yellow colored leaves -
suddenly the traffic light
turns them green again
First Yellow Leaves On The Black Walnut Trees
First yellow leaves on the black walnut trees.
The original digits on the wristwatch of the sun.
Waterproof to any depth you want to drown in.
The trees are homesick.
You can tell by the way they’re giving up.
Comes the season of the dead in harvest time.
The dark abundance of the light
inspired by the muse of the earth
to write poetry
that touchs everyone
like water and wine
whether the apples are gathered or not.
The mystic grape finds enlightenment
in the mouth of a human
when it breaks like a koan
that tastes of something older than the truth.
It’s good to walk through an open field by yourself
as if home were just over the next hill
as the night comes on.
It’s good to feel fulfilled
without knowing much about why
as if some subtle stratagem of the sky
had worked out a truce with life for awhile
and everywhere the armies of the grass
were surrendering their shields like flowers.
It’s late August
and the cedars gather on the hillside
like old testament prophets
come down to the river
to baptize their roots in fire.
Chicory in the eyesocket
of a baby muskrat’s skull
half-buried in the earth like a small moon
that returned to its mother’s breast
several autumns ago.
If the medium is the message
then the message of life
is its timing
and the whole of its content is now.
The dead don’t walk among the living
squawking about things
they’re missing in paradise.
Ten commandments might be good advice
but there’s one bit of wisdom
that wasn’t written on a gravestone
that threatened to bury you
in the valley of the shadow of death
like an avalanche down the world mountain
for ever and ever and ever
should you ever wander off the beaten path
by as much as one black sheep away from the flock:
It’s not your door if you have to knock.
Your life’s the key to your own lock.
You can ask the flowers.
Beauty isn’t enslaved by its own powers.
Clarity sees through the brave
as easily as the cowards
as two sides of the same fear
and no river’s flowing the wrong way to the sea.
Autumn is a lonely voice
that sadly rejoices in what it must be
but what mad wonders
it hides under everyone’s breath
like marvels it keeps to itself.
The best place to hide
is out in the open
like being and seeing and thinking.
And if you smell the wind
at this time of year
you can tell that it’s been drinking
to drown its wanderlust in words
heading south with the birds
who carry the souls of the dead away
like fires that ascended to heaven
on a ladder of bones
and a spinal cord
threaded through the eye of a needle.
A snake sheds its skin and vertebrae at last
and turns its scales into wings
to become a dragon
that burns its bridges behind it
like waterbirds without directions
disappearing from their own reflections
before the first ice.
I reach the top of an old hill
and I can see what I look like
a long way off from here
as Venus breaks like a mirror
low on the horizon
through the black mascara
on the eyelashes of the backlit pines.
And there are spirits of the air
summoned by the darkness
with eyes that glow
like charcoal on the fires
of yesterday’s myth of origins
to look up at the stars
and make up some kind of a story
about what they’re doing there in the first place
like the afterlife of the mystery
of the night before time and space
as if the history of our prophetic skulls
could still foretell the future
of an advanced race of cannibals.
You are what you eat.
But the time is long past
when I could tear my heart out
and offer it up to the unappeasable gods
like the fruit of a human
who has wandered the earth
like a rootless tree
true to his own homelessness
like a fire that kept faith with a heretic
who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Who would be there to receive it?
If I wrapped it up like a foundling
and laid it on the stairs of the abyss
late at night when no one was watching
or sent it down the river
in a basket I wove from cattails
like a baby in an empty lifeboat
drifting down its bloodstream
on its way to something better
than a promised land it couldn’t enter
what life on what distant star
would bend down and pick it up
like a message in a bottle
from life stranded on an island galaxy
waiting to hear the likeness of its own echo
in the voice of the light that answered
help is on the way?
And that sword’s been long drawn
out of the barren stone of the moon
that gave it back to the waters
like the blade of an old perfection
it once fell upon
like the reflection of a man
with a noble calling
in the absence of volunteers.
I haven’t sacrificed my innocence
to that invincible agony in years.
And there’s more than one crown
I’ve thrown off a bridge
like a trinket of my powers
as if I knew somehow
you can’t keep
what you won’t give away.
You can run deliberately straight as a highway
or weave spontaneously like a river
but if the first
just regard the extreme chaos
of conditioned conciousness
and if the latter
you’ll shed many lives
like skies and skin you’ve grown out of
following the long journey of yourself
all the way from your tail to your head
passing like a serpent through the grass
as if you had a secret
you keep to yourself
that were better left unsaid.
But there’s a third extreme
that just as intense as the others
which is the way I stay the course.
I put wings on a horse
that’s never known a saddle
or been bruised by the stars like spurs
and we’re up up and away
as if we’d never heard of the Medusa.
The Great Square of Pegasus
going down behind the pines
like a card up my sleeve.
I don’t want to turn anyone into stone
or blind them with my shield
as if the light knew judo
and how to use my enemy’s strengths
I don’t want to decapitate anyone
who was once the priestess
who fed sweetcakes and honey
to the oracular pythons of Delphi
and long before that
along with her two Gorgonic sisters
was the virgin wife crone phase of the moon
shedding her graces like skin.
I’ve jumped into enough snakepits
for one lifetime
to know how easy it is to get in
and how nearly impossible it is to get out.
One fang of the moon kills you.
The other heals you.
But you’re never the same after that
and there are scars that hurt worse than the wound.
But you can see things before the arising of signs
and there’s a crazy wisdom that embodies you
like a candle in the darkness
talking to itself.
And I can hear what the serpent said
quietly to Eve
just before it offered her the apple
from the forbidden tree:
Don’t lie to anyone you’re trying to believe.
- quotes about autumn
- quotes about blood
- quotes about heresy
- quotes about apples
- quotes about bridges
- quotes about lifeboats
- quotes about grapes
- quotes about galaxy
- quotes about elders
Leaves On The Line
Britain's debt hits a trillion pounds,
What we owe is rising fast,
The response from Cameron really astounds,
Everything's the fault of the past.
Youth unemployment hits a record high,
To the chancellors eternal shame,
His excuses would make a grown man cry
He claims their policies are not to blame.
Billions of pounds of new spyplanes are binned,
Aircraft carriers without one plane,
Our armed forces are being skinned,
Having no defence is utterly insane.
Utility bills are out of control,
As people are dying from the cold,
Culling the weak is this government's goal,
Be worried if you're disabled or old.
Inflation is over four per cent,
Another government pledge is broken,
But still the chancellor won't repent,
That statistic will remain unspoken.
The previous government caused it all,
They're responsible for all this fuss,
If you've got a problem give them a call,
It's got nothing to do with us.
It was all down to the winter snow,
Because it was so severe,
To the shops the nation couldn't go,
The weather had them living in fear.
Unemployment levels hit their highest for years,
Government policies didn't cause this mess,
It was the royal wedding that brought us to tears,
It's that which caused all our stress.
Our economy is now falling apart,
We've now entered another recession,
From their disastrous policies they will not depart,
They're giving us all depression.
Now it's the fault of the Eurozone,
Our austerity was caused by them,
If in doubt give them a phone,
As an excuse it's another gem.
All politicians are so alike,
They love to take but never give,
An honest one's similar to a lightning strike,
You'll never see one as long as you live.
We've heard their excuses every one,
Like their policies they're all in decline,
Our worry is that they have only begun,
‘' Leaves On The Line ‘'
- quotes about independence
- quotes about statistics
- quotes about worry
- quotes about aircrafts
- quotes about disabilities
- quotes about shopping
- quotes about dollars
- quotes about United Kingdom
- quotes about height
The Leaves Sluicing The Rain Down The Back Of My Neck
The leaves sluicing the rain down the back of my neck
to put out my candle of serpent-fire
like an orchid in an abandoned house well,
lightning in its tears, thunder in the hollow
of its telescope when the white runaway horse
pounds its hoof upon it at four in the morning,
the muscled embodiment of moonlight made flesh,
the stars running to peer through their windows
to see what's making that sound.
The sodden path down to the lake, rife with duff,
an Orphic descent whose picture-music
owes nothing to death, and the moss-pated skulls
of the prophetic rocks along the way, every precarious step,
the assessment of an omnipresent danger
that could kick the stool from out under your noose,
though you were foolishly hoping it might be
an Egyptian ankh, granting you long life
in an underworld where anything that's violet
is the toxic shadow of an inconsolable grief
that laments that it had ever met the sun eye to eye,
and try how it might, can't make a way of life
out of suicide. But I didn't come here to grease
the hinges on hell like the wings of rusty birds
or desecrate the place with my omnipresence.
Once I realized the realm of the dead
is no realm at all that can be distinguished from the living,
I've returned to this underground river from time to time
where the roots try to take hold of my skull like the moon
as if it were their last chance at blossoming,
and my bones are scattered along the banks
like socket wrenches from a dead mechanic's tool box
or a coffin that's finally run out of things to fix.
This is where I come to return my harp of water
to a watershed of indistinguishable wavelengths
in homage to the source that handed it on to me,
a voice of my own, and there's a bridge I stand on
no one's burnt down yet, just a fallen log really,
but to me an overarching oxymoron that lets me stand
on both sides of the mindstream at once
to pay homage to a death I long to be worthy of
like a teacher my life is obligated to surpass
to fully honour her undisciplined transcendence.
Like water. A carrying away into a carrying away.
We couldn't tell time if we weren't all dying.
Eternity just a sundial that never closed its eyelids.
The wounded serpent of the waterclock bleeding out
like a human heart to remind us what hour it is,
what windfalls and harvests of the season of our soul
to leave in the begging bowls we place
at the eastern doors of our autumnal burial huts,
hoping we'll see each other again, once are bones are dust,
like Canada geese returning in the early spring.
Some bring silver swords minted of moonlight
thrusting through the parting clouds
and lay them down on the water gently
like children they once cherished abandoned for life
as the greatest gift their hands had ever grasped.
I lay down this gift of a clear voice
that no fear or desire's ever broken in like a wishbone
pimped out like tinfoil to the glamour of temptation.
Whatever storms raged in the crowns of its oracular branches,
this tree never injured any bird that ever sang in it.
I never hung my lyre like a dreamcatcher over the bed,
or used it to seduce butterflies into a spider-web,
dolphins into a bay of fishing-nets, nor yet
let its strings go slack like the pentatonic spinal cords
of a guitar that's lost its nerve in the dark corners of life.
Nor did I ever refuse to sing what the dead asked me to
anymore than I did the living. Nor let the medium
intrude upon the message in such a way
the import of the song couldn't exceed
the wingspan of the bird that released it
into the vastness of its interstellar longing.
Here the dead whisper their secrets to the waters
like coy sylphs of the wind flirting with waves,
and here where dissolution walks in the same shoes
as regeneration, and one step east is one step west
and though there's a coming and though there's a going
birth and death don't know anything about this,
and Prussian blue the wet wind that's been crying
about the sturm and drang of things to the broken pines
whose excruciations have become part of their character,
as if the haloes of the rain rippled through their heartwood
like the echoes of old engagement rings
from wide-eyed springs that have lasted for light years.
