The Railroad Station
JUST a very common thing -
Shouts and whistles, bells that ring,
Just a platform in the rain
And a slowly moving train;
Just a woman dressed in black
Standing by a station-hack,
Gazing with her eyes profound
As the train goes outward bound;
And her bearing does not say
Who it is that goes away,
One who made her pulses stir,
Or a guest who wearied her.
LAST night I saw a city by the sea,
Outlined in sparks of fire;
Those wreathed lamps made all a fantasy -
Arch, dome and spire.
I saw above the waters pale and gray,
The pale moon stand,
I heard, but faint and sweet and far away,
A martial band.
The distant voices in the streets, the sound
Of laughter from the towers
Made where we swam the solitude profound:
The sea was ours.
'YES, Spring has come,' the grocer said,
And tied a final knot of string,
Rang up the change and becked his head,
Elated at the breath of Spring.
'Yes, Spring has come,' the poet said,
And poured his ecstasy in rhymes,
Which eager, homesick exiles read
Long winter-locked in frozen climes.
Perhaps the grocer's way was best,
If joy can better be, or worse:
He saved his rapture unexpressed,
The poet spent his for a verse.
THE LIGHT of spring
On the emerald earth,
A man, a maid,
And a mood of mirth,
A foolish jest,
That a smile amends -
It took no more
To make us friends.
An evening breeze,
The year in bloom,
Lips quickly met
In the garden's gloom;
The trees about us,
The stars above -
It took no more
To teach us love.
Frost in the air -
The air like wine -
[...] Read more
A Bread and Butter Letter
THERE is a willow grows beside a pool;
Its long gray branches sweep the marble rim;
And from those waters shadowy and cool,
The stars shine, large and dim.
From open valleys filled with little lakes
All through the night a hundred breezes blow,
All through the night the little willow makes
A whispering soft and low.
Here in the dusty street there are no trees
To whisper, and the sky is dark and gray,
And yet I see the stars, I feel the breeze,
So far, so far away.
NIGHT after night within the grove
The night wind spares the sacred fire -
The breath made visible of love,
Of worship and desire.
I set the tripod at thy shrine;
The silver bowl, the amber flame,
And in the dark where no stars shine
I speak thy name.
By the high name I call on thee
Which only I, thy priestess, know.
I tread thy dance in ecstasy,
Sweet steps and slow.
O God, the hour has come. Appear!
I have performed the appointed rite -
The dance, the fire; I long to hear
Wings in the night.
A Lady's Choice
Her old love in tears and silence had been building her a palace
Ringed by moats and flanked with towers, he had set it on a hill
'Here,' he said, 'will come no whisper of the world's alarms and malice,
In these granite walls imprisoned, I will keep you safe from ill'
As he spoke along the highway there came riding by a stranger,
For an instant on her features, he a fleeting glance bestowed,
Then he said: 'My heart is fickle and the world is full of danger,'
And he offered her his stirrup and he pointed down the road.
Oft on my way, my daily task pursuing,
Meet I two fairy figures face to face,
Beauty and Peace, who smile on me, embuing
All else I see with something of their grace.
Not in my youth did I their shapes discover,
Not in those hours of transport and despairs,
Rather they come now that high noon is over,
And like sweet ghosts they make the twilight theirs.
Constant and shy, they seek those spirits only
Who have made silence for their soft behests;
Whose garnished thresholds, welcoming and lonely,
Faithful await the long desired guests.
Song in Exile
THE rustling palms bend readily
Between the sun and me;
The trades blow warm and steadily
Across the turquoise sea;
But I'd rather feel the March wind bite
In the country of the free.
Hibiscus and camellias
Bloom here abundantly,
And roses and gardenias
The sweetest flowers there be
But I'd rather see through the bare north woods
One bridal dogwood tree.
The tropic light is mellow
As a lamp in a lighted room;
The sun shines high and yellow
In the quivering cloudless dome;
But, oh, for the snow and the cruel cold
And the rigors of my home!
The consciousness of my mortality
Which used to blind and limit all my life
Weighs on me not since I have been your wife.
Death is the price of our felicity;
And life eternal would not leave us free
To love each other thus, setting above
The grace of God, a common human love,
Untouched, unthreatened by any heaven to be.
For who, while waiting to be crowned a king
Can relish all the humble every day?
Who but must hasten when she sets a goal?
For me, I could not make our life a thing
So wise, so real, so tender and so gay
Had I this other care - to save my soul.