When and Why

When I bring you coloured toys, my child, I understand why there
is such a play of colours on clouds, on water, and why flowers are
painted in tints-when I give coloured toys to you, my child.
When I sing to make you dance, I truly know why there is music
in leaves, and why waves send their chorus of voices to the heart
of the listening earth-when I sing to make you dance.
When I bring sweet things to your greedy hands, I know why
there is honey in the cup of the flower, and why fruits are


What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, And Where, And Why Sonnet XLIII

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,


Weary

WEARY of the ceaseless war
Beating down the baffled soul,—
Thoughts that like a scimitar
Smite us fainting at the goal.

Weary of the joys that pain—
Dead sea fruits whose ashes fall,
Drying up the summer’s rain—
Charnel dust in cups of gall!

Weary of the hopes that fail,
Leading from the narrow way,
Tempting strength to actions frail—
Hand to err, and foot to stray.

Weary of the battling throng,


We Are Coming, Sister Mary

On a stormy night in winter,
When the winds blew cold and wet,
I heard some strains of music
That I never can forget.
I was sleeping in the cabin,
Where liv'd Mary fair and young,
When a light shone in the window,
And a band of singers sung.

We are coming sister Mary,
We are coming bye and bye,
Be ready sister Mary,
For the time is drawing nigh.

I tried to tell my Mary,
But my tongue would not obey,
When the song so strange had ended,
And the singers flown away,


Wave-won

To-night I hunger so,
Beloved one, to know
If you recall and crave again the dream
That haunted our canoe,
And wove its witchcraft through
Our hearts as 'neath the northern night we sailed the northern stream.

Ah! dear, if only we
As yesternight could be
Afloat within that light and lonely shell,
To drift in silence till
Heart-hushed, and lulled and still
The moonlight through the melting air flung forth its fatal spell.

The dusky summer night,
The path of gold and white


Wanderers

As I rode in the early dawn,
While stars were fading white,
I saw upon a grassy slope
A camp-fire burning bright;
With tent behind and blaze before,
Three loggers in a row
Sang all together joyously—
Pull up the stakes and go!
As I rode on by Eagle Hawk,
The wide blue deep of air,
The wind through the glittering leaves,
The flowers so sweet and fair,
The thunder of the rude salt waves,
The creek’s soft overflow,
All joined in chorus to the words—
Pull up the stakes and go!


Waking

ABOVE us hangs the jewelled night;
And how her restful cool caresses
Make us forget the weary sight
Of summer’s daily wildernesses!
O aching toil and hope deferred,
The night has made a promise to me;
She whispered, and a wonder stirred,
And still the joy is thrilling through me.
Smooth water, shadow deeply still,
I dare not move, you wait unsleeping
—You share the breathless hopes that fill
The watch my longing soul is keeping.
A fish is leaping in the bay;


Voices of Earth

We have not heard the music of the spheres,
The song of star to star, but there are sounds
More deep than human joy and human tears,
That Nature uses in her common rounds;
The fall of streams, the cry of winds that strain
The oak, the roaring of the sea's surge, might
Of thunder breaking afar off, or rain
That falls by minutes in the summer night.
These are the voices of earth's secret soul,
Uttering the mystery from which she came.
To him who hears them grief beyond control,


Vivien

Her eyes under their lashes were blue pools
Fringed round with lilies; her bright hair unfurled
Clothed her as sunshine clothes the summer world.
Her robes were gauzes -- gold and green and gules,
All furry things flocked round her, from her hand
Nibbling their foods and fawning at her feet.
Two peacocks watched her where she made her seat
Beside a fountain in Broceliande.
Sometimes she sang. . . . Whoever heard forgot
Errand and aim, and knights at noontide here,
Riding from fabulous gestes beyond the seas,


Visiting a Dead Man on a Summer Day

In flat America, in Chicago,
Graceland cemetery on the German North Side.
Forty feet of Corinthian candle
celebrate Pullman embedded
lonely raisin in a cake of concrete.
The Potter Palmers float
in an island parthenon.
Barons of hogfat, railroads and wheat
are postmarked with angels and lambs.

But the Getty tomb: white, snow patterned
in a triangle of trees swims dappled with leaf shadow,
sketched light arch within arch
delicate as fingernail moons.


Pages

Subscribe to RSS - summer