This is Chap-Book Number Fifty-seven
Of this edition of The Blossom Trail, 150 copies have been printed, with this chap-book being a product of The Ryerson Press, Toronto, Canada.
The Ryerson Press
The Ryerson Press acknowledges, with thanks, permission from the following periodicals to reprint poems which have appeared in their pages:
The New Outlook, The Mail and Empire, The Canadian Home Journal, The Ontario Farmer, The Ontario Intelligencer (Belleville, Ont.), The Picton Gazette, The Occult Digest (Chicago). [unnumbered page]
The Blossom Trail
By Lilian Leveridge
THE BLOSSOM TRAIL
There are flowers to-day in the valleys blowing, Green ferns are growing beside the rills; There is mingled music of waters falling And wild birds calling across the hills. ’Tis love that speaks in a thousand voices; All earth rejoices, all nature thrills. Let us rest awhile from our toils and listen, While cool dews glisten on leaf and blade. With gladness then let us rise and follow, Through mossy hollow and sunny glade, The blossom trail of the Spring, dream-haunted, With hearts undaunted and unafraid. The breath of spring is with rare balms laden, Perfumes made in her secret still— Shy arbutus, dogwood and cherry, Bilberry, violet, daffodil. The wild winds fling them in sportive sally Down the valley and over the hill. [page 1] There is life reborn in each green blade springing, Each wood-bird singing his passioned lay To the brooding mate of his long love-questing And happy nesting. And so, to-day The green-gold world is the haunt of lovers, Where each discovers life’s old glad way. The haste, dear heart! For why do we tarry? And why do we carry our griefs and cares? Let us up and away! Let us drop our burden, And claim the guerdon of all the years! For the glad, sweet earnest of love immortal At spring’s green portal waits unawares.
TO MARJORIE PICKTHALL
You left us when the April buds were blowing Upon the greening hills, When little wandering airs went softly winging, And down a thousand wakening vales came ringing The music of the rills. But on the blossoming hills you left your footprint; And through the vales of spring Your little songs go singing, singing ever, All spirit-sweet and lovely, ceasing never Their pure, clear caroling. Where wander now your feet all golden-sandalled? Upon what heights afar Peals out your April song, sublime, immortal— You who so early gained the pearly portal Beyond the twilight star? May we not catch a whisper of its cadence Adrift upon the night— An angel aria to inspire and thrill us, A lingering, love-born ecstasy to fill us With your divine delight? [page 2] You left us when the April buds were blowing, Yet you are ours to-day; For wistful echoes of your dulcet singing, In deathless music down the valleys ringing, Can never pass away.
(In Memory of Bliss Carman)
A sense of loss is in the valleys, Of loneliness upon the hills. A lily in its scented chalice A sacramental dew distils, And Nature, in the twilight kneeling, Lifts the sweet token to her lips, No far light viewing, only feeling Her world of beauty in eclipse. The sylvan choristers returning Shall woo him in each pensive strain, But oh not all their music’s yearning Will call their Lover back again. The winds, bereaved, shall seek unresting Their own beloved Vagabond, But never in their world-wide questing Will he to one wild note respond. Long as there dawns a blue-gold morning When Nature wakes refreshed from sleep, All sordidness and shadow scorning, To ring her fairy wedding bells; Long as the Junetide meadows blossom, An Autumn spreads her cloth-of-gold, The world of beauty in its bosom His image tenderly shall hold. [page 3]
LITTLE CITY GARDENS
O little city gardens, I love your smiling grace! You brighten up the shadows of many a dreary place. How dull would be the dwelling, how desolate the street, Without your blooming beauty your fragrance, faint and sweet! A flash of golden tulips, poppies that beam and burn; A bed of blue forget-me-not, a cool retreat of fern; A plot of pinks or pansies, a lily or a rose; A lilac or syringe to veil the garden-close. And some have walks and bowers to lure our loitering feet, And some are very tiny, yet always fair and sweet. They greet us in the morning as we hurry on our way, With messages of gladness and courage for the day. They say that rest and recompense will all our toils reward In the everlasting beauty of the gardens of the Lord. O little city gardens, tokens of love divine! You lift my thoughts to Paradise, your native land, and mine.
