls, prisoned souls too piteous to name; Man himself hath built you all to hide away the stars — Roof-tops, roof-tops, you hide ten million scars.
Roof-tops, roof-tops, well I know you cover Many solemn tragedies and many a lonely lover; But ah, you hide the good that lives in the throbbing city — Patient wives, and tenderness, forgiveness, faith, and pity.
Roof-tops, roof-tops, this is what I wonder: You are thick as poisonous plants, thick the people under; Yet roofless, and homeless, and shelterless they roam, The driftwood of the town who have no roof-top and no home!
Eye-Witness. [Ridgely Torrence]
Down by the railroad in a green valley By dancing water, there he stayed awhile Singing, and three men with him, listeners, All tramps, all homeless reapers of the wind, Motionless now and while the song went on Transfigured into mages thronged with visions; There with the late light of the sunset on them And on clear water spinning from a spring Through little cones of sand dancing and fading, Close beside pine woods where a hermit thrush Cast, when love dazzled him, shadows of music That lengthened, fluting, through the singer's pauses While the sure earth rolled eastward bringing stars Over the singer and the men that listened There by the roadside, understanding all.
A train went by but nothing seemed to be changed. Some eye at a car window must have flashed From the plush world inside the glassy Pullman, Carelessly bearing off the scene forever, With idle wonder what the men were doing, Seeing they were so strangely fixed and seeing Torn papers from their smeary dreary meal Spread on the ground with old tomato cans Muddy with dregs of lukewarm chicory, Neglected while they listened to the song. And while he sang the singer's face was lifted, And the sky shook down a soft light upon him Out of its branches where like fruits there were Many beautiful stars and planets moving, With lands upon them, rising from their seas, Glorious lands with glittering sands upon them, With soils of gold and magic mould for seeding, The shining loam of lands afoam with gardens On mightier stars with giant rains and suns There in the heavens; but on none of all Was there ground better than he stood upon: There was no world there in the sky above him Deeper in promise than the earth beneath him Whose dust had flowered up in him the singer And three men understanding every word.
The Tramp Sings:
I will sing, I will go, and never ask me "Why?" I was born a rover and a passer-by.
I seem to myself like water and sky, A river and a rover and a passer-by.
But in the winter three years back We lit us a night fire by the track,
And the snow came up and the fire it flew And we couldn't find the warming room for two.
One had to suffer, so I left him the fire And I went to the weather from my heart's desire.
It was night on the line, it was no more fire, But the zero whistle through the icy wire.
As I went suffering through the snow Something like a shadow came moving slow.
I went up to it and I said a word; Something flew above it like a kind of bird.
I leaned in closer and I saw a face; A light went round me but I kept my place.
My heart went open like an apple sliced; I saw my Saviour and I saw my Christ.
Well, you may not read it in a book, But it takes a gentle Saviour to give a gentle look.
I looked in his eyes and I read the news; His heart was having the railroad blues.
Oh, the railroad blues will cost you dear, Keeps you moving on for something that you don't see here.
We stood and whispered in a kind of moon; The line was looking like May and June.
I found he was a roamer and a journey man Looking for a lodging since the night began.
He went to the doors but he didn't have the pay. He went to the windows, then he went away.
Says, "We'll walk together and we'll both be fed." Says, "I will give you the 'other' bread."
Oh, the bread he gave and without money! O drink, O fire, O burning honey!
It went all through me like a shining storm: I saw inside me, it was light and warm.
I saw deep under and I saw above, I saw the stars weighed down with love.
They sang that love to burning birth, They poured that music to the earth.
I heard the stars sing low like mothers. He said: "Now look, and help feed others."
I looked around, and as close as touch Was everybody that suffered much.
They reached out, there was darkness only; They could not see us, they were lonely.
I saw the hearts that deaths took hold of, With the wounds bare that were not told of;
Hearts with things in them making gashes; Hearts that were choked with their dreams' ashes;
Women in front of the rolled-back air, Looking at their breasts and nothing there;
Good men wasting and trapped in hells; Hurt lads shivering with the fare-thee-wells.
