Nature's Way

“F AULTILY faultless” may be ill—
“Carefully careless” is worse still.
I bought of late a book of rhyme—
One long, fierce flout at tune and time;
Ragged and jagged by intent,
As if each line were earthquake-rent;
Leagues on seismal leagues of it,
Not unheroically writ,
By one of whom I had been told
That he, in scorn of canons old,
Pedantic laws effete and dead,
Went fearless to the pure well-head
Of song's most ancient legislature—
Art's uncorrupted mother, Nature.

Nature! whose lapidary seas
Labour a pebble without ease,
Till they unto perfection bring
That miracle of polishing;
Who never negligently yet
Fashioned an April violet,
Nor would forgive, did June disclose
Unceremoniously the rose;
Who makes the toadstool in the grass
The carven ivory surpass,
So guiltless of a fault or slip
Is its victorious workmanship;
Who suffers us pure Form to see
In a dead leaf's anatomy;
And pondering long where greenly sleep
The unravished secrets of the deep,
Bids the all-courted pearl express
Her final thoughts on flawlessness;
But visibly aches when doomed to bring
Some inchoate amorphous thing
Into a world her curious wit
Would fain have shaped all-exquisite
As the acorn cup's simplicity,
Or the Moon's patience with the sea,
Or the superb, the golden grief
Of each October for each leaf,
Phrased in a rhetoric that excels
Isaiah's and Ezekiel's.
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