Two Tramps in Mud Time

Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!"
I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.

Two Portraits

You say, as one who shapes a life,
That you will never be a wife,

And, laughing lightly, ask my aid
To paint your future as a maid.

This is the portrait; and I take
The softest colors for your sake:

The springtime of your soul is dead,
And forty years have bent your head;

The lines are firmer round your mouth,
But still its smile is like the South.

Your eyes, grown deeper, are not sad,
Yet never more than gravely glad;

And the old charm still lurks within
The cloven dimple of your chin.

Twenty-Third Sunday After Trinity

Red o'er the forest peers the setting sun,
The line of yellow light dies fast away
That crowned the eastern copse: and chill and dun
Falls on the moor the brief November day.

Now the tired hunter winds a parting note,
And Echo hide good-night from every glade;
Yet wait awhile, and see the calm heaves float
Each to his rest beneath their parent shade.

Told

The air lay soffly on the green fur
of the almond, it was April

and I said, I begin again
but my hands burned in the damp earth

the light ran between my fingers
a black light like no other

this was not home, the linnet
settling on the oleander

the green pod swelling
the leaf slowly untwisting

the slashed egg fallen from the nest
the tongue of grass tasting

I was being told by a pulse slowing
in the eyes

the dove mourning in shadow
a nerve waking in the groin

To the Man After the Harrow

Now leave the check-reins slack,
The seed is flying far today -
The seed like stars against the black
Eternity of April clay.

This seed is potent as the seed
Of knowledge in the Hebrew Book,
So drive your horses in the creed
Of God the Father as a stook.

Forget the men on Brady's Hill.
Forget what Brady's boy may say.
For destiny will not fulfil
Unless you let the harrow play.

To Simplicity

[Inscribed to Lady Duncannon.]

SWEET blushing Nymph, who loves to dwell
In the dark forest's silent gloom;
Who smiles within the Hermit's cell,
And sighs upon the rustic's tomb;
Who, pitying, sees the busy throng,
The slaves of fashion's giddy sway;
Who in a wild and artless song,
Warbles the feath'ry hours away.

You'll Love Me Yet

You'll love me yet!—and I can tarry
Your love's protracted growing:
June reared that bunch of flowers you carry
From seeds of April's sowing.

I plant a heartful now: some seed
At least is sure to strike,
And yield—what you'll not pluck indeed,
Not love, but, may be, like!

You'll look at least on love's remains,
A grave's one violet:
Your look?—that pays a thousand pains.
What's death?—You'll love me yet!

You'll know Herby Her Foot

634

You'll know Her—by Her Foot—
The smallest Gamboge Hand
With Fingers—where the Toes should be—
Would more affront the Sand—

Than this Quaint Creature's Boot—
Adjusted by a Stern—
Without a Button—I could vouch—
Unto a Velvet Limb—

You'll know Her—by Her Vest—
Tight fitting—Orange—Brown—
Inside a Jacket duller—
She wore when she was born—

Her Cap is small—and snug—
Constructed for the Winds—
She'd pass for Barehead—short way off—
But as She Closer stands—

Willie Metcalf

I was Willie Metcalf.
They used to call me "Doctor Meyers"
Because, they said, I looked like him.
And he was my father, according to Jack McGuire.
I lived in the livery stable,
Sleeping on the floor
Side by side with Roger Baughman's bulldog,
Or sometimes in a stall.
I could crawl between the legs of the wildest horses
Without getting kicked -- we knew each other.
On spring days I tramped through the country
To get the feeling, which I sometimes lost,
That I was not a separate thing from the earth.

Wild Peaches

1

When the world turns completely upside down
You say we'll emigrate to the Eastern Shore
Aboard a river-boat from Baltimore;
We'll live among wild peach trees, miles from town,
You'll wear a coonskin cap, and I a gown
Homespun, dyed butternut's dark gold colour.
Lost, like your lotus-eating ancestor,
We'll swim in milk and honey till we drown.

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