I saw them as if something bound them; I stood there but my heart went round them.
I begged him not to let me see them wasted. Says, "Tell them then what you have tasted."
Told him I was weak as a rained-on bee; Told him I was lost. — Says: "Lean on me."
Something happened then I could not tell, But I knew I had the water for every hell.
Any other thing it was no use bringing; They needed what the stars were singing,
What the whole sky sang like waves of light, The tune that it danced to, day and night.
Oh, I listened to the sky for the tune to come; The song seemed easy, but I stood there dumb.
The stars could feel me reaching through them They let down light and drew me to them.
I stood in the sky in a light like day, Drinking in the word that all things say
Where the worlds hang growing in clustered shapes Dripping the music like wine from grapes.
With "Love, Love, Love," above the pain, — The vine-like song with its wine-like rain.
Through heaven under heaven the song takes root Of the turning, burning, deathless fruit.
I came to the earth and the pain so near me, I tried that song but they couldn't hear me.
I went down into the ground to grow, A seed for a song that would make men know.
Into the ground from my roamer's light I went; he watched me sink to night.
Deep in the ground from my human grieving, His pain ploughed in me to believing.
Oh, he took earth's pain to be his bride, While the heart of life sang in his side.
For I felt that pain, I took its kiss, My heart broke into dust with his.
Then sudden through the earth I found life springing; The dust men trampled on was singing.
Deep in my dust I felt its tones; The roots of beauty went round my bones.
I stirred, I rose like a flame, like a river, I stood on the line, I could sing forever.
Love had pierced into my human sheathing, Song came out of me simple as breathing.
A freight came by, the line grew colder, He laid his hand upon my shoulder.
Says, "Don't stay on the line such nights," And led me by the hand to the station lights.
I asked him in front of the station-house wall If he had lodging. Says, "None at all."
I pointed to my heart and looked in his face. — "Here, — if you haven't got a better place."
He looked and he said: "Oh, we still must roam But if you'll keep it open, well, I'll call it 'home'."
The thrush now slept whose pillow was his wing. So the song ended and the four remained Still in the faint starshine that silvered them, While the low sound went on of broken water Out of the spring and through the darkness flowing Over a stone that held it from the sea. Whether the men spoke after could not be told, A mist from the ground so veiled them, but they waited A little longer till the moon came up; Then on the gilded track leading to the mountains, Against the moon they faded in common gold And earth bore East with all toward the new morning.
God's Acre. [Witter Bynner]
Because we felt there could not be A mowing in reality So white and feathery-blown and gay With blossoms of wild caraway, I said to Celia, "Let us trace The secret of this pleasant place!"
We knew some deeper beauty lay Below the bloom of caraway, And when we bent the white aside We came to paupers who had died: Rough wooden shingles row on row, And God's name written there — 'John Doe'.
General William Booth Enters into Heaven. [Vachel Lindsay]
(To be sung to the tune of 'The Blood of the Lamb' with indicated instrument)
(Bass drum beaten loudly)
Booth led boldly with his big bass drum — (Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?) The Saints smiled gravely and they said: "He's come." (Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?) Walking lepers followed, rank on rank, Lurching bravoes from the ditches dank, Drabs from the alleyways and drug fiends pale — Minds still passion-ridden, soul-powers frail: — Vermin-eaten saints with mouldy breath, Unwashed legions with the ways of Death — (Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Every slum had sent its half-a-score The round world over. (Booth had groaned for more.) Every banner that the wide world flies Bloomed with glory and transcendent dyes. Big-voiced lasses made their banjos bang, Tranced, fanatical, they shrieked and sang: — "Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?" Hallelujah! It was queer to see Bull-necked convicts with that land make free. Loons with trumpets blowed a blare, blare, blare, On, on upward thro' the golden air! (Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
(Bass drum slower and softer)
Booth died blind and still by Faith he trod, Eyes still dazzled by the ways of God. Booth led boldly, and he looked the chief, Eagle countenance in sharp relief, Beard a-flying, air of high command Unabated in that holy land.