AN ONTARIO GARDEN
In sight of the sparkling tide of Ontario’s inland sea, Glorious, billowy, wind-swept, wide, and blue as blue can be, We found at the lovely end of a breezy winding way, A beautiful garden, a smile, a friend, and a dream for a darker day. We left our griefs at the gate, for joy is the password here; Where laughing poppies beckon and wait you enter without a fear. They troop down the garden walk to greet you on either hand; They smile and curtsy, and almost talk. You know that they understand. Alyssum’s sweetness and snow, Veronica’s feathery plumes, Rugged Zinnia’s crimson glow, Carnation’s rare perfumes; Clematis, misty white, Delphinium’s stately grace,— What soft enchantment, what dear delight, they have woven about the place! [page 4] Flowers loved long and well in days and ways of old— Pink and Pansy and Pimpernel, Marguerite, Marigold; Flowers that are strange and new, yet no less fairily fair, Nursed by the sunshine, the dusk, the dew, greet us everywhere. While in the orchard trees orioles pipe and call, The humming-birds and the honey-bees make this their port of call. Sailing the sunny air, how busily they embark Their fragrant cargoes of nectar rare, from dawn till the dewy dark! Over a trellis high the roses ramble and roam. Do they dream, perchance, that the sapphire, sky up there is their native home? ’Twas here that we me at first, friend with friends once more. Under the rosy wreath we passed and entered the open door. O here is a home indeed! For beauty is all around, Peace for the tired soul’s secret need, and sweetness of scent and sound; Sunshine in every room, windows wide to the light, With never a timorous ghost of gloom entering day or night. The stars bright vigil keep, and the dark is a grateful balm, And sweet, O sweet, is the gift of sleep, and welcome the hours of calm, O, we have kissed the cross, have drained the bitter cup Of pain and passion and grief and loss; but love has filled it up. A gleam of the sparkling tide of Ontario’s inland sea, Glorious, billowy, wind-swept, wide, and blue as blue can be; And still at the lovely end of a breezy, winding way, A beautiful garden, a smile, a friend, we find in our dreams to-day. [page 5]
The Hollyhocks by the wall are telling A secret, thrilling and sweet, I know— A rare romance that is all-compelling— To the frivolous, gossiping Golden Glow. Long were they kept by the wall asunder, The Golden Glow and the Hollyhocks, While each gazed up with a wordless wonder To the fields of blue with their soft cloud flocks. Only the winds and the brown bees brought them News of their neighbors across the way. Many and long were the tales thus taught them, But now they gossip from day to day. For Rosy-Face is a tall, fair maiden, And Goldilocks peeps over the wall; And the hours with laughter and love are laden, For there isn’t a barrier left at all. O that we, too, might lean and listen Here for an hour while the winds are low, Till our hearts should burn and our glad eyes glisten With the wild and wonderful things they know!
A GARDEN OF LOVE
Mother, if my love for you Could express itself in flowers, Were each prayer a shower of dew In the morn and evening hours, You would walk in blossomed ways, Fair and fragrant, all your days. Blooms that clothed the vales and hills In the springtides long ago— Crocuses and daffodils, Hawthorn, lilies, white as snow, Primroses and cuckoo flowers You would find within your bowers. [page 6] Pearly daisies, pink and white, Marigolds and meadow rue, All would bloom for your delight. Here would wait to welcome you Every flower that loved the May In the homeland far away. Flowers that on an alien shore Made your homesick heart grow glad, Till you loved it more and more, Found the sweetness in the sad— Blowing by the northern streams, Do they greet you still in dreams? Trilliums that starred the dells, Mayflowers’ rosy, perfumed bells, Columbines o’er hill and vale, Violets yellow, purple, white— Countless well-springs of delight! You, who loved all lovely things, Taught my heart to love them, too Essences of all the springs That my happy childhood knew, Spirit-sweet, invisible, Linger all about you still Take this little wreath of verse, With the blossoms that I send— Dearest in God’s universe, Best of sweethearts, truest friend! Fairest flowers may fade, but never Love that lives and blooms for ever.
