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The Second Book of Modern Verse

Part 2 out of 5

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Petals that fell so soft and slowly,
Fragrant snows on the grasses lowly,
Gathered now would I call you holy
Ever to eyes once blind.

In the pine-sweet valley of Carmel the cream-cups scatter in foam.
Azures of early lupin there!
Now the wild lilac floods the air
Like a broken honey-comb.
So could the flowers of Paradise
Pour their souls to the morning skies;
So like a ghost your fragrance lies
On the path that once led home.

On the emerald hills of Carmel the spring and winter have met.
Here I find in a gentled spot
The frost of the wild forget-me-not,
And -- I cannot forget.
Heart once light as the floating feather
Borne aloft in the sunny weather,
Spring and winter have come together --
Shall you and she meet yet?

On the rocks and beaches of Carmel the surf is mighty to-day.
Breaker and lifting billow call
To the high, blue Silence over all
With the word no heart can say.
Time-to-be, shall I hear it ever?
Time-that-is, with the hands that sever,
Cry all words but the dreadful "Never"!
And name of her far away.

Music I heard. [Conrad Aiken]

Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread;
Now that I am without you, all is desolate;
All that was once so beautiful is dead.

Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved, --
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.

For it was in my heart you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes;
And in my heart they will remember always, --
They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.

Dusk at Sea. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.]

To-night eternity alone is near:
The sea, the sunset, and the darkening blue;
Within their shelter is no space for fear,
Only the wonder that such things are true.

The thought of you is like the dusk at sea --
Space and wide freedom and old shores left far,
The shelter of a lone immensity
Sealed by the sunset and the evening star.

Old Ships. [David Morton]

There is a memory stays upon old ships,
A weightless cargo in the musty hold, --
Of bright lagoons and prow-caressing lips,
Of stormy midnights, -- and a tale untold.
They have remembered islands in the dawn,
And windy capes that tried their slender spars,
And tortuous channels where their keels have gone,
And calm blue nights of stillness and the stars.

Ah, never think that ships forget a shore,
Or bitter seas, or winds that made them wise;
There is a dream upon them, evermore; --
And there be some who say that sunk ships rise
To seek familiar harbors in the night,
Blowing in mists, their spectral sails like light.

The Wanderer. [Zoe Akins]

The ships are lying in the bay,
The gulls are swinging round their spars;
My soul as eagerly as they
Desires the margin of the stars.

So much do I love wandering,
So much I love the sea and sky,
That it will be a piteous thing
In one small grave to lie.

Harbury. [Louise Driscoll]

All the men of Harbury go down to the sea in ships,
The wind upon their faces, the salt upon their lips.

The little boys of Harbury when they are laid to sleep,
Dream of masts and cabins and the wonders of the deep.

The women-folk of Harbury have eyes like the sea,
Wide with watching wonder, deep with mystery.

I met a woman: "Beyond the bar," she said,
"Beyond the shallow water where the green lines spread,

"Out beyond the sand-bar and the white spray,
My three sons wait for the Judgment Day."

I saw an old man who goes to sea no more,
Watch from morn till evening down on the shore.

"The sea's a hard mistress," the old man said;
"The sea is always hungry and never full fed.

"The sea had my father and took my son from me --
Sometimes I think I see them, walking on the sea!

"I'd like to be in Harbury on the Judgment Day,
When the word is spoken and the sea is wiped away,

"And all the drowned fisher boys, with sea-weed in their hair,
Rise and walk to Harbury to greet the women there.

"I'd like to be in Harbury to see the souls arise,
Son and mother hand in hand, lovers with glad eyes.

"I think there would be many who would turn and look with me,
Hoping for another glimpse of the cruel sea!

"They tell me that in Paradise the fields are green and still,
With pleasant flowers everywhere that all may take who will,

"And four great rivers flowing from out the Throne of God
That no one ever drowns in and souls may cross dry-shod.

"I think among those wonders there will be men like me,
Who miss the old salt danger of the singing sea.

"For in my heart, like some old shell, inland, safe and dry,
Any one who harks will still hear the sea cry."

A Lynmouth Widow. [Amelia Josephine Burr]

He was straight and strong, and his eyes were blue
As the summer meeting of sky and sea,
And the ruddy cliffs had a colder hue
Than flushed his cheek when he married me.

We passed the porch where the swallows breed,
We left the little brown church behind,
And I leaned on his arm, though I had no need,
Only to feel him so strong and kind.

One thing I never can quite forget;
It grips my throat when I try to pray --
The keen salt smell of a drying net
That hung on the churchyard wall that day.

He would have taken a long, long grave --
A long, long grave, for he stood so tall . . .
Oh, God, the crash of a breaking wave,
And the smell of the nets on the churchyard wall!

City Roofs. [Charles Hanson Towne]

Roof-tops, roof-tops, what do you cover?
Sad folk, bad folk, and many a glowing lover;
Wise people, simple people, children of despair --
Roof-tops, roof-tops, hiding pain and care.

Roof-tops, roof-tops, O what sin you're knowing,
While above you in the sky the white clouds are blowing;
While beneath you, agony and dolor and grim strife
Fight the olden battle, the olden war of Life.

Roof-tops, roof-tops, cover up their shame --
Wretched souls, prisoned souls too piteous to name;
Man himself hath built you all to hide away the stars --
Roof-tops, roof-tops, you hide ten million scars.

Roof-tops, roof-tops, well I know you cover
Many solemn tragedies and many a lonely lover;
But ah, you hide the good that lives in the throbbing city --
Patient wives, and tenderness, forgiveness, faith, and pity.

Roof-tops, roof-tops, this is what I wonder:
You are thick as poisonous plants, thick the people under;
Yet roofless, and homeless, and shelterless they roam,
The driftwood of the town who have no roof-top and no home!