Death isn't the derelict of life's glory.
Just as peace isn't the end of passage.
Mid-summer squanders as many flowers
on the capricious rivers of life as it does
the funeral bells of the fallen water birds.
And maybe that's all these words are,
wild iris and daylilies lifting their skirts
above the flowing like troupes of gypsy fires
that like dancing to the flutes of their own desires
as they burn on the pyres of their floral reflections.
Who knows this late in the day, but maybe
I'm just trying to approach my own death
like an unopened gate to a garden
the way I did as a novice to love
when I couldn't tell a larkspur from a hollyhock
nor what sign the star sapphire of the borage
wanted to be planted under like the Pleiades?
Anyway it pans out is ok with me, though.
I like it here where the waterlilies reset their sails
like redemption out of their own salvage
and after a long, grey day of funereal rain,
the clouds begin to clear around nightfall
and my eyes are seeded with the stars
of unnamed constellations of New England asters
that don't conform to any known starmaps
I can follow genetically back like a fuse of dna
to the Big Bang of my first flowering into life.
And maybe I'm a mutant in the ancestry of death
that has always been the subliminal motif
of a symphonic life that wasn't immune
to the picture-music of the celestial spheres
but I can't help noticing how the bones of the muskrat
and the skeletal remains of the heron's stilts
toppled by the stealthy fluke of a fox
all resonate like musical instruments
laid down in tribute on the roots of the trees
and on the sides of the paths that broke like melodies
on the ears of the dead who could taste them
like the tears of the moon on their silver tongues.
In this realm of radiant starmud in a state
of reanimating life out of its own detritus and decay,
I can hear their ghosts returning to life
like native atmospheres
returning to the songs of the lunar night birds
that don't abuse their solitude with a sense of loss
without sweetening the music
with the ripeness of their silence
just before the grande finale
of their next windfall of transcendent whole notes.
The Lay Of The Bell
Fast, in its prison-walls of earth,
Awaits the mould of baked clay.
Up, comrades, up, and aid the birth
The bell that shall be born to-day!
Who would honor obtain,
With the sweat and the pain,
The praise that man gives to the master must buy.--
But the blessing withal must descend from on high!
And well an earnest word beseems
The work the earnest hand prepares;
Its load more light the labor deems,
When sweet discourse the labor shares.
So let us ponder--nor in vain--
What strength can work when labor wills;
For who would not the fool disdain
Who ne'er designs what he fulfils?
And well it stamps our human race,
And hence the gift to understand,
That man within the heart should trace
Whate'er he fashions with the hand.
From the fir the fagot take,
Keep it, heap it hard and dry,
That the gathered flame may break
Through the furnace, wroth and high.
When the copper within
Seeths and simmers--the tin,
Pour quick, that the fluid that feeds the bell
May flow in the right course glib and well.
Deep hid within this nether cell,
What force with fire is moulding thus,
In yonder airy tower shall dwell,
And witness wide and far of us!
It shall, in later days, unfailing,
Rouse many an ear to rapt emotion;
Its solemn voice with sorrow wailing,
Or choral chiming to devotion.
Whatever fate to man may bring,
Whatever weal or woe befall,
That metal tongue shall backward ring,
The warning moral drawn from all.
See the silvery bubbles spring!
Good! the mass is melting now!
Let the salts we duly bring
Purge the flood, and speed the flow.
From the dross and the scum,
Pure, the fusion must come;
For perfect and pure we the metal must keep,
That its voice may be perfect, and pure, and deep.
That voice, with merry music rife,
The cherished child shall welcome in;
What time the rosy dreams of life,
In the first slumber's arms begin.
As yet, in Time's dark womb unwarning,
Repose the days, or foul or fair;
And watchful o'er that golden morning,
The mother-love's untiring care!
And swift the years like arrows fly
No more with girls content to play,
Bounds the proud boy upon his way,
Storms through loud life's tumultuous pleasures,
With pilgrim staff the wide world measures;
And, wearied with the wish to roam,
Again seeks, stranger-like, the father-home.
And, lo, as some sweet vision breaks
Out from its native morning skies
With rosy shame on downcast cheeks,
The virgin stands before his eyes.
A nameless longing seizes him!
From all his wild compassions flown;
Tears, strange till then, his eyes bedim;
He wanders all alone.
Blushing, he glides where'er she move;
Her greeting can transport him;
To every mead to deck his love,
The happy wild flowers court him!
Sweet hope--and tender longing--ye
The growth of life's first age of gold;
When the heart, swelling, seems to see
The gates of heaven unfold!
O love, the beautiful and brief! O prime,
Glory, and verdure, of life's summer time!
Browning o'er, the pipes are simmering,
Dip this wand of clay  within;
If like glass the wand be glimmering,
Then the casting may begin.
Brisk, brisk now, and see
If the fusion flow free;
If--(happy and welcome indeed were the sign!)
If the hard and the ductile united combine.
For still where the strong is betrothed to the weak,
And the stern in sweet marriage is blent with the meek,
Rings the concord harmonious, both tender and strong
So be it with thee, if forever united,
The heart to the heart flows in one, love-delighted;
Illusion is brief, but repentance is long.
Lovely, thither are they bringing.
With the virgin wreath, the bride!
To the love-feast clearly ringing,
Tolls the church-bell far and wide!
With that sweetest holiday,
Must the May of life depart;
With the cestus loosed--away
Flies illusion from the heart!
Yet love lingers lonely,
When passion is mute,
And the blossoms may only
Give way to the fruit.
The husband must enter
The hostile life,
With struggle and strife
To plant or to watch.
To snare or to snatch,
To pray and importune,
Must wager and venture
And hunt down his fortune!
Then flows in a current the gear and the gain,
And the garners are filled with the gold of the grain,
Now a yard to the court, now a wing to the centre!
Within sits another,
The thrifty housewife;
The mild one, the mother--
Her home is her life.
In its circle she rules,
And the daughters she schools
And she cautions the boys,
With a bustling command,
And a diligent hand
Employed she employs;
Gives order to store,
And the much makes the more;
Locks the chest and the wardrobe, with lavender smelling,
And the hum of the spindle goes quick through the dwelling;
And she hoards in the presses, well polished and full,
The snow of the linen, the shine of the wool;
Blends the sweet with the good, and from care and endeavor
Blithe the master (where the while
From his roof he sees them smile)
Eyes the lands, and counts the gain;
There, the beams projecting far,
And the laden storehouse are,
And the granaries bowed beneath
The blessed golden grain;
There, in undulating motion,
Wave the cornfields like an ocean.
Proud the boast the proud lips breathe:--
"My house is built upon a rock,
And sees unmoved the stormy shock
Of waves that fret below!"
What chain so strong, what girth so great,
To bind the giant form of fate?--
Swift are the steps of woe.
Now the casting may begin;
See the breach indented there:
Ere we run the fusion in,
Halt--and speed the pious prayer!
Pull the bung out--
See around and about
What vapor, what vapor--God help us!--has risen?--
Ha! the flame like a torrent leaps forth from its prison!
What friend is like the might of fire
When man can watch and wield the ire?
Whate'er we shape or work, we owe
Still to that heaven-descended glow.
But dread the heaven-descended glow,
When from their chain its wild wings go,
When, where it listeth, wide and wild
Sweeps free Nature's free-born child.
When the frantic one fleets,
While no force can withstand,
Through the populous streets
Whirling ghastly the brand;
For the element hates
What man's labor creates,
And the work of his hand!
Impartially out from the cloud,
Or the curse or the blessing may fall!
Benignantly out from the cloud
Come the dews, the revivers of all!
Avengingly out from the cloud
Come the levin, the bolt, and the ball!
Hark--a wail from the steeple!--aloud
The bell shrills its voice to the crowd!
Look--look--red as blood
All on high!
It is not the daylight that fills with its flood
What a clamor awaking
Roars up through the street,
What a hell-vapor breaking.
Rolls on through the street,
And higher and higher
Aloft moves the column of fire!
Through the vistas and rows
Like a whirlwind it goes,
And the air like the stream from the furnace glows.
Beams are crackling--posts are shrinking
Walls are sinking--windows clinking--
And the beast (the black ruin yet smouldering under)
Yells the howl of its pain and its ghastly wonder!
Hurry and skurry--away--away,
The face of the night is as clear as day!
As the links in a chain,
Again and again
Flies the bucket from hand to hand;
High in arches up-rushing
The engines are gushing,
And the flood, as a beast on the prey that it hounds
With a roar on the breast of the element bounds.
To the grain and the fruits,
Through the rafters and beams,
Through the barns and garners it crackles and streams!
As if they would rend up the earth from its roots,
Rush the flames to the sky
And at length,
Wearied out and despairing, man bows to their strength!
With an idle gaze sees their wrath consume,
And submits to his doom!
The place, and dread
For storms the barren bed.
In the blank voids that cheerful casements were,
Comes to and fro the melancholy air,
And sits despair;
And through the ruin, blackening in its shroud
Peers, as it flits, the melancholy cloud.
One human glance of grief upon the grave
Of all that fortune gave
The loiterer takes--then turns him to depart,
And grasps the wanderer's staff and mans his heart
Whatever else the element bereaves
One blessing more than all it reft--it leaves,
The faces that he loves!--He counts them o'er,
See--not one look is missing from that store!
Now clasped the bell within the clay--
The mould the mingled metals fill--
Oh, may it, sparkling into day,
Reward the labor and the skill!
Alas! should it fail,
For the mould may be frail--
And still with our hope must be mingled the fear--
And, ev'n now, while we speak, the mishap may be near!
To the dark womb of sacred earth
This labor of our hands is given,
As seeds that wait the second birth,
And turn to blessings watched by heaven!
Ah, seeds, how dearer far than they,
We bury in the dismal tomb,
Where. hope and sorrow bend to pray
That suns beyond the realm of day
May warm them into bloom!
From the steeple
Tolls the bell,
Deep and heavy,
Guiding with dirge-note--solemn, sad, and slow,
To the last home earth's weary wanderers know.
It is that worshipped wife--
It is that faithful mother!
Whom the dark prince of shadows leads benighted,
From that dear arm where oft she hung delighted
Far from those blithe companions, born
Of her, and blooming in their morn;
On whom, when couched her heart above,
So often looked the mother-love!
Ah! rent the sweet home's union-band,
And never, never more to come--
She dwells within the shadowy land,
Who was the mother of that home!
How oft they miss that tender guide,
The care--the watch--the face--the mother--
And where she sate the babes beside,
Sits with unloving looks--another!
While the mass is cooling now,
Let the labor yield to leisure,
As the bird upon the bough,
Loose the travail to the pleasure.