THE OLD GARDEN
It is sweet, O sweet, in the old home garden, With lush green grasses and riot of bloom: Pinks and pansies, clover and roses— Yellow and crimson and pearl-white roses— Chalices brimming with rich perfume, Tilted and tost by the winds that wander Up from the lake and over the hills. Prodigal winds, how they love to squander The rarest essences summer distils! [page 7] But oh, how strangely still is the garden! Only the birds, singing all day long In wild abandon of glad elation, Redeem from silence and desolation The quiet haunts with their floods of song. Up in the elm is an oriole swinging, And low in the lilacs a little brown wren, Catbird, bluebird, and robin—all singing . . . What do they know of the sorrows of men? Larkspurs lean on the wind and listen, And I, too, listen—but all in vain— For the slow, soft tread of a foot that falls not, The tender tones of a voice that calls not Out of the silence ever again. But birds and blossoms are true evangels Of deathless love, which is all their theme; And almost I vision the viewless angels, Singing symphonies through my dream.
I wander through the garden of my heart At eve when quiet stars above me bend, Seeking a flower, a flower to speak for me, In language chaste, the dear, sweet word of “Friend.” A spray of Ivy let me cull for truth Unshaken ’mid the tempests of the years; And Marigolds for sunny smiles that shed A blessed gleam of gladness on our tears. For thoughts that bridge all gulfs of time or space Bloom Pansies, faintly fragrant, fresh with dew; For constancy, the sweet Forget-me-not; For loving loyalty, the Heather blue. Here’s lowly Heartease for the perfect trust Unmoved through good report or ill; and there, Exhaling subtle perfumes night and morn, Are lilies, angel-pure, for peace and prayer. [page 8] For loving-kindness, Peonies aglow; For hope the Morning-glory, bright and glad; And Violets, their sweet eyes dim with tears, For sympathy in shadowed hours and sad. These all are beautiful; yet still I seek One bloom in which all finest perfumes blend, A blossom that shall speak one word for me With blessed meaning fraught—the sweet word, “Friend.” At last! Where quiet light is soft and clear— The light of thought—a perfect blossom blows; For truth and love and peace, and all the rest, Are hidden in the heart of one White Rose.
I found a tiny wielding Among my garden flowers, A seedling rose with scented leaves Impearled with summer showers. I placed it in my window, Where now it lives and grows, As much at home, as well as content As any flower that blows. It neighbors with begonias, Geraniums and such. To me ’tis dearer than the rest, Although I love them so much. And why? The subtle perfume Exhaled from hour to hour Is like a breath of far-off fields, With youth in prefect flower. New fragrances may greet me Along life’s sunny track, But none so magical and rare As those that call me back [page 9] To June days full of sunshine And freedom on the hills, Where I companioned with the birds And blossoms by the rills. Old scents, old songs, old friendships, Old loves, old dreams it knows. And that is why ’tis passing dear, My wilding briar rose.
You stand so still in the moonlight, As pure as an angel’s prayer; There’s never a tall, proud lily More daintily robed and fair: For you are the bride of the twilight, The lover of moon and star. As they pass in the blue above you Do you see and know them afar? O that I knew your secret Of life—what it means to you, And what is the subtle pleasure You drink in the dusk and dew! What is your breath of fragrance? A ballad hauntingly rare? A lyric delicate, lovely, Adrift on the viewless air? Do you sense my joy in your sweetness Through the hours that are dark and sad? When my spirit has reached full stature, Like you I shall bloom and be glad. [page 10]
Beauty, I have dreamed of thee In the night upon my bed. Shades and mists that round me rolled Thy enchantment turned to gold. Glad and free, I followed far Where the beckoning glory led. Beauty, I have longed and prayed, Yearningly, with fervent heart, For thy joy to banish fears And the bitterness of tears. In the dance of daffodils Doubts and phantoms have no part. Beauty, I have toiled to build For thy wings a resting-place. Come where love has made thee room, Bid my garden bud and bloom. Beauty, thou art one with God; Come and lend my soul thy grace.