Eye-Witness. [Ridgely Torrence]

Down by the railroad in a green valley
By dancing water, there he stayed awhile
Singing, and three men with him, listeners,
All tramps, all homeless reapers of the wind,
Motionless now and while the song went on
Transfigured into mages thronged with visions;
There with the late light of the sunset on them
And on clear water spinning from a spring
Through little cones of sand dancing and fading,
Close beside pine woods where a hermit thrush
Cast, when love dazzled him, shadows of music
That lengthened, fluting, through the singer's pauses
While the sure earth rolled eastward bringing stars
Over the singer and the men that listened
There by the roadside, understanding all.

A train went by but nothing seemed to be changed.
Some eye at a car window must have flashed
From the plush world inside the glassy Pullman,
Carelessly bearing off the scene forever,
With idle wonder what the men were doing,
Seeing they were so strangely fixed and seeing
Torn papers from their smeary dreary meal
Spread on the ground with old tomato cans
Muddy with dregs of lukewarm chicory,
Neglected while they listened to the song.
And while he sang the singer's face was lifted,
And the sky shook down a soft light upon him
Out of its branches where like fruits there were
Many beautiful stars and planets moving,
With lands upon them, rising from their seas,
Glorious lands with glittering sands upon them,
With soils of gold and magic mould for seeding,
The shining loam of lands afoam with gardens
On mightier stars with giant rains and suns
There in the heavens; but on none of all
Was there ground better than he stood upon:
There was no world there in the sky above him
Deeper in promise than the earth beneath him
Whose dust had flowered up in him the singer
And three men understanding every word.

The Tramp Sings:

I will sing, I will go, and never ask me "Why?"
I was born a rover and a passer-by.

I seem to myself like water and sky,
A river and a rover and a passer-by.

But in the winter three years back
We lit us a night fire by the track,

And the snow came up and the fire it flew
And we couldn't find the warming room for two.

One had to suffer, so I left him the fire
And I went to the weather from my heart's desire.

It was night on the line, it was no more fire,
But the zero whistle through the icy wire.

As I went suffering through the snow
Something like a shadow came moving slow.

I went up to it and I said a word;
Something flew above it like a kind of bird.

I leaned in closer and I saw a face;
A light went round me but I kept my place.

My heart went open like an apple sliced;
I saw my Saviour and I saw my Christ.

Well, you may not read it in a book,
But it takes a gentle Saviour to give a gentle look.

I looked in his eyes and I read the news;
His heart was having the railroad blues.

Oh, the railroad blues will cost you dear,
Keeps you moving on for something that you don't see here.

We stood and whispered in a kind of moon;
The line was looking like May and June.

I found he was a roamer and a journey man
Looking for a lodging since the night began.

He went to the doors but he didn't have the pay.
He went to the windows, then he went away.

Says, "We'll walk together and we'll both be fed."
Says, "I will give you the `other' bread."

Oh, the bread he gave and without money!
O drink, O fire, O burning honey!

It went all through me like a shining storm:
I saw inside me, it was light and warm.

I saw deep under and I saw above,
I saw the stars weighed down with love.

They sang that love to burning birth,
They poured that music to the earth.

I heard the stars sing low like mothers.
He said: "Now look, and help feed others."

I looked around, and as close as touch
Was everybody that suffered much.

They reached out, there was darkness only;
They could not see us, they were lonely.

I saw the hearts that deaths took hold of,
With the wounds bare that were not told of;

Hearts with things in them making gashes;
Hearts that were choked with their dreams' ashes;

Women in front of the rolled-back air,
Looking at their breasts and nothing there;

Good men wasting and trapped in hells;
Hurt lads shivering with the fare-thee-wells.

I saw them as if something bound them;
I stood there but my heart went round them.

I begged him not to let me see them wasted.
Says, "Tell them then what you have tasted."

Told him I was weak as a rained-on bee;
Told him I was lost. -- Says: "Lean on me."

Something happened then I could not tell,
But I knew I had the water for every hell.

Any other thing it was no use bringing;
They needed what the stars were singing,

What the whole sky sang like waves of light,
The tune that it danced to, day and night.

Oh, I listened to the sky for the tune to come;
The song seemed easy, but I stood there dumb.

The stars could feel me reaching through them
They let down light and drew me to them.

I stood in the sky in a light like day,
Drinking in the word that all things say

Where the worlds hang growing in clustered shapes
Dripping the music like wine from grapes.

With "Love, Love, Love," above the pain,
-- The vine-like song with its wine-like rain.

Through heaven under heaven the song takes root
Of the turning, burning, deathless fruit.

I came to the earth and the pain so near me,
I tried that song but they couldn't hear me.

I went down into the ground to grow,
A seed for a song that would make men know.

Into the ground from my roamer's light
I went; he watched me sink to night.

Deep in the ground from my human grieving,
His pain ploughed in me to believing.

Oh, he took earth's pain to be his bride,
While the heart of life sang in his side.

For I felt that pain, I took its kiss,
My heart broke into dust with his.

Then sudden through the earth I found life springing;
The dust men trampled on was singing.

Deep in my dust I felt its tones;
The roots of beauty went round my bones.

I stirred, I rose like a flame, like a river,
I stood on the line, I could sing forever.

Love had pierced into my human sheathing,
Song came out of me simple as breathing.

A freight came by, the line grew colder,
He laid his hand upon my shoulder.

Says, "Don't stay on the line such nights,"
And led me by the hand to the station lights.

I asked him in front of the station-house wall
If he had lodging. Says, "None at all."

I pointed to my heart and looked in his face. --
"Here, -- if you haven't got a better place."