When the soft stars awaken,
Each task be forsaken!
And the vesper-bell lulling the earth into peace,
If the master still toil, chimes the workman's release!
Homeward from the tasks of day,
Through the greenwood's welcome way
Wends the wanderer, blithe and cheerly,
To the cottage loved so dearly!
And the eye and ear are meeting,
Now, the slow sheep homeward bleating--
Now, the wonted shelter near,
Lowing the lusty-fronted steer;
Creaking now the heavy wain,
Reels with the happy harvest grain.
While with many-colored leaves,
Glitters the garland on the sheaves;
For the mower's work is done,
And the young folks' dance begun!
Desert street, and quiet mart;--
Silence is in the city's heart;
And the social taper lighteth;
Each dear face that home uniteth;
While the gate the town before
Heavily swings with sullen roar!
Though darkness is spreading
O'er earth--the upright
And the honest, undreading,
Look safe on the night--
Which the evil man watches in awe,
For the eye of the night is the law!
Bliss-dowered! O daughter of the skies,
Hail, holy order, whose employ
Blends like to like in light and joy--
Builder of cities, who of old
Called the wild man from waste and wold.
And, in his hut thy presence stealing,
Roused each familiar household feeling;
And, best of all the happy ties,
The centre of the social band,--
The instinct of the Fatherland!
United thus--each helping each,
Brisk work the countless hands forever;
For naught its power to strength can teach,
Like emulation and endeavor!
Thus linked the master with the man,
Each in his rights can each revere,
And while they march in freedom's van,
Scorn the lewd rout that dogs the rear!
To freemen labor is renown!
Who works--gives blessings and commands;
Kings glory in the orb and crown--
Be ours the glory of our hands.
Long in these walls--long may we greet
Your footfalls, peace and concord sweet!
Distant the day, oh! distant far,
When the rude hordes of trampling war
Shall scare the silent vale;
Now the sweet heaven, when day doth leave
Limns its soft rose-hues on the veil of eve;
Shall the fierce war-brand tossing in the gale,
From town and hamlet shake the horrent glare!
Now, its destined task fulfilled,
Asunder break the prison-mould;
Let the goodly bell we build,
Eye and heart alike behold.
The hammer down heave,
Till the cover it cleave:--
For not till we shatter the wall of its cell
Can we lift from its darkness and bondage the bell.
To break the mould, the master may,
If skilled the hand and ripe the hour;
But woe, when on its fiery way
The metal seeks itself to pour.
Frantic and blind, with thunder-knell,
Exploding from its shattered home,
And glaring forth, as from a hell,
Behold the red destruction come!
When rages strength that has no reason,
There breaks the mould before the season;
When numbers burst what bound before,
Woe to the state that thrives no more!
Yea, woe, when in the city's heart,
The latent spark to flame is blown;
And millions from their silence start,
To claim, without a guide, their own!
Discordant howls the warning bell,
Proclaiming discord wide and far,
And, born but things of peace to tell,
Becomes the ghastliest voice of war:
"Freedom! Equality!"--to blood
Rush the roused people at the sound!
Through street, hall, palace, roars the flood,
And banded murder closes round!
The hyena-shapes (that women were!),
Jest with the horrors they survey;
They hound--they rend--they mangle there--
As panthers with their prey!
Naught rests to hollow--burst the ties
Of life's sublime and reverent awe;
Before the vice the virtue flies,
And universal crime is law!
Man fears the lion's kingly tread;
Man fears the tiger's fangs of terror;
And still the dreadliest of the dread,
Is man himself in error!
No torch, though lit from heaven, illumes
The blind!--Why place it in his hand?
It lights not him--it but consumes
The city and the land!
Rejoice and laud the prospering skies!
The kernel bursts its husk--behold
From the dull clay the metal rise,
Pure-shining, as a star of gold!
Neck and lip, but as one beam,
It laughs like a sunbeam.
And even the scutcheon, clear-graven, shall tell
That the art of a master has fashioned the bell!
Come in--come in
My merry men--we'll form a ring
The new-born labor christening;
And "Concord" we will name her!--
To union may her heartfelt call
In brother-love attune us all!
May she the destined glory win
For which the master sought to frame her--
Aloft--(all earth's existence under),
In blue-pavillioned heaven afar
To dwell--the neighbor of the thunder,
The borderer of the star!
Be hers above a voice to rise
Like those bright hosts in yonder sphere,
Who, while they move, their Maker praise,
And lead around the wreathed year!
To solemn and eternal things
We dedicate her lips sublime!--
As hourly, calmly, on she swings
Fanned by the fleeting wings of time!--
No pulse--no heart--no feeling hers!
She lends the warning voice to fate;
And still companions, while she stirs,
The changes of the human state!
So may she teach us, as her tone
But now so mighty, melts away--
That earth no life which earth has known
From the last silence can delay!
Slowly now the cords upheave her!
From her earth-grave soars the bell;
Mid the airs of heaven we leave her!
In the music-realm to dwell!
Up--upwards yet raise--
She has risen--she sways.
Fair bell to our city bode joy and increase,
And oh, may thy first sound be hallowed to peace!
'TWAS summer eve; the changeful beams still play'd
On the fir-bark and through the beechen shade;
Still with soft crimson glow'd each floating cloud;
Still the stream glitter'd where the willow bow'd;
Still the pale moon sate silent and alone,
Nor yet the stars had rallied round her throne;
Those diamond courtiers, who, while yet the West
Wears the red shield above his dying breast,
Dare not assume the loss they all desire,
Nor pay their homage to the fainter fire,
But wait in trembling till the Sun's fair light
Fading, shall leave them free to welcome Night!
So when some Chief, whose name through realms afar
Was still the watchword of succesful war,
Met by the fatal hour which waits for all,
Is, on the field he rallied, forced to fall,
The conquerors pause to watch his parting breath,
Awed by the terrors of that mighty death;
Nor dare the meed of victory to claim,
Nor lift the standard to a meaner name,
Till every spark of soul hath ebb'd away,
And leaves what was a hero, common clay.
Oh! Twilight! Spirit that dost render birth
To dim enchantments; melting Heaven with Earth,
Leaving on craggy hills and rumning streams
A softness like the atmosphere of dreams;
Thy hour to all is welcome! Faint and sweet
Thy light falls round the peasant's homeward feet,
Who, slow returning from his task of toil,
Sees the low sunset gild the cultured soil,
And, tho' such radliance round him brightly glows,
Marks the small spark his cottage window throws.
Still as his heart forestals his weary pace,
Fondly he dreams of each familiar face,
Recalls the treasures of his narrow life,
His rosy children, and his sunburnt wife,
To whom his coming is the chief event
Of simple days in cheerful labour spent.
The rich man's chariot hath gone whirling past,
And those poor cottagers have only cast
One careless glance on all that show of pride,
Then to their tasks turn'd quietly aside;
But him they wait for, him they welcome home,
Fond sentinels look forth to see him come;
The fagot sent for when the fire grew dim,
The frugal meal prepared, are all for him;
For him the watching of that sturdy boy,
For him those smiles of tenderness and joy,
For him,--who plods his sauntering way along,
Whistling the fragment of some village song!
Dear art thou to the lover, thou sweet light,
Fair fleeting sister of the mournful night!
As in impatient hope he stands apart,
Companion'd only by his beating heart,
And with an eager fancy oft beholds
The vision of a white robe's fluttering folds
Flit through the grove, and gain the open mead,
True to the hour by loving hearts agreed!
At length she comes. The evening's holy grace
Mellows the glory of her radiant face;
The curtain of that daylight faint and pale
Hangs round her like the shrouding of a veil;
As, turning with a bashful timid thought,
From the dear welcome she herself hath sought,
Her shadowy profile drawn against the sky
Cheats, while it charms, his fond adoring eye.
Oh! dear to him, to all, since first the flowers
Of happy Eden's consecrated bowers
Heard the low breeze along the branches play,
And God's voice bless the cool hour of the day.
For though that glorious Paradise be lost,
Though earth by blighting storms be roughly cross'd,
Though the long curse demands the tax of sin,
And the day's sorrows with the day begin,
That hour, once sacred to God's presence, still
Keeps itself calmer from the touch of ill,
The holiest hour of earth. Then toil doth cease--
Then from the yoke the oxen find release
Then man rests pausing from his many cares,
And the world teems with children's sunset prayers!
Then innocent things seek out their natural rest,
The babe sinks slumbering on its mother's breast;
The birds beneath their leafy covering creep,
Yea, even the flowers fold up their buds in sleep;
And angels, floating by, on radiant wings,
Hear the low sounds the breeze of evening brings,
Catch the sweet incense as it floats along,
The infant's prayer, the mother's cradle-song,
And bear the holy gifts to worlds afar,
As thigs too sacred for this fallen star.
At such an hour, on such a summer night,
Silent and calm in its transparent light,
A widow'd parent watch'd her slumbering child,
On whose young face the sixteenth summer smiled.
Fair was the face she watch'd! Nor less, because
Beauty's perfection seem'd to make a pause,
And wait, on that smooth brow, some further touch,
Some spell from Time,--the great magician,--such
As calls the closed bud out of hidden gloom,
And bids it wake to glory, light, and bloom.
Girlish as yet, but with the gentle grace
Of a young fawn in its low resting-place,
Her folded limbs were lying: from her hand
A group of wild-flowers,--Nature's brightest band,
Of all that laugh along the Summer fields,
Of all the sunny hedge-row freely yields,
Of all that in the wild-wood darkly hide,
Or on the thyme-bank wave in breezy pride,--
Show'd, that the weariness which closed in sleep
So tranquil, child-like, innocent, and deep,
Nor festal gaiety, nor toilsome hours,
Had brought; but, like a flower among the flowers,
She had been wandering 'neath the Summer sky,
Youth on her lip and gladness in her eye,
Twisting the wild rose from its native thorn,
And the blue scabious from the sunny corn;
Smiling and singing like a spirit fair
That walk'd the world, but had no dwelling there.
And still (as though their faintly-scented breath
Preserv'd a meek fidelity in death)
Each late imprison'd blossom fondly lingers
Within the touch of her unconscious fingers,
Though, languidly unclasp'd, that hand no more
Guards its possession of the rifled store.