THE CRY OF THE FLOWERS
“Love us, save us!” cry the wildwood flowers; Gentle folk we are, and frail and shy. Year by year we fall, and fade and perish. Reach us hands of rescue lest we die! “We are haunters of the quiet places. Where the forest shades are cool and deep, By the dew-pool and the rippling river, There our tryst with sun and stars we keep. “Up and down the sunny slopes we wander, Up the hills and over, dancing light; Laughing in the wide and open spaces, Hiding in the valleys out of sight. [page 11] “Scenting all the winds with subtle fragrance, Beautifying many a secret spot, We would keep our own appointed places, By the thoughtless crowds ignored, forgot. “Know they not that when we perish passes From the earth a glory, a delight? Who shall recreate our vanished faces, Who recall our beauty pure and bright? “You who love us, give us your protection; Find us sanctuary from our foes. Scatter wide our seed and tell our story, Till the world our lovely mission knows. “You shall be a thousandfold rewarded When you see the smiling of our face. Here and in the summer-sweet Hereafter, Love for love we give, and grace for grace.”
THE LADY’S SLIPPER
’Twas from the window of the car I glimpsed its golden bloom, And suddenly the heavy air seemed filled with faint perfume, A woodsy fragrance, wild and sweet, of green and growing things— And I was caught and borne afar on memory’s magic wings. Deep in the springy turf I sank beside a crystal pool. What luxury to burning feet, that mossy carpet cool! A little wind that wandered by my lips and brow caressed, All winsomely inviting me to stay awhile and rest. So here beside the pool of dream I stayed, and quite forgot The world when men go hurrying by on highways hard and hot. Here toil and haste are all unknown; the hours are velvet-shod, And gladsomely and restfully all pathways lead to God. The airs that all around me breathe, how soft and sweet and still! How clear the notes that fitfully come floating down the hill! The maker of that melody, I knew him long ago, His rosy breast, his song of love, a full heart’s overflow. [page 12] He sings my senses wide awake. With gladdened eyes I see A yellow Lady’s Slipper stand alone beneath a tree. Its chalice holds the prisoned light of sunbeams manifold, While shadows cool and dim and deep its emerald leaves enfold. Discovery of rare delight! the spirit of the wind, Its magical and its mystery, are in that forest child. It glorifies the solitude—this princess of the bower— And all the charm of all the dell is centred in one flower. Was such thy home, O flower abloom beside the dusty way, Where changing iron wheels go by unresting night and day? And dost thou long for that far spot, so cool and green and still, Where night and morn the songs of birds come floating down the hill? O wildwood blossom, pine no more for green hours velvet-shod! This teeming world of toiling men is very dear to God. ’Twas love that called thee from thy bower in sylvan fastness dim, To bless a thousand world-worn hearts and lift them up to him.
Little white butterfly, floating so high Over the roofs so brown, What do you here in the heavy air Of this murky, mercantile town? Here is no loveliness, here are no sweets, Blossoms nor perfume nor dew, To tempt the wing of a delicate thing, A beautiful being like you. Say, were you sent by the Infinite Love, Sent from the starry height, To a homesick heart in the clamorous mart, With a message of love and light? . . . “Dim and brief are the ways of grief, But the blue is a boundless vast. The soul’s white wings are tireless things, And soon are the shadows past.” [page 13]
ON LUPINE HILL
Once the Angel of the Summer Sat him down to rest and dream In a far Acadian meadow By Chebogue’s clear, winding stream; And he cried with waking laughter, “I will make my dream come true— With the lovely lupine blossoms I will paint yon hills in blue.” So he painted and he painted With a lavish brush and free, And as bluer bloomed the hillside, Deeper grew his ecstasy. “’Tis Elysium!” he murmured; “He shall angel children play. Here shall fairies, shod in silver, Dance the moonlight hours away.” O the glory of the lupine In the splendor of the morn, When in sapphire clouds the blossoms Greet the glad day newly born! For their dews are my baptism, And their pureness is my prayer. On the hill waits love transfigured— It is good to worship here, O the world’s a vast, fair palace In the noontide’s golden glow— Pure, ethereal blue above us, Tender, living blue below, Soft blue mist-veils in the hill-gaps. Earth to-day in heaven’s embrace, Through the glory of the lupine, Learns the beauty of God’s face. There’s a glory on the river When the sunset lights the west, Color harmonies down drifting From the Islands of the Blest; But this hill’s wild, breathing beauty Lends my soul a robe of grace. Love is walking in the lupine, And I meet him face to face. [page 14] O the moon is on the water, And its silver ripples gleam; And the sapphire turns to silver Where the blue-eyed blossoms dream. I have found a quiet pathway To the silent hill above, Where, amid the dew-starred lupine, I am all alone with Love.