He looked and he said: "Oh, we still must roam
But if you'll keep it open, well, I'll call it `home'."

The thrush now slept whose pillow was his wing.
So the song ended and the four remained
Still in the faint starshine that silvered them,
While the low sound went on of broken water
Out of the spring and through the darkness flowing
Over a stone that held it from the sea.
Whether the men spoke after could not be told,
A mist from the ground so veiled them, but they waited
A little longer till the moon came up;
Then on the gilded track leading to the mountains,
Against the moon they faded in common gold
And earth bore East with all toward the new morning.

God's Acre. [Witter Bynner]

Because we felt there could not be
A mowing in reality
So white and feathery-blown and gay
With blossoms of wild caraway,
I said to Celia, "Let us trace
The secret of this pleasant place!"

We knew some deeper beauty lay
Below the bloom of caraway,
And when we bent the white aside
We came to paupers who had died:
Rough wooden shingles row on row,
And God's name written there -- `John Doe'.

General William Booth Enters into Heaven. [Vachel Lindsay]

(To be sung to the tune of `The Blood of the Lamb' with indicated instrument)


(Bass drum beaten loudly)

Booth led boldly with his big bass drum --
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
The Saints smiled gravely and they said: "He's come."
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Walking lepers followed, rank on rank,
Lurching bravoes from the ditches dank,
Drabs from the alleyways and drug fiends pale --
Minds still passion-ridden, soul-powers frail: --
Vermin-eaten saints with mouldy breath,
Unwashed legions with the ways of Death --
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)


Every slum had sent its half-a-score
The round world over. (Booth had groaned for more.)
Every banner that the wide world flies
Bloomed with glory and transcendent dyes.
Big-voiced lasses made their banjos bang,
Tranced, fanatical, they shrieked and sang: --
"Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"
Hallelujah! It was queer to see
Bull-necked convicts with that land make free.
Loons with trumpets blowed a blare, blare, blare,
On, on upward thro' the golden air!
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)


(Bass drum slower and softer)

Booth died blind and still by Faith he trod,
Eyes still dazzled by the ways of God.
Booth led boldly, and he looked the chief,
Eagle countenance in sharp relief,
Beard a-flying, air of high command
Unabated in that holy land.

(Sweet flute music)

Jesus came from out the court-house door,
Stretched his hands above the passing poor.
Booth saw not, but led his queer ones there
Round and round the mighty court-house square.
Yet in an instant all that blear review
Marched on spotless, clad in raiment new.
The lame were straightened, withered limbs uncurled
And blind eyes opened on a new, sweet world.

(Bass drum louder)

Drabs and vixens in a flash made whole!
Gone was the weasel-head, the snout, the jowl!
Sages and sibyls now, and athletes clean,
Rulers of empires and of forests green!

(Grand chorus of all instruments. Tambourines to the foreground)

The hosts were sandalled, and their wings were fire!
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
But their noise played havoc with the angel-choir
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
O, shout Salvation! It was good to see
Kings and Princes by the Lamb set free.
The banjos rattled and the tambourines
Jing-jing-jingled in the hands of Queens.

(Reverently sung, no instruments)

And when Booth halted by the curb for prayer
He saw his Master thro' the flag-filled air.
Christ came gently with a robe and crown
For Booth the soldier, while the throng knelt down.
He saw King Jesus. They were face to face,
And he knelt a-weeping in that holy place.
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Compensation. [William Ellery Leonard]

I know the sorrows of the last abyss:
I walked the cold black pools without a star;
I lay on rock of unseen flint and spar;
I heard the execrable serpent hiss;
I dreamed of sun, fruit-tree, and virgin's kiss;
I woke alone with midnight near and far,
And everlasting hunger, keen to mar;
But I arose, and my reward is this:
I am no more one more amid the throng:
Though name be naught, and lips forever weak,
I seem to know at last of mighty song;
And with no blush, no tremor on the cheek,
I do claim consort with the great and strong
Who suffered ill and had the gift to speak.

A Girl's Songs. [Mary Carolyn Davies]


I sing of sorrow,
I sing of weeping.
I have no sorrow.

I only borrow
From some tomorrow
Where it lies sleeping,
Enough of sorrow
To sing of weeping.


Heartbreak that is too new
Can not be used to make
Beauty that will startle;
That takes an old heartbreak.

Old heartbreaks are old wine.
Too new to pour is mine.

The Kiss

Your kiss lies on my face
Like the first snow
Upon a summer place.

Bewildered by that wonder,
The grasses tremble under
The thing they do not know.
I tremble even so.


Over and over
I tell the sky:
I am free -- I!

Over and over I tell the sea:
-- I am free!

Over and over I tell my lover
I am free, free!
Over and over.

But when the night comes black and cold,
I who am young, with fear grow old;
And I know, when the world is clear of sound,
I am bound -- bound.

The Enchanted Sheepfold. [Josephine Preston Peabody]

The hills far-off were blue, blue,
The hills at hand were brown;
And all the herd-bells called to me
As I came by the down.

The briars turned to roses, roses;
Ever we stayed to pull
A white little rose, and a red little rose,
And a lock of silver wool.

Nobody heeded, -- none, none;
And when True Love came by,
They thought him naught but the shepherd-boy.
Nobody knew but I!

The trees were feathered like birds, birds;
Birds were in every tree.
Yet nobody heeded, nobody heard,
Nobody knew, save me.

And he is fairer than all -- all.
How could a heart go wrong?
For his eyes I knew, and his knew mine,
Like an old, old song.

Where Love is. [Amelia Josephine Burr]

By the rosy cliffs of Devon, on a green hill's crest,
I would build me a house as a swallow builds its nest;
I would curtain it with roses, and the wind should breathe to me
The sweetness of the roses and the saltness of the sea.