So wearily she lay; so sweetly slept;
So by her side fond watch the mother kept;
And, as above her gentle child she bent,
So like they seem'd in form and lineament,
You might have deem'd her face its shadow gave
To the clear mirror of a fountain's wave;
Only in this they differ'd; that, while one
Was warm and radiant as the Summer sun,
The other's smile had more a moonlight play,
For many tears had wept its glow away;
Yet was she fair; of loveliness so true,
That time, which faded, never could subdue:
And though the sleeper, like a half-blown rose,
Show'd bright as angels in her soft repose,
Though bluer veins ran through each snowy lid,
Curtaining sweet eyes, by long dark lashes hid--
Eyes that as yet had never learnt to weep,
But woke up smiling, like a child's, from sleep;
Though fainter lines were pencill'd on the brow,
Which cast soft shadow on the orbs below;
Though deeper colour flush'd her youthful cheek,
In its smooth curve more joyous and less meek,
And fuller seem'd the small and crimson mouth,
With teeth like those that glitter in the South,--
She had but youth's superior brightness, such
As the skill'd painter gives with flattering touch
When he would picture every lingering grace
Which once shone brighter in some copied face;
And it was compliment, whene'er she smiled,
To say, 'Thou'rt like thy mother, my fair child!'
Sweet is the image of the brooding dove!--
Holy as Heaven a mother's tender love!
The love of many prayers and many tears,
Which changes not with dim declining years,--
The only love which on this teeming earth
Asks no return from Passion's wayward birth;
The only love that, with a touch divine,
Displaces from the heart's most secret shrine
The idol SELF. Oh! prized beneath thy due
When life's untried affections all are new,--
Love, from whose calmer hope and holier rest
(Like a fledged bird, impatient of the nest)
The human heart, rebellious, springs to seek
Delights more vehement, in ties more weak;
How strange to us appears, in after-life,
That term of mingled carelessness and strife,
When guardianship so gentle gall'd our pride,
When it was holiday to leave thy side,
When, with dull ignorance that would not learn,
We lost those hours that never can return--
Hours, whose most sweet communion Nature meant
Should be in confidence and kindness spent,
That we (hereafter mourning) might believe
In human faith, though all around deceive;
Might weigh against the sad and startling crowd
Of ills which wound the weak and chill the proud,
Of woes 'neath which (despite of stubborn will,
Philosophy's vain boast, and erring skill)
The strong heart downward like a willow bends,
Failure of love,--and treachery of friends,--
Our recollections of the undefiled,
The sainted tie, of parent and of child!
Oh! happy days! Oh years that glided by,
Scarce chronicled by one poor passing sigh!
When the dark storm sweeps past us, and the soul
Struggles with fainting strength to reach the goal;
When the false baits that lured us only cloy,
What would we give to grasp your vanish'd joy!
From the cold quicksands of Life's treacherous shore
The backward light our anxious eyes explore,
Measure the miles our wandering feet have come,
Sinking heart-weary, far away from home,
Recall the voice that whisper'd love and peace,
The smile that bid our early sorrows cease,
And long to bow our grieving heads, and weep
Low on the gentle breast that lull'd us first to sleep!
Ah! bless'd are they for whom 'mid all their pains
That faithful and unalter'd love remains;
Who, Life wreck'd round them,--hunted from their rest,--
And, by all else forsaken or distress'd,--
Claim, in one heart, their sanctuary and shrine--
As I, my Mother, claim'd my place in thine!
Oft, since that hour, in sadness I retrace
My childhood's vision of thy calm sweet face;
Oft see thy form, its mournful beauty shrouded
In thy black weeds, and coif of widow's woe;
Thy dark expressive eyes all dim and clouded
By that deep wretchedness the lonely know:
Stifling thy grief, to hear some weary task
Conn'd by unwilling lips, with listless air,
Hoarding thy means, lest future need might ask
More than the widow's pittance then could spare.
Hidden, forgotten by the great and gay,
Enduring sorrow, not by fits and starts,
But the long, self-denial, day by day,
Alone amidst thy brood of careless hearts!
Striving to guide, to teach, or to restrain
The young rebellious spirits crowding round,
Who saw not, kuew not, felt not for thy pain,
And could not comfort--yet had power to wound!
Ah! how my selfish heart, which since hath grown
Familiar with deep trials of its own,
With riper judgment looking to the past,
Regrets the careless days that flew so fast,
Stamps with remorse each wasted hour of time,
And darkens every folly into crime!
Warriors and statesmen have their meed of praise,
And what they do or suffer men record;
But the long sacrifice of woman's days
Passes without a thought--without a word;
And many a holy struggle for the sake
Of duties sttenily, faithfully fulfill'd,--
For which the anxious mind must watch and wake,
And the strong feelings of the heart be still'd--
Goes by unheeded as the summer wind,
And leaves no memory and no trace behind!
Yet, it may be, more lofty courage dwells
In one meek heart which braves an adverse fate,
Than his, whose ardent soul indignant swells
Warm'd by the fight, or cheer'd through high debate:
The Soldier dies surrounded;--could he live
Alone to suffer, and alone to strive?
Answer, ye graves, whose suicidal gloom
Shows deeper horror than a common tomb!
Who sleep within? The men who would evade
An unseen lot of which they felt afraid.
Embarrassment of means, which work'd annoy,--
A past remorse,--a future blank of joy,--
The sinful rashness of a blind despair,--
These were the strokes which sent your victims there.
In many a village churchyard's simple grave,
Where all unmark'd the cypress-branches wave;
In many a vault where Death could only claim
The brief inscription of a woman's name;
Of different ranks, and different degrees,
From daily labour to a life of ease,
(From the rich wife who through the weary day
Wept in her jewels, grief's unceasing prey,
To the poor soul who trudged o'er marsh and moor,
And with her baby begg'd from door to door,--)
Lie hearts, which, ere they found that last release,
Had lost all memory of the blessing 'Peace;'
Hearts, whose long struggle through unpitied years
None saw but Him who marks the mourner's tears;
The obscurely noble! who evaded not
The woe which He had will'd should be their lot,
But nerved themselves to bear!
Of such art thou,
My Mother! With thy calm and holy brow,
And high devoted heart, which suffer'd still
Unmurmuring, through each degree of ill.
And, because Fate hath will'd that mine should be
A Poet's soul (at least in my degree),--
And that my verse would faintly shadow forth
What I have seen of pure unselfish worth,--
Therefore I speak of Thee; that those who read
That trust in woman, which is still my creed,
Thy early-widow'd image may recall
And greet thy nature as the type of all!
Enough! With eyes of fond unwearied love
The Mother of my story watch'd above
Her sleeping child; and, as she views the grace
And blushing beauty of that girlish face,
Her thoughts roam back through change of time and tide,
Since first Heaven sent the blessing by her side.
In that sweet vision she again receives
The snow-white cradle, where that tiny head
Lay, like a small bud folded in its leaves,
Foster'd with dew by tears of fondness shed;
Each infantine event, each dangerous hour
Which pass'd with threatening o'er its fragile form,
Her hope, her anguish, as the tender flower
Bloom'd to the sun, or sicken'd in the storm,
In memory's magic mirror glide along,
And scarce she notes the different scene around,
And scarce her lips refrain the cradle-song
Which sooth'd that infant with its lulling sound!
But the dream changes; quiet years roll on;
That dawn of frail existence fleets away,
And she beholds beneath the summer sun
A blessed sight; a little child at play.
The soft light falls upon its golden hair,
And shows a brow intelligently mild;
No more a cipher in this world of care,
Love cheers and chides that happy conscious child.
No more unheeding of her watchful love,
Pride to excel, its docile spirit stirs;
Regret and hope its tiny bosom move,
And looks of fondness brightly answer hers;
O'er the green meadow, and the broomy hill,
In restless joy it bounds and darts along;
Or through the breath of evening, low and still,
Carols with mirthful voice its welcome song.
Again the vision changes; from her view
The CHILD'S dear love and antic mirth are gone;
But, in their stead, with cheek of rose-leaf hue,
And fair slight form, and low and silvery tone,
Rises the sweetest spirit Thought can call
From memory's distant worlds--the fairy GIRL;
Whose heart her childish pleasures still enthrall,
Whose unbound hair still floats in careless curl,
But in whose blue and meekly lifted eyes,
And in whose shy, though sweet and cordial smile,
And in whose changeful blushes, dimly rise
Shadows and lights that were not seen erewhile:
Shadows and lights that speak of woman's love,
Of all that makes or mars her fate below;
Mysterious prophecies, which Time must prove
More bright in glory, or more dark with woe!
And that soft vision also wanders by
Melting in fond and innocent smiles away,
Till the loved REAL meets the watchful eye
Of her who thus recall'd a former day;
The gentle daughter, for whose precious sake
Her widow'd heart had struggled with its pain.
And still through lonely grief refused to break,
Because that tie to Earth did yet remain.
Now, as she fondly gazed, a few meek tears
Stole down her cheek; for she that sliunber'd there,
The beautiful, the loved of many years.
A bride betroth'd must leave her fostering care;
Woo'd in another's home apart to dwell.--
Oh! might that other love but half as well!
As if the mournful wish had touch'd her heart,
The slumbering maiden woke, with sudden start;
Turn'd, with a dazzled and intense surprise,
On that fond face her bright, bewilder'd eyes;
Gazed round on each familiar object near,
As though she doubted yet if sense was clear;
Cover'd her brow and sigh'd, as though to wake
Had power some spell of happy thought to break;
Then murmur'd, in a low and earnest tone,
'Oh! is that blessed dream for ever gone?'
Strange is the power of dreams! Who hath not felt,
When in the morning light such visions melt,
How the veil'd soul, though struggling to be free,
Ruled by that deep, unfathom'd mystery,
Wakes, haunted by the thoughts of good or ill,
Whose shadowy influence pursues us still?
Sometimes remorse doth weigh our spirits down;
Some crime committed earns Heaven's angriest frown;
Some awful sin, in which the tempted heart
Hath scarce, perhaps, forborne its waking part,
Brings dreams of judgment; loud the thunders roll,
The heavens shrink blacken'd like a flaming scroll;
We faint, we die, beneath the avenging rod,
And vainly hide from our offended God.
For oh! though Fancy change our mortal lot,
And rule our slumbers, CONSCIENCE sleepeth not;
What strange sad dial, by its own true light,
Points to our thoughts, how dark soe'er the night,
Still by our pillow watchful guard it keeps,
And bids the sinner tremble while he sleeps.
Sometimes, with fearful dangers doom'd to cope,
'Reft of each wild and visionary hope,
Stabb'd with a thousand wounds, we struggle still,
The hand that tortures, powerless to kill.
Sometimes 'mid ocean storms, in fearful strife,
We stem the wave, and shrieking, gasp for life,
While crowding round us, faces rise and gleam,
Some known and loved, some, pictures of our dream;
High on the buoyant waters wildly toss'd--
Low in its foaming caverns darkly lost--
Those flitting forms the dangerous hour partake,
Cling to our aid, or suffer for our sake.
Conscious of present life, the slumbering soul
Still floats us onward, as the billows roll,
Till, snatch'd from death, we seem to touch the strand,
Rise on the shoreward wave, and dash to land!
Alone we come: the forms whose wild array
Gleam'd round us while we struggled, fade away,--
We know not, reck not, who the danger shared,
But, vaguely dreaming, feel that we are spared.