WHEN THE BIRDS FLY SOUTH
When god and ruby forest leaves are falling, When opal mists are shrouding hill and plain, On odorous airs float far, strange voices calling Our birds of summer to the South again. In leafless trees are nests, all cold and cheerless— So warm with life when hours were bright and long! The fluttering breasts are feathered now and fearless, The plaining throats have learned to pipe a song. On every wind-blown woodland hill they gather, While murmurous wing-songs waft from peak to peak, Not rapturous tides, but ebbing sweetness, rather, Prophetic of the far, fair lands they seek. Against the rose of dawn we see them swinging, Like dusky clouds dissolving in the blue; But winds of noon, bereft, go sadly singing This strain to their lost comrades loved and true: “Sweet birds, O little minstrels of the bowers, You filled our blossoming woods, when days were long, With the beauty of you flight above the flowers, With the madness and the gladness of your song. “Now speed you on your voyage lone and airy In limpid, starry spaces, vast and high! May weakest wing nor frailest heart grow weary, Nor lose the way in yonder trackless sky! [page 15] “When you ’mid brilliant butterflies go winging O’er the blossoms of your summer strand, O mingle with the weird and alien singing The wild, sweet wood-notes of your own Northland! “When here the welcome April rains are falling, And mists of living green fold hill and plain. When every wooing woodland voice is calling, O birds of passage, homeward turn again!”
THE BIRD SANCTUARY
Close by the ways unresting, Where tides of commerce meet, Where mortals, fortune-questing, Pass up and down the street, There’s a cool, green world of wonder The broad blue heavens under, Where faintly sounds the thunder Of traffic’s marching feet. Here winds of Winter surly Their wild tirades abate; The Springtide enters early, And summer lingers late. Here Autumn amatory Puts on his robes of glory To tell the world-old story Of love that conquers hate. Within this Sanctuary— A safe and blest retreat, Where all the months are merry And all the hours are sweet— Where earliest flowers are springing, From far-off islands winging With wild, enraptured singing, A myriad lovers meet. [page 16] The bluebirds fade awaiting The nest they knew of yore; ’Twas at their earliest mating They found its open door. How soft, how low, how tender, All in the dawn’s gold splendor, The song of praise they render For love and home once more! The robin, glad and fearless, Sings welcome songs of cheer. These hills, these vales are peerless, This terraced lawn is dear. ’Tis a home of heart’s desire, Where joy can never tire Till sunset’s crimson fire Proclaims that night is near. The redwing haunts the rushes By waters still and cool; His “Okalle” in gushes Is poured above the pool. The marsh wren’s music bubbles; He laughs at woes and troubles, And joys by singing doubles— ’Tis his unfailing rule. The golden-wings are meeting. Comes floating down the dell Their loud and vibrant greeting. The bobolink’s clear bell Across the wood is ringing Of full flood-tides of singing, In days remembered well. The tanager whose splendor Was ever a delight; The veery’s love-song tender At fragrant fall of night; The grosbeak, rosy-breasted, The blue-jay, azure-crested, The oriole, orange-vested, The sparrow crowned with white; [page 17] The warblers, lisping, trilling Light airs from love-tuned throats; Elusive white-throats thrilling The air with liquid notes: These sing away our sadness. In wild, ecstatic madness Of overflowing gladness Their magic music floats. By soft winds wood, the flowers Unfold their petal wings, And fill the perfumed hours With angel whisperings. A heavenly radiance hovers About these woodland lovers, Which only he discovers Who drinks at sacred springs. Up in the grey-stone mansion Amid the tree-tops high, Beneath the broad expansion Of pure, blue summer sky, The keepers of these bowers, In winds and suns and showers Wield gracious, kingly powers, While golden years march by. For they have found the hidden Deep source of secret joy. Unwearied and unbidden They work in love’s employ. Free in God’s open spaces, His sunshine in their faces, They manifest the graces Of peace that cannot cloy.