(Sweet flute music)
Jesus came from out the court-house door, Stretched his hands above the passing poor. Booth saw not, but led his queer ones there Round and round the mighty court-house square. Yet in an instant all that blear review Marched on spotless, clad in raiment new. The lame were straightened, withered limbs uncurled And blind eyes opened on a new, sweet world.
(Bass drum louder)
Drabs and vixens in a flash made whole! Gone was the weasel-head, the snout, the jowl! Sages and sibyls now, and athletes clean, Rulers of empires and of forests green!
(Grand chorus of all instruments. Tambourines to the foreground)
The hosts were sandalled, and their wings were fire! (Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?) But their noise played havoc with the angel-choir (Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?) O, shout Salvation! It was good to see Kings and Princes by the Lamb set free. The banjos rattled and the tambourines Jing-jing-jingled in the hands of Queens.
(Reverently sung, no instruments)
And when Booth halted by the curb for prayer He saw his Master thro' the flag-filled air. Christ came gently with a robe and crown For Booth the soldier, while the throng knelt down. He saw King Jesus. They were face to face, And he knelt a-weeping in that holy place. Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Compensation. [William Ellery Leonard]
I know the sorrows of the last abyss: I walked the cold black pools without a star; I lay on rock of unseen flint and spar; I heard the execrable serpent hiss; I dreamed of sun, fruit-tree, and virgin's kiss; I woke alone with midnight near and far, And everlasting hunger, keen to mar; But I arose, and my reward is this: I am no more one more amid the throng: Though name be naught, and lips forever weak, I seem to know at last of mighty song; And with no blush, no tremor on the cheek, I do claim consort with the great and strong Who suffered ill and had the gift to speak.
A Girl's Songs. [Mary Carolyn Davies]
I sing of sorrow, I sing of weeping. I have no sorrow.
I only borrow From some tomorrow Where it lies sleeping, Enough of sorrow To sing of weeping.
Heartbreak that is too new Can not be used to make Beauty that will startle; That takes an old heartbreak.
Old heartbreaks are old wine. Too new to pour is mine.
Your kiss lies on my face Like the first snow Upon a summer place.
Bewildered by that wonder, The grasses tremble under The thing they do not know. I tremble even so.
Over and over I tell the sky: I am free — I!
Over and over I tell the sea: — I am free!
Over and over I tell my lover I am free, free! Over and over.
But when the night comes black and cold, I who am young, with fear grow old; And I know, when the world is clear of sound, I am bound — bound.
The Enchanted Sheepfold. [Josephine Preston Peabody]
The hills far-off were blue, blue, The hills at hand were brown; And all the herd-bells called to me As I came by the down.
The briars turned to roses, roses; Ever we stayed to pull A white little rose, and a red little rose, And a lock of silver wool.
Nobody heeded, — none, none; And when True Love came by, They thought him naught but the shepherd-boy. Nobody knew but I!
The trees were feathered like birds, birds; Birds were in every tree. Yet nobody heeded, nobody heard, Nobody knew, save me.
And he is fairer than all — all. How could a heart go wrong? For his eyes I knew, and his knew mine, Like an old, old song.
Where Love is. [Amelia Josephine Burr]
By the rosy cliffs of Devon, on a green hill's crest, I would build me a house as a swallow builds its nest; I would curtain it with roses, and the wind should breathe to me The sweetness of the roses and the saltness of the sea.
Where the Tuscan olives whiten in the hot blue day, I would hide me from the heat in a little hut of gray, While the singing of the husbandman should scale my lattice green From the golden rows of barley that the poppies blaze between.
Narrow is the street, Dear, and dingy are the walls Wherein I wait your coming as the twilight falls. All day with dreams I gild the grime till at your step I start — Ah Love, my country in your arms — my home upon your heart!