Where the Tuscan olives whiten in the hot blue day,
I would hide me from the heat in a little hut of gray,
While the singing of the husbandman should scale my lattice green
From the golden rows of barley that the poppies blaze between.

Narrow is the street, Dear, and dingy are the walls
Wherein I wait your coming as the twilight falls.
All day with dreams I gild the grime till at your step I start --
Ah Love, my country in your arms -- my home upon your heart!

Interlude. [Scudder Middleton]

I am not old, but old enough
To know that you are very young.
It might be said I am the leaf,
And you the blossom newly sprung.

So I shall grow a while with you,
And hear the bee and watch the cloud,
Before the dragon on the branch,
The caterpillar, weaves a shroud.

The Lover envies an Old Man. [Shaemas O Sheel]

I envy the feeble old man
Dozing there in the sun.
When all you can do is done
And life is a shattered plan,
What is there better than
Dozing in the sun?

I could grow very still
Like an old stone on a hill
And content me with the one
Thing that is ever kind,
The tender sun.
I could grow deaf and blind
And never hear her voice,
Nor think I could rejoice
With her in any place;
And I could forget her face,
And love only the sun.
Because when we are tired,
Very very tired,
And cannot again be fired
By any hope,
The sun is so comforting!
A little bird under the wing
Of its mother, is not so warm.
Give me only the scope
Of an old chair
Out in the air,
Let me rest there,
Moving not,
Loving not,
Only dozing my days till my days be done,
Under the sun.

"If you should tire of loving me". [Margaret Widdemer]

If you should tire of loving me
Some one of our far days,
Oh, never start to hide your heart
Or cover thought with praise.

For every word you would not say
Be sure my heart has heard,
So go from me all silently
Without a kiss or word;

For God must give you happiness,
And Oh, it may befall
In listening long to Heaven-song
I may not care at all!

The Flower of Mending. [Vachel Lindsay]

When Dragon-fly would fix his wings,
When Snail would patch his house,
When moths have marred the overcoat
Of tender Mister Mouse,

The pretty creatures go with haste
To the sunlit blue-grass hills
Where the Flower of Mending yields the wax
And webs to help their ills.

The hour the coats are waxed and webbed
They fall into a dream,
And when they wake the ragged robes
Are joined without a seam.

My heart is but a dragon-fly,
My heart is but a mouse,
My heart is but a haughty snail
In a little stony house.

Your hand was honey-comb to heal,
Your voice a web to bind.
You were a Mending Flower to me
To cure my heart and mind.

Venus Transiens. [Amy Lowell]

Tell me,
Was Venus more beautiful
Than you are,
When she topped
The crinkled waves,
Drifting shoreward
On her plaited shell?
Was Botticelli's vision
Fairer than mine;
And were the painted rosebuds
He tossed his lady,
Of better worth
Than the words I blow about you
To cover your too great loveliness
As with a gauze
Of misted silver?

For me,
You stand poised
In the blue and buoyant air,
Cinctured by bright winds,
Treading the sunlight.
And the waves which precede you
Ripple and stir
The sands at your feet.

The Dream of Aengus Og. [Eleanor Rogers Cox]

When the rose of Morn through the Dawn was breaking,
And white on the hearth was last night's flame,
Thither to me 'twixt sleeping and waking,
Singing out of the mists she came.

And grey as the mists on the spectre meadows
Were the eyes that on my eyes she laid,
And her hair's red splendor through the shadows
Like to the marsh-fire gleamed and played.

And she sang of the wondrous far-off places
That a man may only see in dreams,
The death-still, odorous, starlit spaces
Where Time is lost and no life gleams.

And there till the day had its crest uplifted,
She stood with her still face bent on me,
Then forth with the Dawn departing drifted
Light as a foam-fleck on the sea.

And now my heart is the heart of a swallow
That here no solace of rest may find,
Forevermore I follow and follow
Her white feet glancing down the wind.

And forevermore in my ears are ringing --
(Oh, red lips yet shall I kiss you dumb!)
Twain sole words of that May morn's singing,
Calling to me "Hither"! and "Come"!

From flower-bright fields to the wild lake-sedges
Crying my steps when the Day has gone,
Till dim and small down the Night's pale edges
The stars have fluttered one by one.

And light as the thought of a love forgotten,
The hours skim past, while before me flies
That face of the Sun and Mist begotten,
Its singing lips and death-cold eyes.

"I am in Love with High Far-Seeing Places". [Arthur Davison Ficke]

I am in love with high far-seeing places
That look on plains half-sunlight and half-storm, --
In love with hours when from the circling faces
Veils pass, and laughing fellowship glows warm.
You who look on me with grave eyes where rapture
And April love of living burn confessed, --
The Gods are good! The world lies free to capture!
Life has no walls. O take me to your breast!
Take me, -- be with me for a moment's span! --
I am in love with all unveiled faces.
I seek the wonder at the heart of man;
I would go up to the far-seeing places.
While youth is ours, turn toward me for a space
The marvel of your rapture-lighted face!

You. [Ruth Guthrie Harding]

Deep in the heart of me,
Nothing but You!
See through the art of me --
Deep in the heart of me
Find the best part of me,
Changeless and true.
Deep in the heart of me,
Nothing but You!

Choice. [Angela Morgan]

I'd rather have the thought of you
To hold against my heart,
My spirit to be taught of you
With west winds blowing,
Than all the warm caresses
Of another love's bestowing,
Or all the glories of the world
In which you had no part.

I'd rather have the theme of you
To thread my nights and days,
I'd rather have the dream of you
With faint stars glowing,
I'd rather have the want of you,
The rich, elusive taunt of you
Forever and forever and forever unconfessed
Than claim the alien comfort
Of any other's breast.