Sometimes a grief, of fond affection born,
Gnaws at our heart, and bids us weep till morn;
Some anguish, copied from our waking fears,
Wakes the eternal fount of human tears,
Sends us to watch some vision'd bed of death,
Hold the faint hand, and catch the parting breath,
Where those we prized the most, and loved the best,
Seem darkly sinking to the grave's long rest;
Lo! in our arms they fade, they faint, they die,
Before our eyes the funeral train sweeps by;
We hear the orphan's sob--the widow's wail--
O'er our dim senses woeful thoughts prevail,
Till, with a burst of grief, the spell we break,
And, weeping for th' imagined loss, awake.
Ah me! from dreams like these aroused at length,
How leaps the spirit to its former strength!
What memories crowd the newly conscious brain,
What gleams of rapture, and what starts of pain!
Till from the soul the heavy mists stand clear,
All wanes and fades that seem'd so darkly drear,
The sun's fair rays those shades of death destroy,
And passionate thankfuess and tears of joy
Swell at our hearts, as, gazing on his beam,
We start, and cry aloud, 'Thank Heaven, 'twas but a dream!'
But there are visions of a fairer kind,
Thoughts fondly cherish'd by the slumbering mind,
Which, when they vanish from the waking brain,
We close our eyes, and long to dream again.
Their dim voice calls to our forsaken side
Those who betray'd us, seeming true and tried;
Those whom the fast receding waves of time
Have floated from us; those who in the prime
And glory of our young life's eagle flight
Shone round like rays, encircling us with light,
And gave the bright similitude of truth
To fair illusions--vanish'd with our youth.
They bring again the tryst of early love,
(That passionate hope, all other hopes above!)
Bid the pale hair, long shrouded in the grave,
Round the young head in floating ringlets wave,
And fill the air with echoes. Gentle words,
Low laughter, and the sing of sweet birds,
Come round us then; and drooping of light boughs,
Whose shadow could not cool our burning brows,
And lilac-blossoms, scenting the warm air,
And long laburnums, fragile, bright, and fair;
And murmuring breezes through the green leaves straying,
And rippling waters in the sunshine playing,
All that around our slumbering sense can fling
The glory of some half-forgotten spring!
They bring again the fond approving gaze
Of old true friends, who mingled love with praise;
When Fame (that cold bright guiding-star below)
Took from affection's light a borrow'd glow,--
And, strong in all the might of earnest thought,
Through the long studious night untired we wrought,
That others might the morning hour beguile,
With the fond triumph of their wondering smile.
What though those dear approving smiles be gone,
What though we strive neglected and alone,
What though no voice now mourns our hope's alloy,
Nor in the hour of triumph gives us joy?
In dreams the days return when this was not,
When strong affection sooth'd our toilsome lot:
Cheer'd, loved, admonish'd, lauded, we aspire,
And the sick soul regains its former fire.
Beneath the influence of this fond spell,
Happy, contented, bless'd, we seem to dwell;
Sweet faces shine with love's own tender ray,
Which frown, or coldly turn from us, by day;
The lonely orphan hears a parent's voice;
Sad childless mothers once again rejoice;
The poor deserted seems a happy bride;
And the long parted wander side by side.
Ah, vain deceit! Awaking with a start,
Sick grow the beatings of the troubled heart;
Silence, like some dark mantle, drops around,
Quenching th' imagined voice's welcome sound;
Again the soul repeats its old farewells,
Again recalls sad hours and funeral knells;
Again, as daylight opens on their view,
The orplan shrieks, the mother mourns anew;
Till clear we feel, as fades the morning star,
How left, how lonely, how oppres'd we are!
And other dreams exist, more vague and bright
Than MEMORY ever brought to cheer the night;--
Most to the young and happy do they come,
To those who know no shelter but of home;
To those of whom the inspired writer spoke,
When from his lips the words prophetic broke,
Which (conscious of the strong and credulous spell
Experience only in the heart can quell)
Promised the nearer glimpse of perfect truth
Not to cold wisdom, but to fervent youth;
Each, in their measure, caught its fitful gleams,--
The young saw visions, and the old dream'd dreams.
The young! Oh! what should wandering fancy bring
In life's first spring-time but the thoughts of spring?
Worlds without winter, blooming amaranth bowers,
Garlands of brightness wreath'd from changeless flowers;
Where shapes like angels wander to and fro,
Unwing,'d, but glorious, in the noontide glow,
Which steeps the hills, the dales, the earth, the sea,
In one soft flood of golden majesty.
In this world,--so create,--no sighs nor tears,--
No sadness brought with lapse of varying years,
No cold betrayal of the trusting heart,--
No knitting up of love fore-doom'd to part,--
No pain, deformity, nor pale disease,--
No wars,--no tyranny,--no fears that freeze
The rapid current of the restless blood,--
Nor effort scorn'd,--nor act misunderstood,--
No dark remorse for ever-haunting sin,--
But all at peace without--at rest within;
And hopes which gild Thought's wildest waking hours,
Scatter'd around us carelessly as flowers.
Oh! Paradise, in vain dilist thou depart;
Thine image still is stamp'd on every heart!
Though mourning man in vain may seek to trace
The site of that which was his dwelling-place,
Though the four glittering rivers now divide
No realms of beauty with their rolling tide,
Each several life yet opens with the view
Of that unblighted world where Adam drew
The breath of being: in each several mind,
However cramp'd, and fetter'd, and confined,
The innate power of beauty folded lies,
And, like a bud beneath the summer skies,
Blooms out in youth through many a radiant day,
Though in life's winter frost it dies away.
From such a vision, bright with all the fame
Her youth, her innocence, her hope, could frame,
The maiden woke: and, when her shadowy gaze
Had lost the dazzled look of wild amaze
Turn'd on her mother when she first awoke,
Thus to her questioning glanee she answering spoke:--
'Methought, oh! gentle Mother, by thy side
I dwelt no more as now, but through a wide
And sweet world wander'd; nor even then alone;
For ever in that dream's soft light stood one,--
I know not who,--yet most familiar seem'd
The fond companionship of which I dream'd!
A Brother's love, is but a name to me;
A Father's, brighten'd not my infancy;
To me, in childhood's years, no stranger's face
Took, from long habit, friendship's holy grace;
My life hath still been lone, and needed not,
Heaven knows, more perfect love than was my lot
In thy dear heart: how dream'd I then, sweet Mother,
Of any love but thine, who knew no other?
'We seem'd, this shadow and myself, to be
Together by the blue and boundless sea:
No settled home was present to my thought--
No other form my clouded fancy brought;
This one Familiar Presence still beguiled
My every thought, and look'd on me and smiled.
Fair stretch'd in beauty lay the glittering strand,
With low green copses sloping from the land;
And tangled underwood, and sunny fern,
And flowers whose humble names none cared to learn,
Smail starry wild flowers, white and gold and blue,
With leaves turn'd crimson by th' autumnal hue,
Bask'd in the fervour of the noontide glow,
Whose hot rays pierced the thirsty roots below.
The floating nautilus rose clear and pale,
As though a spirit trimm'd its fairy sail,
White and transparent; and beyond it gleam'd
Such light as never yet on Ocean beam'd:
And pink-lipp'd shells, and many-colour'd weeds,
And long brown bulbous things likc jasper beads,
And glistening pearls in beauty faint and fair,
And all things strange, and wonderful, and rare,
Whose true existence travellers make known,
Seem'd scatter'd there, and easily my own.
And then we wove our ciphers in the sands,
All fondly intertwined by loving hands;
And laugh'd to see the rustling snow-white spray
Creep o'er the names, and wash their trace away.
And the storm came not, though the white foam curl'd
In lines of brightness far along the coast;
Though many a ship, with swelling sails unfurl'd,
From the mid-sea to sheltering haven cross'd;
Though the wild billows heaved, and rose, and broke,
One o'er the other with a restless sound,
And the deep spirit of the wind awoke,
Ruffling in wrath each glassy verdant mound;
While onward roll'd that army of huge waves,
Until the foremost, with exulting roar,
Rose, proudly crested, o'er his brother slaves,
And dash'd triumphant on the groaning shore!
For then the Moon rose up, Night's mournful Queen,
'Walking with white feet o'er the troubled Sea,'
And all grew still again, as she had been
Heaven's messenger to bring Tranquillity;
Till, pale and tender, on the glistening main
She sank and smiled like one who loves in vain.
And still we linger'd by that shadowy strand,
Happy, yet full of thought, hand link'd in hand;
The hush'd waves rippling softly at our feet,
The night-breeze freshening o'er the Summer's heat;
With our hearts beating, and our gazing eyes
Fix'd on the star-light of those deep blue skies,
Blessing 'the year, the hour, the place, the time;'
While sounded, faint and far, some turret's midnight chime.
'It pass'd, that vision of the Ocean's might!
I know not how, for in my slumbering mind
There was no movement, all was shifting light,
Through which we floated with the wandering wind;
And, still together, in a different scene,
We look'd on England's woodland, fresh and green.
'No perfume of the cultured rose was there,
Wooing the senses with its garden smell,--
Nor snow-white lily,--call'd so proudly fir,
Though by the poor man's cot she loves to dwell,
Nor finds his little garden scant of room
To bid her stately buds in beauty bloom;--
Nor jasmin, with her pale stars shining through
The myrtle darkness of her leaf's green hue,--
Nor heliotrope, whose grey and heavy wreath
Mimics the orchard blossoms' fruity breath,--
Nor clustering dahlia, with its scentless flowers
Cheating the heart through autumn's faded hours,--
Nor bright chrysanthimum, whose train'd array
Still makes the rich man's winter path look gay,
And bows its hardy head when wild winds blow,
To free its petals from the fallen snow;--
Nor yet carnation;'--
(Thou, beloved of all
The plants that thrive at Art or Nature's call,
By one who greets thee with a weary sigh
As the dear friend of happy days gone by;
By one who names thee last, but loves thee first,
Of all the flowers a garden ever nursed;
The mute remembrancer and gentle token
Of links which heavy hands have roughly broken,
Welcomed through many a Summer with the same
Unalter'd gladness as when first ye came,
And welcomed still, though--as in later years
We often welcome pleasant things--with tears!)
I wander! In the Dream these had no place,--
Nor Sorrow:--all was Nature's freshest grace.
