rainbow flecked rain.....children at play, dogs asleep, nestlings awaken, cheep
rockaway beach....ankle deep in the foaming surf, deeper in cherish
The air cools and the leaves of the trees lift
In the rising wind.
The clouded sky casts no shadows
But gives the light an almost luminous clarity.
I look across the yard, past the trees
And the old wire fence
To the rusted tin shed across the alley.
Barren branches of a pin oak tree
Scratch across its roof as the wind grows.
The neither red nor pink blossoms
Of an untamed Japonica
Float in the air in front of the rusted shed
And glow in the unusual light.
Oh, why should a hen
have been run over
on West 4th Street
in the middle of summer?
She was a white hen
--red-and-white now, of course.
How did she get there?
Where was she going?
Her wing feathers spread
flat, flat in the tar,
all dirtied, and thin
as tissue paper.
A pigeon, yes,
or an English sparrow,
might meet such a fate,
but not that poor fowl.
Just now I went back
to look again.
I hadn't dreamed it:
there is a hen
Too long and quickly have I lived to vow
The woe that stretches me shall never wane,
Too often seen the end of endless pain
To swear that peace no more shall cool my brow.
I know, I know- again the shriveled bough
Will burgeon sweetly in the gentle rain,
And these hard lands be quivering with grain-
I tell you only: it is Winter now.
What if I know, before the Summer goes
Where dwelt this bitter frenzy shall be rest?
What is it now, that June shall surely bring
New promise, with the swallow and the rose?
You may give over plough, boys,
You may take the gear to the stead,
All the sweat o' your brow, boys,
Will never get beer and bread.
The seed's waste, I know, boys,
There's not a blade will grow, boys,
'Tis cropped out, I trow, boys,
And Tommy's dead.
Send the colt to fair, boys,
He's going blind, as I said,
My old eyes can't bear, boys,
To see him in the shed;
The cow's dry and spare, boys,
She's neither here nor there, boys,
I doubt she's badly bread;
Stop the mill to-morn, boys,
The stars were wild that summer evening
As on the low lake shore stood you and I
And every time I caught your flashing eye
Or heard your voice discourse on anything
It seemed a star went burning down the sky.
I looked into your heart that dying summer
And found your silent woman's heart grown wild
Whereupon you turned to me and smiled
Saying you felt afraid but that you were
Weary of being mute and undefiled
I spoke to you that last winter morning
Two Poems from the War
Oh, not the loss of the accomplished thing!
Not dumb farewells, nor long relinquishment
Of beauty had, and golden summer spent,
And savage glory of the fluttering
Torn banners of the rain, and frosty ring
Of moon-white winters, and the imminent
Long-lunging seas, and glowing students bent
To race on some smooth beach the gull's wing:
Not these, nor all we've been, nor all we've loved,
The pitiful familiar names, had moved
Our hearts to weep for them; but oh, the star
The future is! Eternity's too wan
Twice had Summer her fair Verdure
Twice had Summer her fair Verdure
Proffered to the Plain—
Twice a Winter's silver Fracture
On the Rivers been—
Two full Autumns for the Squirrel
Nature, Had'st thou not a Berry
For thy wandering Bird?
Twas One of Those Dreams
'TWAS one of those dreams, that by music are brought,
Like a bright summer haze, o'er the poet's warm thought --
When, lost in the future, his soul wanders on,
And all of this life, but its sweetness, is gone.
The wild notes he heard o'er the water were those
He had taught to sing Erin's dark bondage and woes,
And the breath of the bugle now wafted them o'er
From Dinis' green isle, to Glena's wooded shore.
He listen'd -- while, high o'er the eagle's rude nest,
The lingering sounds on their way loved to rest;