Here on the high hill crest, In the heart of the ancient wood, Dreaming my golden dreams, Oft as a child I stood. Still is the grass as green, Still are the rocks as grey, And the mist still blue in the glen below As of old ere I went away. [page 18] As down on the swaying trees I look from my airy height, Sunshine and sky and breeze Bring back the old delight; Winds in the waving boughs Whisper the same old song; No touch of pain has that sylvan strain, But harmonies sweet and long. God of the ancient wood! Lord of the vale and the hill, Changeless and great and good, Quiet my restless will! Have I Thy name forgot, Knelt at an alien shrine? By joy or pain call me home again, For I would be only Thine. Heeding the voice of the world, Oft I have missed Thy tone. Here in the solitude Thee would I meet alone. Speak in the songs of birds, Speak in the wind’s low breath. In shadow and light, in depth and height, Let me hear what the Spirit saith.
They come from the far-off places, Blue hills and shimmering plains, With fragrance of wide, wild spaces, And freshness of summer rains. They take from the tranquil heavens Their color so pure and cool They carry the magic essence Of flowers by a pine-grit pool Magic! It lifts and bears me As light as a thistle-down, Away from the crowded dwellings And streets of the busy town. [page 19] When I hear the song of the white-throat And the swish of the firs, wind-tost; When I glimpse the blueberry acres, Long ago left and lost, I know the lamp of Aladdin Is potent as once of old, And I gather a harvest of gladness, As much as my heart can hold.
IF I WERE A BIRDMAN
If I were a birdman and owned an aeroplane, I’d fly away to Trinidad and land at Port of Spain; And there I’d stay for seven weeks—seven and a day— Before I’d flap my wings again and think to fly away. I’d wander by Maraccas Falls and learn its silver song; And ’neath the blooming immortelles would linger, dreaming, long. I’d feast my eyes on scarlet flowers, orange and rose and blue, And learn from jewelled humming-birds that fairy tales were true. I’d find in many a wayside nook a rest for tired feet, And sip the milk of cocoanuts and cane-juice, honey-sweet. I’d fare on fresh pineapples, and rare, delicious things We never even hear of where wild Boreas sing. Seven weeks would swiftly pass—seven and a day— And other isles in other seas would see me coming soon To breathe their fragrant incense beneath the Easter moon. I’d kneel with them at vespers, and say my morning prayer Where roses, dew-bright roses, were scenting all the air. So pure the air, so blue the skies, so clear the singing sea! And O, the restful quietness would soothe the soul of me! [page 20] Seven weeks of summer dream—seven and a day! And I must fly to Borneo, far and far away. Alighting on a mountain-top, I’d view the scene below, And think of all the tragic things that happened long ago. Once the cruel pagan these savage jungles trod; Now he honors England’s flag and prays to England’s God. In peace he gathers in his fruits, and loves his brother man. Earth’s Golden Age is on the way—deny it here who can! Wandering in Borneo’s forests, deep and wide, The home of myriad birds and blooms, I may no longer bide. There’s Malta still unvisited, and Cyprus and Ceylon— And O, a thousand more beneath the circling sun! Alas! I am no birdman, I own no aeroplane. I may not fly to Trinidad and land in Port of Spain. But O, my spirit wings are free—and books will lead the way To all the isles, for seven weeks—seven and a day!
