A Confession

You did not know, -- how could you, dear, --
How much you stood for? Life in you
Retained its touch of Eden dew,
And ever through the droughtiest year
My soul could bring her flagon here
And fill it to the brim with clear
   Deep draughts of purity:
And time could never quench the flame
Of youth that lit me through your eyes,
And cozened winter from my skies
Through all the years that went and came.
You did not know I used your name
To conjure by, and still the same
   I found its potency.


A Christmas Fancy

Early on Christmas Day,
Love, as awake I lay,
And heard the Christmas bells ring sweet and clearly,
My heart stole through the gloom
Into your silent room,
And whispered to your heart, `I love you dearly.'

There, in the dark profound,
Your heart was sleeping sound,
And dreaming some fair dream of summer weather.
At my heart's word it woke,
And, ere the morning broke,
They sang a Christmas carol both together.

Glory to God on high!
Stars of the morning sky,


A Child My Choice

Let folly praise that fancy loves, I praise and love that Child
Whose heart no thought, whose tongue no word, whose hand no deed defiled.

I praise Him most, I love Him best, all praise and love is His;
While Him I love, in Him I live, and cannot live amiss.

Love's sweetest mark, laud's highest theme, man's most desired light,
To love Him life, to leave Him death, to live in Him delight.

He mine by gift, I His by debt, thus each to other due;
First friend He was, best friend He is, all times will try Him true.


A Calendar of Sonnets September

O golden month! How high thy gold is heaped!
The yellow birch-leaves shine like bright coins strung
On wands; the chestnut's yellow pennons tongue
To every wind its harvest challenge. Steeped
In yellow, still lie fields where wheat was reaped;
And yellow still the corn sheaves, stacked among
The yellow gourds, which from the earth have wrung
Her utmost gold. To highest boughs have leaped
The purple grape,--last thing to ripen, late
By very reason of its precious cost.
O Heart, remember, vintages are lost


A Calendar of Sonnets November

This is the treacherous month when autumn days
With summer's voice come bearing summer's gifts.
Beguiled, the pale down-trodden aster lifts
Her head and blooms again. The soft, warm haze
Makes moist once more the sere and dusty ways,
And, creeping through where dead leaves lie in drifts,
The violet returns. Snow noiseless sifts
Ere night, an icy shroud, which morning's rays
Willidly shine upon and slowly melt,
Too late to bid the violet live again.
The treachery, at last, too late, is plain;


A Calendar of Sonnets March

Month which the warring ancients strangely styled
The month of war,--as if in their fierce ways
Were any month of peace!--in thy rough days
I find no war in Nature, though the wild
Winds clash and clang, and broken boughs are piled
As feet of writhing trees. The violets raise
Their heads without affright, without amaze,
And sleep through all the din, as sleeps a child.
And he who watches well may well discern
Sweet expectation in each living thing.
Like pregnant mother the sweet earth doth yearn;


A Calendar of Sonnets June

O month whose promise and fulfilment blend,
And burst in one! it seems the earth can store
In all her roomy house no treasure more;
Of all her wealth no farthing have to spend
On fruit, when once this stintless flowering end.
And yet no tiniest flower shall fall before
It hath made ready at its hidden core
Its tithe of seed, which we may count and tend
Till harvest. Joy of blossomed love, for thee
Seems it no fairer thing can yet have birth?
No room is left for deeper ecstacy?


A Calendar of Sonnets July

Some flowers are withered and some joys have died;
The garden reeks with an East Indian scent
From beds where gillyflowers stand weak and spent;
The white heat pales the skies from side to side;
But in still lakes and rivers, cool, content,
Like starry blooms on a new firmament,
White lilies float and regally abide.
In vain the cruel skies their hot rays shed;
The lily does not feel their brazen glare.
In vain the pallid clouds refuse to share
Their dews, the lily feels no thirst, no dread.


A Calendar of Sonnets February

Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will:
Fit days, ere yet the spring rains blur the sight,
Ere yet the bounding blood grows hot with haste,
And dreaming thoughts grow heavy with a greed
The ardent summer's joy to have and taste;


A Bunch of Roses

Roses ruddy and roses white,
What are the joys that my heart discloses?
Sitting alone in the fading light
Memories come to me here tonight
With the wonderful scent of the big red roses.
Memories come as the daylight fades
Down on the hearth where the firelight dozes;
Flicker and flutter the lights and shades,
And I see the face of a queen of maids
Whose memory comes with the scent of roses.

Visions arise of a scent of mirth,
And a ball-room belle who superbly poses --


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