O lover! O my lover,
That this should come to me!
I'd rather have the hope for you,
Ah, Love, I'd rather grope for you
Within the great abyss
Than claim another's kiss --
Alone I'd rather go my way
Throughout eternity.

Song. [Margaret Steele Anderson]

The bride, she wears a white, white rose -- the plucking it was mine;
The poet wears a laurel wreath -- and I the laurel twine;
And oh, the child, your little child, that's clinging close to you,
It laughs to wear my violets -- they are so sweet and blue!

And I, I have a wreath to wear -- ah, never rue nor thorn!
I sometimes think that bitter wreath could be more sweetly worn!
For mine is made of ghostly bloom, of what I can't forget --
The fallen leaves of other crowns -- rose, laurel, violet!

Romance. [Scudder Middleton]

Why should we argue with the falling dust
Or tremble in the traffic of the days?
Our hearts are music-makers in the clouds,
Our feet are running on the heavenly ways.

We'll go and find the honey of romance
Within the hollow of the sacred tree.
There is a spirit in the eastern sky,
Calling along the dawn to you and me.

She'll lead us to the forest where she hides
The yellow wine that keeps the angels young --
We are the chosen lovers of the earth
For whom alone the golden comb was hung.

Good-Bye. [Norreys Jephson O'Conor]

Good-bye to tree and tower,
To meadow, stream, and hill,
Beneath the white clouds marshalled close
At the wind's will.

Good-bye to the gay garden,
With prim geraniums pied,
And spreading yew trees, old, unchanging
Tho' men have died.

Good-bye to the New Castle,
With granite walls and grey,
And rooms where faded greatness still
Lingers to-day.

To every friend in Mallow,
When I am gone afar,
These words of ancient Celtic hope,
"Peace after war."

I would return to Erin
When all these wars are by,
Live long among her hills before
My last good-bye.

Beyond Rathkelly. [Francis Carlin]

As I went over the Far Hill,
Just beyond Rathkelly,
-- Och, to be on the Far Hill
O'er Newtonstewart Town!
As I went over the Far Hill
With Marget's daughter Nellie,
The night was up and the moon was out,
And a star was falling down.

As I went over the Far Hill,
Just beyond Rathkelly,
-- Och, to be on the Far Hill
Above the Bridge o' Moyle!
As I went over the Far Hill,
With Marget's daughter Nellie,
I made a wish before the star
Had fallen in the Foyle.

As I went over the Far Hill,
Just beyond Rathkelly,
-- Och, to be on the Far Hill
With the hopes that I had then!
As I went over the Far Hill,
I wished for little Nellie,
And if a star were falling now
I'd wish for her again.

A Song of Two Wanderers. [Marguerite Wilkinson]

Dear, when I went with you
To where the town ends,
Simple things that Christ loved --
They were our friends;
Tree shade and grass blade
And meadows in flower;
Sun-sparkle, dew-glisten,
Star-glow and shower;
Cool-flowing song at night
Where the river bends,
And the shingle croons a tune --
These were our friends.

Under us the brown earth
Ancient and strong,
The best bed for wanderers
All the night long;
Over us the blue sky
Ancient and dear,
The best roof to shelter all
Glad wanderers here;
And racing between them there
Falls and ascends
The chantey of the clean winds --
These were our friends.

By day on the broad road
Or on the narrow trail,
Angel wings shadowed us,
Glimmering pale
Through the red heat of noon;
In the twilight of dawn
Fairies broke fast with us;
Prophets led us on,
Heroes were kind to us
Day after happy day;
Many white Madonnas
We met on our way --
~Farmer and longshoreman,
Fisherman and wife,
Children and laborers
Brave enough for Life,
Simple folk that Christ loved --
They were our friends. . . .~

Dear, we must go again
To where the town ends. . . .

In the Mushroom Meadows. [Thomas Walsh]

Sun on the dewy grasslands where late the frost hath shone,
And lo, what elfin cities are these we come upon!
What pigmy domes and thatches, what Arab caravan,
What downy-roofed pagodas that have known no touch of man!
Are these the oldtime meadows? Yes, the wildgrape scents the air;
The breath of ripened orchards still is incense everywhere;
Yet do these dawn-encampments bring the lurking memories
Of Egypt and of Burma and the shores of China Seas.

The Path that leads to Nowhere. [Corinne Roosevelt Robinson]

There's a path that leads to Nowhere
In a meadow that I know,
Where an inland island rises
And the stream is still and slow;
There it wanders under willows
And beneath the silver green
Of the birches' silent shadows
Where the early violets lean.

Other pathways lead to Somewhere,
But the one I love so well
Had no end and no beginning --
Just the beauty of the dell,
Just the windflowers and the lilies
Yellow striped as adder's tongue,
Seem to satisfy my pathway
As it winds their sweets among.

There I go to meet the Springtime,
When the meadow is aglow,
Marigolds amid the marshes, --
And the stream is still and slow. --
There I find my fair oasis,
And with care-free feet I tread
For the pathway leads to Nowhere,
And the blue is overhead!

All the ways that lead to Somewhere
Echo with the hurrying feet
Of the Struggling and the Striving,
But the way I find so sweet
Bids me dream and bids me linger,
Joy and Beauty are its goal, --
On the path that leads to Nowhere
I have sometimes found my soul!

Days. [Karle Wilson Baker]

Some days my thoughts are just cocoons -- all cold, and dull, and blind,
They hang from dripping branches in the grey woods of my mind;

And other days they drift and shine -- such free and flying things!
I find the gold-dust in my hair, left by their brushing wings.