Interlude. [Scudder Middleton]
I am not old, but old enough To know that you are very young. It might be said I am the leaf, And you the blossom newly sprung.
So I shall grow a while with you, And hear the bee and watch the cloud, Before the dragon on the branch, The caterpillar, weaves a shroud.
The Lover envies an Old Man. [Shaemas O Sheel]
I envy the feeble old man Dozing there in the sun. When all you can do is done And life is a shattered plan, What is there better than Dozing in the sun?
I could grow very still Like an old stone on a hill And content me with the one Thing that is ever kind, The tender sun. I could grow deaf and blind And never hear her voice, Nor think I could rejoice With her in any place; And I could forget her face, And love only the sun. Because when we are tired, Very very tired, And cannot again be fired By any hope, The sun is so comforting! A little bird under the wing Of its mother, is not so warm. Give me only the scope Of an old chair Out in the air, Let me rest there, Moving not, Loving not, Only dozing my days till my days be done, Under the sun.
"If you should tire of loving me". [Margaret Widdemer]
If you should tire of loving me Some one of our far days, Oh, never start to hide your heart Or cover thought with praise.
For every word you would not say Be sure my heart has heard, So go from me all silently Without a kiss or word;
For God must give you happiness, And Oh, it may befall In listening long to Heaven-song I may not care at all!
The Flower of Mending. [Vachel Lindsay]
When Dragon-fly would fix his wings, When Snail would patch his house, When moths have marred the overcoat Of tender Mister Mouse,
The pretty creatures go with haste To the sunlit blue-grass hills Where the Flower of Mending yields the wax And webs to help their ills.
The hour the coats are waxed and webbed They fall into a dream, And when they wake the ragged robes Are joined without a seam.
My heart is but a dragon-fly, My heart is but a mouse, My heart is but a haughty snail In a little stony house.
Your hand was honey-comb to heal, Your voice a web to bind. You were a Mending Flower to me To cure my heart and mind.
Venus Transiens. [Amy Lowell]
Tell me, Was Venus more beautiful Than you are, When she topped The crinkled waves, Drifting shoreward On her plaited shell? Was Botticelli's vision Fairer than mine; And were the painted rosebuds He tossed his lady, Of better worth Than the words I blow about you To cover your too great loveliness As with a gauze Of misted silver?
For me, You stand poised In the blue and buoyant air, Cinctured by bright winds, Treading the sunlight. And the waves which precede you Ripple and stir The sands at your feet.
The Dream of Aengus Og. [Eleanor Rogers Cox]
When the rose of Morn through the Dawn was breaking, And white on the hearth was last night's flame, Thither to me 'twixt sleeping and waking, Singing out of the mists she came.
And grey as the mists on the spectre meadows Were the eyes that on my eyes she laid, And her hair's red splendor through the shadows Like to the marsh-fire gleamed and played.
And she sang of the wondrous far-off places That a man may only see in dreams, The death-still, odorous, starlit spaces Where Time is lost and no life gleams.
And there till the day had its crest uplifted, She stood with her still face bent on me, Then forth with the Dawn departing drifted Light as a foam-fleck on the sea.
And now my heart is the heart of a swallow That here no solace of rest may find, Forevermore I follow and follow Her white feet glancing down the wind.
And forevermore in my ears are ringing — (Oh, red lips yet shall I kiss you dumb!) Twain sole words of that May morn's singing, Calling to me "Hither"! and "Come"!
From flower-bright fields to the wild lake-sedges Crying my steps when the Day has gone, Till dim and small down the Night's pale edges The stars have fluttered one by one.
And light as the thought of a love forgotten, The hours skim past, while before me flies That face of the Sun and Mist begotten, Its singing lips and death-cold eyes.
