The Strength Of The Hills

For L. I. G.

MY thoughts go home to that old brown house
With its low roof sloping down to the east,
And its garden fragrant with roses and thyme
That blossom no longer except in rhyme,
Where the honey-bees used to feast.

Afar in the west the great hills rose,
Silent and steadfast and gloomy and gray:
I thought they were giants, and doomed to keep
Their watch while the world should wake or sleep,
Till the trumpet should sound on the judgment day.

I used to wonder of what they dreamed
As they brooded there in their silent might,
While March winds smote them, or June rains fell,
Or snows of winter their ghostly spell
Wrought in the long and lonesome night.

They remembered a younger world than ours,
Before the trees on their top were born,
When the old brown house was itself a tree,
And waste were the fields where now you see
The winds astir in the tasselled corn.

And I was as young as the hills were old,
And the world was warm with the breath of spring,
And the roses red and the lilies white
Budded and bloomed for my heart's delight,
And the birds in my heart began to sing.

But calm in the distance the great hills rose,
Deaf unto rapture and dumb unto pain,
Since they knew that Joy is the mother of Grief,
And remembered a butterfly's life is brief,
And the sun sets only to rise again.

They will brood and dream and be silent as now,
When the youngest children alive to-day
Have grown to be women and men, — grown old,
And gone from the world like a tale that is told,
And even whose echo forgets to stay.
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