Letter to an Aviator in France

A slope of summer sprinkled over
With sweet tow-headed pigmy clover
Melts suddenly to emerald air
Between the moving leaves: for where
The terrace plunges noiselessly,
A woven wall of appletree
(Bearing instead of apples now
The redwinged blackbird on the bough,)
Enchants the lawn of sun-stained green
To seem as though it had not been.
From where I sit, no roots are there
Nor gnarly trunks show anywhere:
Only the thick-leaved upper boughs
Close-clustered for the robin's house.
And tall above them up the sky
The clear lake quivers like some high
Wind-ruffled huge crystalline tree
Whose roots like theirs are hid from me.
It must have light and air and room,
With clouds for leaves and hills for bloom,
Those pale blue hills that flower along
The living branches wild and strong —
I hear you laugh and say:
" Why make
A tree of crystal from the lake?
Of course you may if you prefer
Shape forests out of lake-water,
Great stems of sapphire, shedding light!
I understand you. It's all right.
But since you are in fantastic mood,
Build me a shelter in that wood
To keep June sounds and colors in,
And shut out the infernal din
Of war my ears have heard and heard
Until no meaning lights the word! "
Well, when it's done and you come home,
Lift up the latch of gilded foam
And enter the transparent door
And cross the grooved and shining floor
Of a new house I'm building, sir,
Of foam and wind on lake-water,
With walls intangible about
The inner rooms, to keep war out!

But this is nonsense. I have lost
My whim. Your laugh recalled has cost
So many Spanish castles, dear!
And I confess there's no tree here
Heaven-tall, with hills upon its boughs,
No sheltering sunlight-raftered house,
But only water wide and bare,
And distant shore and empty air,
And far away across the world
A proud enduring flag unfurled.

Yet you and I could never live
But for the respite that dreams give.
Your letters have their intervals,
Their hints of magic: a bird calls
Or a strange cloud goes by. You hear
Music unknown to mortal ear,
And as you said in other days,
" Last night I dreamed " your message says.
So in the end, I scorn your laughter,
Lord of my secret thoughts! And after
War will come peace, you'll not deny,
And wider light for dreaming by.
Now, let's pretend as children do:
It is my way of reaching you.
Blue Vermont hills we'll say, are fruit
Which I may pluck, when it shall suit
My mood, and send like grapes to you,
All honey-rich and webbed with dew,
Packed in their cloudy leaves and cool
Of color like a twilight pool.
And if you've wandered past the sky
On some new errand, comrade, I
Shall climb the tree the fruit grew on
To see which road it is you've gone.
How shall I plan to overtake
Those wings of yours? And I must make
In time to welcome you, a proud
White castle of some mountain cloud —
But no more now. . . . The old clock clangs
Somewhere within. A veery hangs
Small golden wreaths along the alder,
And mother Robin's babies called her
Just now from their leaf-hidden room,
And sunset roses are in bloom.
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