"I am in Love with High Far-Seeing Places". [Arthur Davison Ficke]
I am in love with high far-seeing places That look on plains half-sunlight and half-storm, — In love with hours when from the circling faces Veils pass, and laughing fellowship glows warm. You who look on me with grave eyes where rapture And April love of living burn confessed, — The Gods are good! The world lies free to capture! Life has no walls. O take me to your breast! Take me, — be with me for a moment's span! — I am in love with all unveiled faces. I seek the wonder at the heart of man; I would go up to the far-seeing places. While youth is ours, turn toward me for a space The marvel of your rapture-lighted face!
You. [Ruth Guthrie Harding]
Deep in the heart of me, Nothing but You! See through the art of me — Deep in the heart of me Find the best part of me, Changeless and true. Deep in the heart of me, Nothing but You!
Choice. [Angela Morgan]
I'd rather have the thought of you To hold against my heart, My spirit to be taught of you With west winds blowing, Than all the warm caresses Of another love's bestowing, Or all the glories of the world In which you had no part.
I'd rather have the theme of you To thread my nights and days, I'd rather have the dream of you With faint stars glowing, I'd rather have the want of you, The rich, elusive taunt of you Forever and forever and forever unconfessed Than claim the alien comfort Of any other's breast.
O lover! O my lover, That this should come to me! I'd rather have the hope for you, Ah, Love, I'd rather grope for you Within the great abyss Than claim another's kiss — Alone I'd rather go my way Throughout eternity.
Song. [Margaret Steele Anderson]
The bride, she wears a white, white rose — the plucking it was mine; The poet wears a laurel wreath — and I the laurel twine; And oh, the child, your little child, that's clinging close to you, It laughs to wear my violets — they are so sweet and blue!
And I, I have a wreath to wear — ah, never rue nor thorn! I sometimes think that bitter wreath could be more sweetly worn! For mine is made of ghostly bloom, of what I can't forget — The fallen leaves of other crowns — rose, laurel, violet!
Romance. [Scudder Middleton]
Why should we argue with the falling dust Or tremble in the traffic of the days? Our hearts are music-makers in the clouds, Our feet are running on the heavenly ways.
We'll go and find the honey of romance Within the hollow of the sacred tree. There is a spirit in the eastern sky, Calling along the dawn to you and me.
She'll lead us to the forest where she hides The yellow wine that keeps the angels young — We are the chosen lovers of the earth For whom alone the golden comb was hung.
Good-Bye. [Norreys Jephson O'Conor]
Good-bye to tree and tower, To meadow, stream, and hill, Beneath the white clouds marshalled close At the wind's will.
Good-bye to the gay garden, With prim geraniums pied, And spreading yew trees, old, unchanging Tho' men have died.
Good-bye to the New Castle, With granite walls and grey, And rooms where faded greatness still Lingers to-day.
To every friend in Mallow, When I am gone afar, These words of ancient Celtic hope, "Peace after war."
I would return to Erin When all these wars are by, Live long among her hills before My last good-bye.
Beyond Rathkelly. [Francis Carlin]
As I went over the Far Hill, Just beyond Rathkelly, — Och, to be on the Far Hill O'er Newtonstewart Town! As I went over the Far Hill With Marget's daughter Nellie, The night was up and the moon was out, And a star was falling down.
As I went over the Far Hill, Just beyond Rathkelly, — Och, to be on the Far Hill Above the Bridge o' Moyle! As I went over the Far Hill, With Marget's daughter Nellie, I made a wish before the star Had fallen in the Foyle.
As I went over the Far Hill, Just beyond Rathkelly, — Och, to be on the Far Hill With the hopes that I had then! As I went over the Far Hill, I wished for little Nellie, And if a star were falling now I'd wish for her again.
A Song of Two Wanderers. [Marguerite Wilkinson]
Dear, when I went with you To where the town ends, Simple things that Christ loved — They were our friends; Tree shade and grass blade And meadows in flower; Sun-sparkle, dew-glisten, Star-glow and shower; Cool-flowing song at night Where the river bends, And the shingle croons a tune — These were our friends.