OUT OF THE BLUE
It isn’t calamities only That fall like bolts from the blue: In our life’s long, wonderful story The loveliest things are true. There are sudden delightful surprises, Refreshing as summer rain To dusty and drooping flowers, That help us to smile again. Forgetting the cares that vexed us, The prick of the hidden thorn, We take up the lightened burdens With courage and hope reborn. And such is this flower in my window; Each bloom in the dusk glows bright, Like a fluttering rose-winged fairy, Poising for sudden flight. [page 21] I am gladdened by each sweet blossom A-tilt on its rosy stem. (The giver chose to be nameless, But I know it was one of Them.) Flowers have thus strewn my pathway Over and over again; And here in the soft blue twilight The meaning to me grows plain. Just over the mystic border— Nearer, perhaps, than we guess— There are winged ones who watch our pathway, Delighting to cheer and bless. Hearts that are human and loving, Hands that are tender and true, They employ whenever they send us Blessings out of the blue. Who knows but my own Heart’s Dearest Leaned down from the bowers above With whisper of benediction To bring me this gift of love? O, it isn’t calamity only That falls with a swift surprise; There may drop from the hands of the Winged Ones Blossoms of Paradise.
THINE ALONE THE GLORY
Once more, O Heavenly Father, To Thee our hearts we raise In prayers of adoration And hymns of grateful praise. With tokens of Thy goodness The fruitful year is crowned. Our footsteps, angel-guarded, In paths of peace are found. Thine alone the glory! O hear us while we sing! We Thee adore for evermore, Our gracious Lord and King! [page 22] We sowed our seed in springtime; Thou gavest rich increase. Till golden sheaves were garnered Thy mercies did not cease. Our eyes were blessed with beauty, Our hearts were cheered with song, And sleep and stillness followed Each day, however long. Thine alone the glory! O hear us while we sing! We Thee adore for evermore, Our gracious Lord and King! Thou, Lord hast been our refuge; Thine everlasting arm In tempest and in sunshine Has shielded us from harm. We thank Thee for Thy bounties That round our pathways fall, But O, for life eternal We bless Thee more than all. Thine alone the glory! O hear us while we sing! We thee adore for evermore, Our gracious Lord and King!
I know where the oaks and maples Are setting the hills ablaze, And the elms and the the amber beeches Are gilding the woodland ways. I know where the scarlet sumachs Are holding their torches high, And the soft, blue smoke of the asters Floats up to the rim of sky. I know where the ripe nuts cluster— Brown twins in a burly husk— On the ridge where the crested bluejay Wings home in the frosty dusk; Where the killdeer calls in the starlight His plaintive and weird good-night, And the silence is stirred by the wing-beats Of geese on their southward flight. [page 23] I know where a forest pathway Winds on to the rim of the world, Where smoke-wreaths hang in the twilight, Like banners of love unfurled, O’er an old grey house in the valley. O see, in the autumn gloam, Like beacons lit for a welcome, The beckoning lights of home.
PIPES OF PAN
The autumn light falls softly bright Upon the forest and the meadow; Our garners hold the harvest gold, And fruits that blushed in sun and shadow. The sun-bronzed laboring man, Goaded no more from sun to sun By duties clamoring to be done, May list the pipes of Pan. He stays his feet where new-sown wheat Lies sleeping in the warm, brown furrow. With plenteous yields from all his fields, He knows no dread of any morrow. With hands and heart at ease He stands and listens to the sound Of sere leaves rustling to the ground, And bird-calls on the breeze. The warbler’s wing—so slight a thing!— Has passed where only thought may follow; The mocking-bird, so lately heard, Is gone with robin, wren and swallow; And piping plaintively, A lone song-sparrow tells his mate, “O let us, love, no longer wait. Fly, fly away with me!” The jocund jay keeps holiday; For him no distant islands beckon. Luxurious ease by tropic seas As heart’s desire he scorns to reckon. [page 24] The finches linger late; Nuthatch and woodpecker explore Their secret source of hidden store For stormy days that wait. The blackbirds sing upon the wing A song with little music in it; But songs are few to-day, and so Who sings for love will surely win it. But hark! there in the tree, So soft, so dear a voice is heard; A cheery-hearted, friendly bird Calls “Chickadee-dee-dee!” Play, pipes of Pan, while play ye can, A madrigal to vanished summer; For winter drear will soon be here And spring is but a tardy comer. To him who listening stands Your music is a prophecy Of joys that have been and shall be Abroad through all the lands.