Ellis Park. [Helen Hoyt]

Little park that I pass through,
I carry off a piece of you
Every morning hurrying down
To my work-day in the town;
Carry you for country there
To make the city ways more fair.
I take your trees,
And your breeze,
Your greenness,
Your cleanness,
Some of your shade, some of your sky,
Some of your calm as I go by;
Your flowers to trim
The pavements grim;
Your space for room in the jostled street
And grass for carpet to my feet.
Your fountains take and sweet bird calls
To sing me from my office walls.
All that I can see
I carry off with me.
But you never miss my theft,
So much treasure you have left.
As I find you, fresh at morning,
So I find you, home returning --
Nothing lacking from your grace.
All your riches wait in place
For me to borrow
On the morrow.

Do you hear this praise of you,
Little park that I pass through?

A Note from the Pipes. [Leonora Speyer]

Pan, blow your pipes and I will be
Your fern, your pool, your dream, your tree!

I heard you play, caught your swift eye,
"A pretty melody!" called I,
"Hail, Pan!" And sought to pass you by.

Now blow your pipes and I will sing
To your sure lips' accompanying!

Wild God, who lifted me from earth,
Who taught me freedom, wisdom, mirth,
Immortalized my body's worth, --

Blow, blow your pipes! And from afar
I'll come -- I'll be your bird, your star,
Your wood, your nymph, your kiss, your rhyme,
And all your godlike summer-time!

Afternoon on a Hill. [Edna St. Vincent Millay]

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down!

Open Windows. [Sara Teasdale]

Out of the window a sea of green trees
Lift their soft boughs like the arms of a dancer;
They beckon and call me, "Come out in the sun!"
But I cannot answer.

I am alone with Weakness and Pain,
Sick abed and June is going,
I cannot keep her, she hurries by
With the silver-green of her garments blowing.

Men and women pass in the street
Glad of the shining sapphire weather,
But we know more of it than they,
Pain and I together.

They are the runners in the sun,
Breathless and blinded by the race,
But we are watchers in the shade
Who speak with Wonder face to face.

Old Amaze. [Mahlon Leonard Fisher]

Mine eyes are filled today with old amaze
At mountains, and at meadows deftly strewn
With bits of the gay jewelry of June
And of her splendid vesture; and, agaze,
I stand where Spring her bright brocade of days
Embroidered o'er, and listen to the flow
Of sudden runlets -- the faint blasts they blow,
Low, on their stony bugles, in still ways.
For wonders are at one, confederate yet:
Yea, where the wearied year came to a close,
An odor reminiscent of the rose;
And everywhere her seal has Summer set;
And, as of old, in the horizon-sky,
The sun can find a lovely place to die.

Voyage a l'Infini. [Walter Conrad Arensberg]

The swan existing
Is like a song with an accompaniment

Across the grassy lake,
Across the lake to the shadow of the willows,
It is accompanied by an image,
-- as by Debussy's
"Reflets dans l'eau".

The swan that is
Upon the solitary water -- breast to breast
With the duplicity:
"~The other one!~"

And breast to breast it is confused.
O visionary wedding! O stateliness of the procession!
It is accompanied by the image of itself

At night
The lake is a wide silence,
Without imagination.

After Sunset. [Grace Hazard Conkling]

I have an understanding with the hills
At evening when the slanted radiance fills
Their hollows, and the great winds let them be,
And they are quiet and look down at me.
Oh, then I see the patience in their eyes
Out of the centuries that made them wise.
They lend me hoarded memory and I learn
Their thoughts of granite and their whims of fern,
And why a dream of forests must endure
Though every tree be slain: and how the pure,
Invisible beauty has a word so brief
A flower can say it or a shaken leaf,
But few may ever snare it in a song,
Though for the quest a life is not too long.
When the blue hills grow tender, when they pull
The twilight close with gesture beautiful,
And shadows are their garments, and the air
Deepens, and the wild veery is at prayer, --
Their arms are strong around me; and I know
That somehow I shall follow when you go
To the still land beyond the evening star,
Where everlasting hills and valleys are:
And silence may not hurt us any more,
And terror shall be past, and grief, and war.

Morning Song of Senlin. [Conrad Aiken]

It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
When the light drips through the shutters like the dew,
I arise, I face the sunrise,
And do the things my fathers learned to do.
Stars in the purple dusk above the rooftops
Pale in a saffron mist and seem to die,
And I myself on a swiftly tilting planet
Stand before a glass and tie my tie.

Vine leaves tap my window,
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree
Repeating three clear tones.

It is morning. I stand by the mirror
And tie my tie once more.
While waves far off in a pale rose twilight
Crash on a white sand shore.
I stand by a mirror and comb my hair:
How small and white my face! --
The green earth tilts through a sphere of air
And bathes in a flame of space.
There are houses hanging above the stars
And stars hung under a sea . . .
And a sun far off in a shell of silence
Dapples my walls for me . . .

It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
Should I not pause in the light to remember God?
Upright and firm I stand on a star unstable,
He is immense and lonely as a cloud.
I will dedicate this moment before my mirror
To him alone, for him I will comb my hair.
Accept these humble offerings, cloud of silence!
I will think of you as I descend the stair.

Vine leaves tap my window,
The snail-track shines on the stones,
Dew-drops flash from the chinaberry tree
Repeating two clear tones.

It is morning, I awake from a bed of silence,
Shining I rise from the starless waters of sleep.
The walls are about me still as in the evening,
I am the same, and the same name still I keep.
The earth revolves with me, yet makes no motion,
The stars pale silently in a coral sky.
In a whistling void I stand before my mirror,
Unconcerned, and tie my tie.

There are horses neighing on far-off hills
Tossing their long white manes,
And mountains flash in the rose-white dusk,
Their shoulders black with rains . . .
It is morning. I stand by the mirror
And surprise my soul once more;
The blue air rushes above my ceiling,
There are suns beneath my floor . . .