Under us the brown earth Ancient and strong, The best bed for wanderers All the night long; Over us the blue sky Ancient and dear, The best roof to shelter all Glad wanderers here; And racing between them there Falls and ascends The chantey of the clean winds — These were our friends.
By day on the broad road Or on the narrow trail, Angel wings shadowed us, Glimmering pale Through the red heat of noon; In the twilight of dawn Fairies broke fast with us; Prophets led us on, Heroes were kind to us Day after happy day; Many white Madonnas We met on our way — Farmer and longshoreman, Fisherman and wife, Children and laborers Brave enough for Life, Simple folk that Christ loved — They were our friends. . . .
Dear, we must go again To where the town ends. . . .
In the Mushroom Meadows. [Thomas Walsh]
Sun on the dewy grasslands where late the frost hath shone, And lo, what elfin cities are these we come upon! What pigmy domes and thatches, what Arab caravan, What downy-roofed pagodas that have known no touch of man! Are these the oldtime meadows? Yes, the wildgrape scents the air; The breath of ripened orchards still is incense everywhere; Yet do these dawn-encampments bring the lurking memories Of Egypt and of Burma and the shores of China Seas.
The Path that leads to Nowhere. [Corinne Roosevelt Robinson]
There's a path that leads to Nowhere In a meadow that I know, Where an inland island rises And the stream is still and slow; There it wanders under willows And beneath the silver green Of the birches' silent shadows Where the early violets lean.
Other pathways lead to Somewhere, But the one I love so well Had no end and no beginning — Just the beauty of the dell, Just the windflowers and the lilies Yellow striped as adder's tongue, Seem to satisfy my pathway As it winds their sweets among.
There I go to meet the Springtime, When the meadow is aglow, Marigolds amid the marshes, — And the stream is still and slow. — There I find my fair oasis, And with care-free feet I tread For the pathway leads to Nowhere, And the blue is overhead!
All the ways that lead to Somewhere Echo with the hurrying feet Of the Struggling and the Striving, But the way I find so sweet Bids me dream and bids me linger, Joy and Beauty are its goal, — On the path that leads to Nowhere I have sometimes found my soul!
Days. [Karle Wilson Baker]
Some days my thoughts are just cocoons — all cold, and dull, and blind, They hang from dripping branches in the grey woods of my mind;
And other days they drift and shine — such free and flying things! I find the gold-dust in my hair, left by their brushing wings.
Ellis Park. [Helen Hoyt]
Little park that I pass through, I carry off a piece of you Every morning hurrying down To my work-day in the town; Carry you for country there To make the city ways more fair. I take your trees, And your breeze, Your greenness, Your cleanness, Some of your shade, some of your sky, Some of your calm as I go by; Your flowers to trim The pavements grim; Your space for room in the jostled street And grass for carpet to my feet. Your fountains take and sweet bird calls To sing me from my office walls. All that I can see I carry off with me. But you never miss my theft, So much treasure you have left. As I find you, fresh at morning, So I find you, home returning — Nothing lacking from your grace. All your riches wait in place For me to borrow On the morrow.
Do you hear this praise of you, Little park that I pass through?
A Note from the Pipes. [Leonora Speyer]
Pan, blow your pipes and I will be Your fern, your pool, your dream, your tree!
I heard you play, caught your swift eye, "A pretty melody!" called I, "Hail, Pan!" And sought to pass you by.
Now blow your pipes and I will sing To your sure lips' accompanying!
Wild God, who lifted me from earth, Who taught me freedom, wisdom, mirth, Immortalized my body's worth, —
Blow, blow your pipes! And from afar I'll come — I'll be your bird, your star, Your wood, your nymph, your kiss, your rhyme, And all your godlike summer-time!
Afternoon on a Hill. [Edna St. Vincent Millay]
I will be the gladdest thing Under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers And not pick one.
I will look at cliffs and clouds With quiet eyes, Watch the wind bow down the grass, And the grass rise.
And when lights begin to show Up from the town, I will mark which must be mine, And then start down!