'There, wild geranium, with its woolly stem
And aromatic breath, perfumed the glade;
And fairy speedwell, like some sapphire gem,
Lighted with purple sparks the hedge-row's shade;
And woodbine, with her tinted calyxes,
And dog-rose, glistening with the dews of morn,
And tangled wreaths of tufted clematis,
Whose blossoms pale the careless eye may scorn,
(As green and light her fairy mantles fiLll
To hide the rough hedge or the crumbling wall,)
But in whose breast the laden wild-bees dive
For the best riches of their teeming hive:
'There, sprang the sunny cricket; there, was spread
The fragile silver of the spider's thread,
Stretching from blade to blade of emerald grass,
Unbroken, till some human footstep pass;
There, by the rippling stream that murmur'd on,
Now seen, now hidden--half in light, half Sun--
The darting dragon-fly, with sudden gleam,
Shot, as it went, a gold and purple beam;
And the fish leap'd within the deeper pool,
And the green trees stretch'd out their branches cool,
Where many a bird hush'd in her peopled nest
The unfledged darlings of her feather'd breast,
Listening her mate's clear song, in that sweet grove
Where all around breathed happiness and love!
'And while we talk'd the summer hours flew fast,
As hours may fly, with those whose love is young;
Who fear no future, and who know no past,
Dating existence from the hope that sprung
Up in their hearts with such a sudden light,
That all beyond shows dark and blank as night.
'Until methought we trod a wide flat heath,
Where yew and cypress darkly seem'd to wave
O'er countless tombs, so beautiful, that death
Seem'd here to make a garden of the grave!
All that is holy, tender, full of grace,
Was sculptured on the monuments around,
And many a line the musing eye could trace,
Which spoke unto the heart without a sound.
There lay the warrior and the son of song,
And there--in silence till the judgment-day--
The orator, whose all-persuading tongue
Had moved the nations with resistless sway:
There slept pale men whom science taught to climb
Restlessly upward all their labouring youth;
Who left, half conquer'd, secrets which in time
Burst on mankind in ripe and glorious truth.
He that had gazed upon the steadfast stars,
And could foretel the dark eclipse's birth,
And when red comets in their blazing cars
Should sweep above the awed and troubled earth:--
He that had sped brave vessels o'er the seas,
Which swiftly bring the wanderer to his home,
Uncanvass'd ships, which move without a breeze,
Their bright wheels dashing through the ocean foam:--
All, who in this life's bounded brief career
Had shone amongst, or served their fellow-men,
And left a name embalm'd in glory here,
Lay calmly buried on that magic plain.
And he who wander'd with me in my dream,
Told me their histories as we onward went,
Till the grave shone with such a hallow'd beam,
Such pleasure with their memory seem'd blent,
That, when we look'd to heaven, our upward eyes
With no funereal sadness mock'd the skies!
'Then, change of scene, and time, and place once more;
And by a Gothic window, richly bright,
Whose stain'd armorial hoarings on the floor
Flung the quaint tracery of their colour'd light,
We sate together: his most noble head
Bent o'er the storied tome of other days,
And still he commented on all we read,
And taught me what to love, and what to praise.
Then Spenser made the summer-day seem brief,
Or Milton sounded with a loftier song,
Then Cowper charm'd, with lays of gentle grief,
Or rough old Dryden roll'd the hour along.
Or, in his varied beauty dearer still,
Sweet Shakspeare changed the world around at will;
And we forgot the sunshine of that room
To sit with Jacquez in the forest gloom;
To look abroad with Juliet's anxious eye
For her boy-lover 'neath the moonlight sky;
Stand with Macbeth upon the haunted heath,
Or weep for gentle Desdemona's death;
Watch, on bright Cydnus' wave, the glittering sheen
And silken sails of Egypt's wanton Queen;
Or roam with Ariel through that island strange
Where spirits, and not men, were wont to range,
Still struggling on through brake, and bush, and hollow,
Hearing that sweet voice calling--'Follow! follow!'
'Nor were there wanting lays of other lands,
For these were all familiar in his hands:
And Dante's dream of horror work'd its spell,--
And Petrarch's sadness on our bosoms fell,--
And prison'd Tasso's--he, the coldly-loved,
The madly-loving! he, so deeply proved
By many a year of darkness, like the grave,
For her who dared not plead, or would not save,
For her who thought the poet's suit brought shame,
Whose passion hath immortalized her name!
And Egmont, with his noble heart betray'd,--
And Carlos, haunted by a murder'd shade,--
And Faust's strange legend, sweet and wondrous wild,
Stole many a tear:--Creation's loveliest child!
Guileless, ensnared, and tempted Margaret,
Who could peruse thy fate with eyes unwet?
'Then, through the lands we read of, far away,
The vision led me all a summer's day:
And we look'd round on southern Italy,
Where her dark head the graceful cypress rears
In arrowy straightness and soft majesty,
And the sun's face a mellower glory wears;
Bringing, where'er his warm light richly shines,
Sweet odours from the gum-distilling pines;
And casting o'er white palaces a glow,
Like morning's hue on mountain-peaks of snow.
'Those palaces! how fair their columns rose!
Their courts, cool fountains, and wide porticos!
And ballustraded roofs, whose very form
Told what an unknown stranger was the storm!
In one of these we dwelt: its painted walls
A master's hand had been employ'd to trace;
Its long cool range of shadowy marble halls
Was fill'd with statues of most living grace;
While on its ceilings roll'd the fiery car
Of the bright day-god, chasing night afar,--
Or Jove's young favourite, toward Olympus' height
Soar'd with the Eagle's dark majestic flight,--
Or fair Apollo's harp seem'd freshly strung,
All heaven group'd round him, listening while he sung.
'So, in the garden's plann'd and planted bound
All wore the aspect of enchanted ground;
Thick orange-groves, close arching over head,
Shelter'd the paths our footsteps loved to tread;
Or ilex-trees shut out, with shadow sweet,
Th' oppressive splendour of the noontide heat.
Through the bright vista, at each varying turn,
Gleam'd the white statue, or the graceful urn;
And, paved with many a curved and twisted line
Of fair Mosaic's strange and quaint design,
Terrace on terrace rose, with steep so slight,
That scarce the pausing eye inquired the height,
Till stretch'd beneath in far perspective lay
The glittering city and the deep blue bay!
Then as we turn'd again to groves and bowers,
(Rich with the perfume of a thousand flowers,)
The sultry day was cheated of its force
By the sweet winding of some streamlet's course:
From sculptured arch, and ornamented walls,
Rippled a thousand tiny waterfalls,
While here and there an open basin gave
Rest to the eye and freshness to the wave;
Here, high above the imprison'd waters, stood
Some imaged Naïad, guardian of the flood;
There, in a cool and grotto-like repose,
The sea-born goddess from her shell arose;
Or river-god his fertile urn display'd,
Gushing at distance through the lone arcade,--
Or Triton, lifting his wild conch on high,
Spouted the silver tribute to the sky,--
Or, lovelier still, (because to Nature true,
Even in the thought creative genius drew,)
Some statue-nymph, her bath of beauty o'er,
Stood gently bending by the rocky shore,
And, like Bologna's sweet and graceful dream,
From her moist hair wrung out the living stream.
'Bright was the spot! and still we linger'd on
Unwearied, till the summer-day was done;
Till He, who, when the morning dew was wet,
In glory rose--in equal glory set.
Fair sank his light, unclouded to the last,
And o'er that land its glow of beauty cast;
And the sweet breath of evening air went forth
To cool the bosom of the fainting earth;
To bid the pale-leaved olives lightly wave
Upon their seaward slope (whose waters lave
With listless gentleness the golden strand,
And scarcely leave, and scarce return to land);
Or with its wings of freshness, wandering round,
Visit the heights with many a villa crown'd,
Where the still pine and cypress, side by side,
Look from their distant hills on Ocean's tide.
'The cypress and the pine! Ah, still I see
These thy green children, lovely Italy!
Nature's dear favourites, allow'd to wear
Their summer hue throughout the circling year!
And oft, when wandering out at even-time
To watch the sunsets of a colder clime,
As the dim landscape fades and grows more faint,
Fancy's sweet power a different scene shall paint;
Enrich with deeper tints the colours given
To the pale beauty of our English heaven,--
Bid purple mountains rise among the clouds,
Or deem their mass some marble palace shrouds,--
Trace on the red horizon's level line,
In outlines dark, the high majestic pine,--
And hear, amid the groups of English trees,
His sister cypress murmuring to the breeze!
'Never again shall evening, sweet and still,
Gleam upon river, mountain, rock, or hill,--
Never again shall fresh and budding spring,
Or brighter summer, hue of beauty bring,
In this, the clime where 'tis my lot to dwell,
But shall recall, as by a magic spell,
Thy scenes, dear land of poetry and song!
Bid thy fair statues on my memory throng;
Thy glorious pictures gleam upon my sight
Like fleeting shadows o'er the summer light;
And send my haunted heart to dwell once more,
Glad and entranced by thy delightful shore--
Thy shore, where rolls that blue and tideless sea,
Bright as thyself, thou radiant Italy!
'And there (where Beauty's spirit sure had birth,
Though she hath wander'd since upon the earth,
And scatter'd, as she pass'd, some sparks of thought,
Such as of old her sons of genius wrought,
To show what strength the immortal soul can wield
E'en here, in this its dark and narrow field,
And fill us with a fond inquiring thirst
To see that land which claim'd her triumphs first)
Music was brought--with soft impressive power--
To fill with varying joy the varying hour.
We welcomed it; for welcome still to all
It comes, in cottage, court, or lordly hall;
And in the long bright summer evenings, oft
We sate and listened to some measure soft
From many instruments; or, faint and lone,
(Touch'd by his gentle hand, or by my own,)
The little lute its chorded notes would send
Tender and clear; and with our voices blend
Cadence so true, that, when the breeze swept by,
One mingled echo floated on its sigh!
'And still as day by day we saw depart,
I was the living idol of his heart:
How to make joy a portion of the air
That breathed around me, seem'd his only care.
For me the harp was strung, the page was turn'd;
For me the morning rose, the sunset burn'd;
For me the Spring put on her verdant suit;
For me the Summer flower, the Autumn fruit;
The very world seem'd mine, so mighty strove
For my contentment, that enduring love.
'I see him still, dear mother! Still I hear
That voice so deeply soft, so strangely clear;
Still in the air wild wandering echoes float,
And bring my dream's sweet music note for note!
Oh! shall those sounds no more my fancy bless,
Which fill my heart, and on my memory press?
Shall I no more those sunset clouds behold,
Floating like bright transparent thrones of gold?
The skies, the seas, the hills of glorious blue;
The glades and groves, with glories shining through;
The bands of red and purple, richly seen
Athwart the sky of pale, faint, gem-like green;
When the breeze slept, the earth lay hush'd and still,
When the low sun sank slanting from the hill,
And slow and amber-tinged the moon uprose,
To watch his farewell hour in glory close?
Is all that radiance past--gone by for ever--
And must there in its stead for ever be
The grey, sad sky, the cold and clouded river,
And dismal dwellings by the wintry sea?
E'er half a summer, altering day by day,
In fickle brightness, here, hath pass'd away!
And was that form (whose love might still sustain)
Nought but a vapour of the dreaming brain?--
Would I had slept for ever!'