. . . It is morning, Senlin says, I ascend from darkness
And depart on the winds of space for I know not where,
My watch is wound, a key is in my pocket,
And the sky is darkened as I descend the stair.
There are shadows across the windows, clouds in heaven,
And a god among the stars; and I will go
Thinking of him as I might think of daybreak
And humming a tune I know . . .

Vine-leaves tap at the window,
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree
Repeating three clear tones.

Good Company. [Karle Wilson Baker]

To-day I have grown taller from walking with the trees,
The seven sister-poplars who go softly in a line;
And I think my heart is whiter for its parley with a star
That trembled out at nightfall and hung above the pine.

The call-note of a redbird from the cedars in the dusk
Woke his happy mate within me to an answer free and fine;
And a sudden angel beckoned from a column of blue smoke --
~Lord, who am I that they should stoop -- these holy folk of thine?~

"Feuerzauber". [Louis Untermeyer]

I never knew the earth had so much gold --
The fields run over with it, and this hill,
Hoary and old,
Is young with buoyant blooms that flame and thrill.

Such golden fires, such yellow -- lo, how good
This spendthrift world, and what a lavish God --
This fringe of wood,
Blazing with buttercup and goldenrod.

You too, beloved, are changed. Again I see
Your face grow mystical, as on that night
You turned to me,
And all the trembling world -- and you -- were white.

Aye, you are touched; your singing lips grow dumb;
The fields absorb you, color you entire . . .
And you become
A goddess standing in a world of fire!

Birches. [Robert Frost]

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells,
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust --
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
(Now am I free to be poetical?)
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows --
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
TOWARD heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Fifty Years Spent. [Maxwell Struthers Burt]

Fifty years spent before I found me,
Wind on my mouth and the taste of the rain,
Where the great hills circled and swept around me
And the torrents leapt to the mist-drenched plain;
Ah, it was long this coming of me
Back to the hills and the sounding sea.

Ye who can go when so it tideth
To fallow fields when the Spring is new,
Finding the spirit that there abideth,
Taking fill of the sun and the dew;
Little ye know of the cross of the town
And the small pale folk who go up and down.

Fifty years spent before I found me
A bank knee-deep with climbing rose,
Saw, or had space to look around me,
Knew how the apple buds and blows;
And all the while that I thought me wise
I walked as one with blinded eyes.

Scarcely a lad who passes twenty
But finds him a girl to balm his heart;
Only I, who had work so plenty,
Bade this loving keep apart:
Once I saw a girl in a crowd,
But I hushed my heart when it cried out aloud.

City courts in January, --
City courts in wilted June,
Often ye will catch and carry
Echoes of some straying tune;
Ah, but underneath the feet
Echo stifles in a street.

Fifty years spent, and what do they bring me?
Now I can buy the meadow and hill:
Where is the heart of the boy to sing thee?
Where is the life for thy living to fill?
And thirty years back in a city crowd
I passed a girl when my heart cried loud!

The City. [Charles Hanson Towne]

When, sick of all the sorrow and distress
That flourished in the City like foul weeds,
I sought blue rivers and green, opulent meads,
And leagues of unregarded loneliness
Whereon no foot of man had seemed to press,
I did not know how great had been my needs,
How wise the woodland's gospels and her creeds,
How good her faith to one long comfortless.

But in the silence came a Voice to me;
In every wind it murmured, and I knew
It would not cease though far my heart might roam.
It called me in the sunrise and the dew,
At noon and twilight, sadly, hungrily,
The jealous City, whispering always -- "Home!"

The Most-Sacred Mountain. [Eunice Tietjens]

Space, and the twelve clean winds of heaven,
And this sharp exultation, like a cry, after the slow six thousand
steps of climbing!
This is Tai Shan, the beautiful, the most holy.

Below my feet the foot-hills nestle, brown with flecks of green;
and lower down the flat brown plain, the floor of earth, stretches away
to blue infinity.
Beside me in this airy space the temple roofs cut their slow curves
against the sky,
And one black bird circles above the void.

Space, and the twelve clean winds are here;
And with them broods eternity -- a swift, white peace, a presence manifest.
The rhythm ceases here. Time has no place. This is the end that has no end.

Here, when Confucius came, a half a thousand years before the Nazarene,
he stepped, with me, thus into timelessness.
The stone beside us waxes old, the carven stone that says: "On this spot once
Confucius stood and felt the smallness of the world below."
The stone grows old:
Eternity is not for stones.
But I shall go down from this airy place, this swift white peace,
this stinging exultation.
And time will close about me, and my soul stir to the rhythm
of the daily round.
Yet, having known, life will not press so close, and always I shall feel time
ravel thin about me;
For once I stood
In the white windy presence of eternity.

The Chant of the Colorado. [Cale Young Rice]

(At the Grand Canyon)

My brother, man, shapes him a plan
And builds him a house in a day,
But I have toiled through a million years
For a home to last alway.
I have flooded the sands and washed them down,
I have cut through gneiss and granite.
No toiler of earth has wrought as I,
Since God's first breath began it.
High mountain-buttes I have chiselled, to shade
My wanderings to the sea.
With the wind's aid, and the cloud's aid,
Unweary and mighty and unafraid,
I have bodied eternity.

My brother, man, builds for a span:
His life is a moment's breath.
But I have hewn for a million years,
Nor a moment dreamt of death.
By moons and stars I have measured my task --
And some from the skies have perished:
But ever I cut and flashed and foamed,
As ever my aim I cherished:
My aim to quarry the heart of earth,
Till, in the rock's red rise,
Its age and birth, through an awful girth
Of strata, should show the wonder-worth
Of patience to all eyes.

My brother, man, builds as he can,
And beauty he adds for his joy,
But all the hues of sublimity
My pinnacled walls employ.
Slow shadows iris them all day long,
And silvery veils, soul-stilling,
The moon drops down their precipices,
Soft with a spectral thrilling.
For all immutable dreams that sway
With beauty the earth and air,
Are ever at play, by night and day,
My house of eternity to array
In visions ever fair.

The Water Ouzel. [Harriet Monroe]

Little brown surf-bather of the mountains!
Spirit of foam, lover of cataracts, shaking your wings in falling waters!
Have you no fear of the roar and rush when Nevada plunges --
Nevada, the shapely dancer, feeling her way with slim white fingers?
How dare you dash at Yosemite the mighty --
Tall, white limbed Yosemite, leaping down, down over the cliff?
Is it not enough to lean on the blue air of mountains?
Is it not enough to rest with your mate at timberline, in bushes that hug
the rocks?
Must you fly through mad waters where the heaped-up granite breaks them?
Must you batter your wings in the torrent?
Must you plunge for life and death through the foam?

Old Manuscript. [Alfred Kreymborg]

The sky
Is that beautiful old parchment
In which the sun
And the moon
Keep their diary.
To read it all,
One must be a linguist
More learned than Father Wisdom;
And a visionary
More clairvoyant than Mother Dream.
But to feel it,
One must be an apostle:
One who is more than intimate
In having been, always,
The only confidant --
Like the earth
Or the sky.

The Runner in the Skies. [James Oppenheim]

Who is the runner in the skies,
With her blowing scarf of stars,
And our Earth and sun hovering like bees about her blossoming heart?
Her feet are on the winds, where space is deep,
Her eyes are nebulous and veiled,
She hurries through the night to a far lover.

Evening Song of Senlin. [Conrad Aiken]

It is moonlight. Alone in the silence
I ascend my stairs once more,
While waves, remote in a pale blue starlight,
Crash on a white sand shore.
It is moonlight. The garden is silent.
I stand in my room alone.
Across my wall, from the far-off moon,
A rain of fire is thrown . . .

There are houses hanging above the stars,
And stars hung under a sea:
And a wind from the long blue vault of time
Waves my curtains for me . . .

I wait in the dark once more,
Swung between space and space:
Before my mirror I lift my hands
And face my remembered face.
Is it I who stand in a question here,
Asking to know my name? . . .
It is I, yet I know not whither I go,
Nor why, nor whence I came.

It is I, who awoke at dawn
And arose and descended the stair,
Conceiving a god in the eye of the sun, --
In a woman's hands and hair.
It is I whose flesh is grey with the stones
I builded into a wall:
With a mournful melody in my brain
Of a tune I cannot recall . . .

There are roses to kiss: and mouths to kiss;
And the sharp-pained shadow of death.
I remember a rain-drop on my cheek, --
A wind like a fragrant breath . . .
And the star I laugh on tilts through heaven;
And the heavens are dark and steep . . .
I will forget these things once more
In the silence of sleep.

A Thrush in the Moonlight. [Witter Bynner]

In came the moon and covered me with wonder,
Touched me and was near me and made me very still.
In came a rush of song, like rain after thunder,
Pouring importunate on my window-sill.

I lowered my head, I hid it, I would not see nor hear,
The birdsong had stricken me, had brought the moon too near.
But when I dared to lift my head, night began to fill
With singing in the darkness. And then the thrush grew still.
And the moon came in, and silence, on my window-sill.

Orchard. [H. D.]

I saw the first pear
As it fell --
The honey-seeking, golden-banded,
The yellow swarm
Was not more fleet than I,
(Spare us from loveliness)
And I fell prostrate
You have flayed us
With your blossoms,
Spare us the beauty
Of fruit-trees.

The honey-seeking
Paused not,
The air thundered their song,
And I alone was prostrate.

O rough-hewn
God of the orchard,
I bring you an offering --
Do you, alone unbeautiful,
Son of the god,
Spare us from loveliness:

These fallen hazel-nuts,
Stripped late of their green sheaths,
Grapes, red-purple,
Their berries
Dripping with wine,
Pomegranates already broken,
And shrunken figs
And quinces untouched,
I bring you as offering.

Heat. [H. D.]

O wind, rend open the heat,
Cut apart the heat,
Rend it to tatters.

Fruit cannot drop
Through this thick air --
Fruit cannot fall into heat
That presses up and blunts
The points of pears
And rounds the grapes.

Cut the heat --
Plough through it,
Turning it on either side
Of your path.

Madonna of the Evening Flowers. [Amy Lowell]

All day long I have been working,
Now I am tired.
I call: "Where are you?"
But there is only the oak tree rustling in the wind.
The house is very quiet,
The sun shines in on your books,
On your scissors and thimble just put down,
But you are not there.
Suddenly I am lonely:
Where are you?
I go about searching.

Then I see you,
Standing under a spire of pale blue larkspur,
With a basket of roses on your arm.
You are cool, like silver,
And you smile.
I think the Canterbury bells are playing little tunes.

You tell me that the peonies need spraying,
That the columbines have overrun all bounds,
That the pyrus japonica should be cut back and rounded.
You tell me these things.
But I look at you, heart of silver,
White heart-flame of polished silver,
Burning beneath the blue steeples of the larkspur.
And I long to kneel instantly at your feet,
While all about us peal the loud, sweet `Te Deums' of the Canterbury bells.

The New God. [James Oppenheim]

Ye morning-glories, ring in the gale your bells,
And with dew water the walk's dust for the burden-bearing ants:
Ye swinging spears of the larkspur, open your wells of gold
And pay your honey-tax to the hummingbird . . .

O now I see by the opening of blossoms,

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