Sad she sigh'd;
To whom the mournful mother thus replied:--
'Upbraid not Heaven, whose wisdom thus would rule
A world whose changes are the soul's best school:
All dream like thee, and 'tis for Mercy's sake
That those who dream the wildest, soonest wake;
All deem Perfection's system would be found
In giving earthly sense no stint or bound;
All look for happiness beneath the sun,
And each expects what God hath given to none.
'In what an idle luxury of joy
Would thy spoil'd heart its useless hours employ!
In what a selfish loneliness of light
Wouldst thou exist, read we thy dream aright!
How hath thy sleeping spirit broke the chain
Which knits thy human lot to other's pain,
And made this world of peopled millions seem
For thee and for the lover of thy dream!
'Think not my heart with cold indifference heard
The various feelings which in thine have stirr'd,
Or that its sad and weary currents know
Faint sympathy, except for human woe:
Well have the dormant echoes of my breast
Answer'd the joys thy gentle voice express'd;
Conjured a vision of the stately mate
With whom the flattering vision link'd thy fate;
And follow'd thee through grove and woodland wild,
Where so much natural beauty round thee smiled.
'What man so worldly-wise, or chill'd by age,
Who, bending o'er the faint descriptive page,
Recals not such a scene in some falr nook--
(Whereon his eyes, perchance, no more shall look
Some hawthorn copse, some gnarl'd majestic tree,
The favourite play-place of his infancy?
Who has not felt for Cowper's sweet lament,
When twelve years' course their cruel change had sent;
When his fell'd poplars gave no further shade,
And low on earth the blackbird's nest was laid;
When in a desert sunshine, bare and blank,
Lay the green field and river's mossy bank;
And melody of bird or branch no more
Rose with the breeze that swept along the shore?
'Few are the hearts, (nor theirs of kindliest frame,)
On whom fair Nature holds not such a claim;
And oft, in after-life, some simple thing--
A bank of primroses in early Spring--
The tender scent which hidden violets yield--
The sight of cowslips in a meadow-field--
Or young laburnum's pendant yellow chain--
May bring the favourite play-place back again!
Our youthful mates are gone; some dead, some changed,
With whom that pleasant spot was gladly ranged;
Ourselves, perhaps, more alter'd e'en than they--
But there still blooms the blossom-showering May;
There still along the hedge-row's verdant line
The linnet sings, the thorny brambles twine;
Still in the copse a troop of merry elves
Shout--the gay image of our former selves;
And still, with sparkling eyes and eager hands,
Some rosy urchin high on tiptoe stands,
And plucks the ripest berries from the bough--
Which tempts a different generation now!
'What though no real beauty haunt that spot,
By graver minds beheld and noticed not?
Can we forget that once to our young eyes
It wore the aspect of a Paradise?
No; still around its hallow'd precinct lives
The fond mysterious charm that memory gives;
The man recals the feelings of the boy,
And clothes the meanest flower with freshness and with joy.
'Nor think by older hearts forgotten quite
Love's whisper'd words; youth's sweet and strange delight!
They live--though after-memories fade away;
They live--to cheer life's slow declining day;
Haunting the widow by her lonely hearth,
As, meekly smiling at her childrcn's mirth,
She spreads her fair thin hands towards the fire,
To seek the warmth their slacken'd veins require:
Or gladdening her to whom Heaven's mercy spares
Her old companion with his silver hairs;
And while he dozes--changed, and dull, and weak--
And his hush'd grandchild signs, but dares not speak,--
Bidding her watch, with many a tender smile,
The wither'd form which slumbers all the while.
'Yes! sweet the voice of those we loved! the tone
Which cheers our memory as we sit alone,
And will not leave us; the o'er-mastering force,
Whose under-current's strange and hidden course
Bids some chance word, by colder hearts forgot,
Return--and still return--yet weary not
The ear which wooes its sameness! How, when Death
Hath stopp'd with ruthless hand some precious breath,
The memory of the voice he hath destroy'd
Lives in our souls, as in an aching void!
How, through the varying fate of after-years,
When stifled sorrow weeps but casual tears,
If some stray tone seem like the voice we knew,
The heart leaps up with answer faint and true!
Greeting again that sweet, long-vanish'd sound,
As, in earth's nooks of ever-haunted ground,
Strange accident, or man's capricious will,
Wakes the lone echoes, and they answer still!
'Oh! what a shallow fable cheats the age,
When the lost lover, on the motley stage,
Wrapp'd from his mistress in some quaint disguise,
Deceives her ear, because he cheats her eyes!
Rather, if all could fade which charm'd us first,--
If, by some magic stroke, some plague-spot cursed,
All outward semblance left the form beloved
A wreck unrecognised, and half disproved,
At the dear sound of that familiar voice
Her waken'd heart should tremble and rejoice,
Leap to its faith at once,--and spurn the doubt
Which, on such showing, barr'd his welcome out!
'And if even words are sweet, what, what is song,
When lips we love, the melody prolong?
How thrills the soul, and vibrates to that lay,
Swells with the glorious sound, or dies away!
How, to the cadence of the simplest words
That ever hung upon the wild harp's chords,
The breathless heart lies listening; as it felt
All life within it on that music dwelt,
And hush'd the beating pulse's rapid power
By its own will, for that enchanted hour!
'Ay! then to those who love the science well,
Music becomes a passion and a spell!
Music, the tender child of rudest times,
The gentle native of all lands and climes;
Who hymns alike man's cradle and his grave,
Lulls the low cot, or peals along the nave;
Cheers the poor peasant, who his native hills
With wild Tyrolean echoes sweetly fills;
Inspires the Indian's low monotonous chant,
Weaves skilful melodies for Luxury's haunt;
And still, through all these changes, lives the same,
Spirit without a home, without a name,
Coming, where all is discord, strife, and sin,
To prove some innate harmony within
Our listening souls; and lull the heaving breast
With the dim vision of an unknown rest!
'But, dearest child, though many a joy be given
By the pure bounty of all-pitying Heaven,--
Though sweet emotions in our hearts have birth,
As flowers are spangled on the lap of earth,--
Though, with the flag of Hope and Triumph hung
High o'er our heads, we start when life is young,
And onward cheer'd, by sense, and sight, and sound,
Like a launch'd bark, we enter with a bound;
Yet must the dark cloud lour, the tempest fall,
And the same chance of shipwreck waits for all.
Happy are they who leave the harbouring land
Not for a summer voyage, hand in hand,
Pleasure's light slaves; but with an earnest eye
Exploring all the future of their sky;
That so, when Life's career at length is past,
To the right haven they may steer at last,
And safe from hidden rock, or open gale,
Lay by the oar, and furl the slacken'd sail,--
To anchor deeply on that tranquil shore
Where vexing storms can never reach them more!
'Wouldst thou be singled out by partial Heaven
The ONE to whom a cloudless lot is given?
Look round the world, and see what fate is there,
Which justice can pronounce exempt from care:
Though bright they bloom to empty outward show,
There lurks in each some canker-worm of woe;
Still by some thorn the onward step is cross'd,
Nor least repining those who're envied most:
The poor have struggling, toil, and wounded pride,
Which seeks, and seeks in vain, its rags to hide;
The rich, cold jealousies, intrigues, and strife,
And heart-sick discontent which poisons life;
The loved are parted by the hand of Death,
The hated live to curse each other's breath:
The wealthy noble mourns the want of heirs;
While, each the object of incessant prayers,
Gay, hardy sons, around the widow's board,
With careless smiles devour her scanty hoard;
And hear no sorrow in her stifled sigh,
And see no terror in her anxious eye,--
While she in fancy antedates the time
When, scatter'd far and wide in many a clime,
These heirs to nothing but their Father's name
Must earn their bread, and struggle hard for fame;
To sultry India sends her fair-hair'd boy--
Sees the dead desk another's youth employ--
And parts with one to sail the uncertain main,
Never perhaps on earth to meet again!
'Nor ev'n does Love, whose fresh and radiant beam
Gave added brightness to thy wandering dream,
Preserve from bitter touch of ills unknown,
But rather brings strange sorrows of its own.
Various the ways in which our souls are tried;
Love often fails where most our faith relied;
Some wayward heart may win, without a thought,
That which thine own by sacrifice had bought;
May carelessly aside the treasure cast,
And yet be madly worshipp'd to the last;
Whilst thou, forsaken, grieving, left to pine,
Vainly may'st claim his plighted faith as thine;
Vainly his idol's charms with thine compare,
And know thyself as young, as bright, as fair;
Vainly in jealous pangs consume thy day,
And waste the sleepless night in tears away;
Vainly with forced indulgence strive to smile
In the cold world, heart-broken all the while,
Or from its glittering and unquiet crowd,
Thy brain on fire, thy spirit crush'd and bow'd,
Creep home unnoticed, there to weep alone,
Mock'd by a claim which gives thee not thine own,
Which leaves thee bound through all thy blighted youth
To him whose perjured soul hath broke its truth;
While the just world, beholding thee bereft,
Scorns--not his sin--but thee, for being left!
'Ah! never to the Sensualist appeal,
Nor deem his frozen bosom aught can feel.
Affection, root of all fond memories,
Which bids what once hath charm'd for ever please
He knows not: all thy beauty could inspire
Was but a sentiment of low desire:
If from thy check the roses hue be gone,
How should love stay which loved for that alone?
Or, if thy youthful face be still as bright
As when it first entranced his eager sight,
Thou art the same; there is thy fault, thy crime,
Which fades the charms yet spared by rapid Time.
Talk to him of the happy days gone by,
Conceal'd aversion chills his shrinking eye:
While in thine agony thou still dost rave,
Impatient wishes doom thee to the grave;
And if his cold and selfish thought had power
T' accelerate the fatal final hour,
The silent murder were already done,
And thy white tomb would glitter in the sun.
What wouldst thou hold by? What is it to him
That for his sake thy weeping eyes are dim?
His pall'd and wearied senses rove apart,
And for his heart--thou never hadst his heart.
'True, there is better love, whose balance just
Mingles Soul's instinct with our grosser dust,
And leaves affection, strengthening day by day,
Firm to assault, impervious to decay.
To such, a star of hope thy love shall be
Whose stedfast light he still desires to see;
And age shall vainly mar thy beauty's grace,
Or wantons plot to steal into thy place,
Or wild Temptation, from her hidden bowers,
Fling o'er his path her bright but poisonous flowers,--
Dearer to him than all who thus beguile,
Thy faded face, and thy familiar smile;
Thy glance, which still hath welcomed him for years
Now bright with gladness, and now dim with tears!
And if (for we are weak) division come
On wings of discord to that happy home,
Soon is the painful hour of anger past,
Too sharp, too strange an agony to last;
And, like some river's bright abundant tide
Which art or accident hath forced aside,
The well-springs of affection, gushing o'er,
Back to their natural channels flow once more.
'Ah! sad it is when one thus link'd departs!
When Death, that mighty severer of true hearts,
Sweeps through the halls so lately loud in mirth,
And leaves pale Sorrow weeping by the hearth!
Bitter it is to wander there alone,
To fill the vacant place, the empty chair,
With a dear vision of the loved one gone,
And start to see it vaguely melt in air!
Bitter to find all joy that once hath been
Double its value when 'tis pass'd away,--
To feel the blow which Time should make less keen
Increase its burden each successive day,--
To need good counsel, and to miss the voice,
The ever trusted, and the ever true,
Whose tones were wont to cheer our faltering choice,
And show what holy Virtue bade us do,--
To bear deep wrong, and bow the widow'd head
In helpless anguish, no one to defend;
Or worse,--in lieu of him, the kindly dead,
Claim faint assistance from some lukewarm friend,--
Yet scarce perceive the extent of all our loss
Till the fresh tomb be green with gathering moss--
Till many a morn have met our sadden'd eyes
With none to say 'Good morrow;'--many an eve
Sent its red glory through the tranquil skies,
Each bringing with it deeper cause to grieve!
'This is a destiny which may be thine--
The common grief: God will'd it should be mine:
Short was the course our happy love had run,
And hard it was to say 'Thy will be done!'
'Yet those whom man, not God, hath parted, know
A heavier pang, a more enduring woe;
No softening memory mingles with their tears,
Still the wound rankles on through dreary years,
Still the heart feels, in bitterest hours of blame,
It dares not curse the long-familiar name;
Still, vainly free, through many a cheerless day,
From weaker ties turns helplessly away,
Sick for the smiles that bless'd its home of yore,
The natural joys of life that come no more;
And, all bewildered by the abyss, whose gloom
Dark and impassable as is the tomb,
Lies stretch'd between the future and the past,--
Sinks into deep and cold despair at last.
'Heaven give thee poverty, disease, or death,
Each varied ill that waits on human breath,
Rather than bid thee linger out thy life
In the long toil of such unnatural strife.
To wander through the world unreconciled,
Heart weary as a spirit-broken child,
And think it were an hour of bliss like heaven
If thou could'st die--forgiving and forgiven,--
Or with a feverish hope, of anguish born,
(Nerving thy mind to feel indigant scorn
Of all the cruel foes who 'twixt ye stand,
Holding thy heartstrngs with a reckless hand,)
Steal to his presence, now unseen so long,
And claim his mercy who hath dealt the wrong!
Into the aching depths of thy poor heart
Dive, as it were, even to the roots of pain,
And wrench up thoughts that tear thy soul apart,
And burn like fire through thy bewilder'd brain.
Clothe them in passionate words of wild appeal
To teach thy fellow-creature how to feel,--
Pray, weep, exhaust thyself in maddening tears,--
Recal the hopes, the influences of years,--
Kneel, dash thyself upon the senseless ground,
Writhe as the worm writhes with dividing wound,--
Invoke the heaven that knows thy sorrow's truth,
By all the softening memories of youth--
By every hope that cheer'd thine earlier day--
By every tear that washes wrath away--
By every old remembrance long gone by--
By every pang that makes thee yearn to die;
And learn at length how deep and stern a blow
Near hands can strike, and yet no pity show!
'Oh! weak to suffer, savage to inflict,
Is man's commingling nature; hear him now
Some transient trial of his life depict,
Hear him in holy rites a suppliant bow;
See him shrink back from sickness and from pain,
And in his sorrow to his God complain;
'Remit my trespass, spare my sin,' he cries,
'All-merciful, Almighty, and All-wise;
Quench this affliction's bitter whelming tide,
Draw out thy barbed arrow from my side:'--
--And rises from that mockery of prayer
To hale some brother-debtor to despair!
'May this be spared thee! Yet be sure, my child,
(Howe'er that dream thy fancy hath beguiled,)
Some sorrow lurks to cloud thy future fate;
Thy share of tears,--come early or come late,--
Must still be shed; and 'twere as vain a thing
To ask of Nature one perpetual spring
As to evade those sad autumnal hours,
Or deem thy path of life should bloom, all flowers.'
She ceased: and that fair maiden heard the truth
With the fond passionate despair of youth,
Which, new to suffering, gives its sorrow vent
In outward signs and bursts of wild lament:--
'If this be so, then, mother, let me die
Ere yet the glow hath faded from my sky!
Let me die young; before the holy trust
In human kindness crumbles into dust;
Before I suffer what I have not earn'd,
Or see by treachery my truth return'd;
Before the love I live for, fades away;
Before the hopes I cherish'd most, decay;
Lotus leaves in the pond
Lotus leaves in the pond
Ride on water.
Rain in June.
The Best Among Them
Open my eyes so that i may see;
For all around me are fruits of love and,
I want to choose the best among them.
Early Works - Leaves On The Ground
The sun was shining brightly
the moon was high in the sky
the snow fell gently to the earth
the wind whips up the leaves
the leaves on the ground.
Heaps And Heaps Of Leaves Under The Trees One Early Morning
I see. Too many words
sentence upon sentence
i become less and less
of what i am.
Look up the hill
a tree as bald as the leaves
that the winds had taken.
It is dead.
Beds To The Front Of Them
'Beds to the front of them,
Beds to the right of them,
Beds to the left of them,
Beamed at by hungry souls,
Screamed at with brimming bowls,
Steamed at by army rolls,
Buttered and sundered.
With coffee not cannon plied,
Each must be satisfied,
Whether they lived or died;
All the men wondered.'
The Produce From Them
Your love is as in the days of old,
So plant vineyards and drink from them my sweet one;
Because i will fly as high as an eagle to reach out to your love!
Make gardens of love and eat the produce from them,
For the pride of the hearts have deceived many around us!
But when one fruit is ripe,
Another one will follow to satisfy us with the peace around.
And Who Is The Poorest Of Them All?
not the one without a cent in his pocket
not the one without a potato on their table
not the one who lost his house to fire
not the one who lost his parents in the war
not the one who did not finish his education
not the one without a job
the poorest of them all is the one without hope.
the one who does not love
the one who has stopped yielding his fruits.
The Traffic- Jam Poem
THE TRAFFIC- JAM POEM
There is no end to waiting
Time is as infinite
“This too shall pass”
As everything does.
But in the middle
In the neartime waiting
It seems we are all
Slowly slowly slowly
Unable to know
The way out
Or the way in
By the world which surrounds us
Lost and alone
In the massive and meaningless multitude.
Picture of the Past
It wasn’t yesterday, but long ago
Autumn trees with a backdropp of cloudless sky
Like an ocean of endless blue nothingness
Rust-colored leaves blanketed the ground
A painted picture in my mind
She looks up smiling in her clover green dress
The sound of his laugh,
Better than acoustic guitar
This memory is happiness
I close my eyes and there I am again
A changed person now
New hopes, new dreams
Fearless and matured
Everything changes, but it is always the same sky
Connecting past with the present
I look up and I am there once again
If the foolish, call them "flowers"
If the foolish, call them "flowers"—
Need the wiser, tell?
If the Savants "Classify" them
It is just as well!
Those who read the "Revelations"
Must not criticize
Those who read the same Edition—
With beclouded Eyes!
Could we stand with that Old "Moses"—
Scan like him, the stately landscape
On the other side—
Doubtless, we should deem superfluous
Not pursued by learned Angels
In scholastic skies!
Low amid that glad Belles lettres
Grant that we may stand,
Stars, amid profound Galaxies—
At that grand "Right hand"!
Between The Two Of Them
They married back in '32
They were young and love was new
And every day the feeling grew
Between the two of them
When work grew scarce and times got bad
The hope would chase away the sad
And hope was sometimes all they had
Between the two of them
The 40's came and the 50's went
And the mortgage replaced the rent
They made the most of each day spent
Between the two of them
Their children all turned out just fine
So he retired in '69
And left with oh so, little time
Between the two of them
Today I brave the graveyard rain
And placed a rose between their names
Now that's the most that ever came
Between the two of them
And though I miss them oh so much
His crooked smile her gentle touch
And the pleasure of just growing up
Between the two of them...
Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
Dead leaves and the dirty ground
when I know you're not around
shiny tops and soda pops
when I hear your lips make a sound
Thirty notes in the mailbox
will tell you that I'm coming home
and I think I'm gonna stick around
for a while so you're not alone
If you can hear a piano fall
you can hear me coming down the hall
if I could just hear your pretty voice
I don't think I need to see at all
Soft hair and a velvet tongue
I want to give you what you give to me
and every breath that is in your lungs
is a tiny little gift to me
I didn't feel so bad till the sun went down
then I come home
no one to wrap my arms around
Well any man with a microphone
can tell you what he loves the most
and you know why you love at all
if you're thinking of the holy ghost
In The Hopes To Them An Attention Is Given
I am not one into pretense.
Or those with expertise in playing,
With a determination to place fault.
And a seeking someone to blame.
Nor am I into petty.
Petty people quickly peep,
Into affairs not theirs.
With embellishing exaggerations.
In the hopes to them an attention is given.
And for some reason these people believe,
Their childish ways are attractive.
With accusations on their lips,
To find something done to them offensive.
And create it to share if not there.
I am not one into pretense.
Or those with expertise in playing,
And I accept being portrayed,
Since petty people quickly peep,
Into affairs not theirs.
And my affairs are my own business.
Private and peaceful,
To keep away from public ears.
Lone Yellow Flower Waves In The Open Fields
lone yellow flower
waves in the open fields
bowing according to the tune
among the sea of green;
lone yellow flower has no one to blame
and it seeks none to praise
for it knows all life comes in
when the conditions are right;
lone yellow flower knows
death comes in like the wind;
lone yellow flower
is never alone
for it is a part of the expression
of the earth and time and the universe;
lone yellow flower sees what is before and around
lone yellow flower observes what is within and about
and so lone yellow flower lives with no delusions
no beliefs of heaven and hell
fears none and does not live or die
to please or amuse or appease;
and lone yellow flower
blossoms and shines
and shrivels and ceases
with what actually is;
lone yellow flower
waves in the open fields
bowing according to the tune
among the sea of green
The Stinging of Them That Stuns
When examining the shell of one's being,
It is the core within of experiences...
That is applying the scan doing the sizing up.
And those choosing to judge a book by its cover,
Are the very ones...
Whose minds are corrupt.
And programmed to think in terms...
Of one's good and bad luck.
Everything based on one's physical taste,
Says a lot about one's waste of thought.
And a consciousness limited to value things,
Is a mind that can be easily swayed...
With a shallowness that is diminished free,
Of any signs of having an honesty!
And conditioned to be deceiving.
And not believing...
There are those amongst them,
Who are spiritually here...
Just to be righteous in judgement.
And provide performances of good deed.
With the teaching to humanity,
Of how this is done...
To overcome their troubles!
And the stinging of them that stuns.