Mighty wind, from far-off regions blowing! Who shall interpret your wild, lyric mirth? Or who confine your shoreless currents flowing For ever round the earth? With rush and roar you some, or softly stealing, Laden with fragrant balm from unknown springs. Pureness you bring, vigor and health and healing— Or death—upon your wings. We hear your deep-toned cadence rising, falling, Throughout the watches of the solemn night, And dream that voices long, long loved are calling From ways serene and bright. [page 25] Hearts that gave back your music and your madness, Lips that with laughter met your wild caress, Strong ones that all your bluster braved with gladness, Yet loved your tenderness. Where are they now? Upon what shores or islands Flutter in breezy morns their garment’s hem? You have no answer! To those starry highlands You might not follow them. To-day we may not round the world go roaming. Wild wind, with you, buoyant and free and light; But some still, golden eve we shall go homing Beyond your utmost flight. For, wonderful as are the winds and waters, And all the mighty forces Nature knows, In human souls alone, God’s sons and daughters, His living spirit flows.
Over the glimmering fields and woods to-night The drifts lie deep. The flowers that made their pathways a delight Are fast asleep; And bees that murmured music in their bloom, Drowsy and still, are shrouded now in gloom. The bobolink that rang his rippling bell Above the grass, The bluebird and the robin, loved so well, We saw them pass. They left the bowers all desolate and cold, When summer verdure turned to autumn gold. But oh, what sweets the blossoms yielded up Before they slept! In many a delicate and dainty cup Securely kept, Ambrosia fit for angels’ food is ours, Compound quintessences of fragrant flowers. [page 26] Pale amber dews of vanished loveliness We taste, and lo! Fades from the land its cold and glittering dress Of drifted snow. Where perfumes blend and myriad murmurs throng. We wander in a summerland of song.
ROSES IN DECEMBER
Shall roses blossom in December When all the paths are hushed with snow And over woodland, field and garden The stinging winds of winter blow? No more the green leaves wave and whisper; Withered and fallen low they lie, While white, cloud-woven palls of silence Are dropping softly from the sky. The birds are gone, the streams are muted; No more the elfin bugles blow; No balmy fragrances are wafted Across the vales of twilight wills. Here you may find by river margins The willow catkins, silver-pale; The rare arbutus, sea-shelled tinted, The chaste white lily of the dale. Light leaves a-dance in golden sunshine; Dark firs that toss against the blue; A cool, clear spring in sylvan shadow, A bank of violets drenched in dew; The robins’ ringing jubilate, The evensong of hermit thrush; The lap of waves on quiet beaches, Or lisp of leaves in midnight’s hush. [page 27] Deep dells in sunset opalescent; Tinkle of bells at pasture bars; A quiet lake by moonlight silvered; A golden galaxy of stars; The breathing beauty of a garden Where daisies star the dewy dusk, And warm, caressing winds come laden With perfumes of the rose and musk; The deep, sweet joy of faithful friendship, A loving word, a tender tone; The ecstasy of soul-communication With Nature and with God alone. Such are the roses of December That burst in bloom at Christmas-tide; They are but memories we cherish, And love, the key that opens wide The dream-gate of the magic garden, Where all our dearest, loveliest hours In tender, unforgotten glory, Spring into life and bloom like flowers.
I know a hill whereon the drifted snow In undulating waves lies white and deep. Only the feet of moonbeams come and go, And blue cloud shadows, moving soft and slow Across the fields of silence and sleep. From hour to hour no voice is heard, no sound But whispering snows and winds in monotone, Blowing from glistening hills that circle round, And shadowy vales of solitude profound. And ancient, dreaming forests vast and lone, [page 28] But blest companionship, most high, most sweet, The contemplative spirit here may know, Exalted friendship, infinite, complete, Transcending all the commerce of the street, Its garish glitter and unresting show. For God is in His world of white and blue; His are the timeless glories of the hills. All loveliness is here sublimely true, Purity, goodness, manifest to view, For all the shimmering vast His spirit fills.
THE KINDLY YEARS
The kindly years have come and gone, And blessed us as they passed, And at our feet, with lavish love, Their countless treasures cast. Tempest and sunshine, stars and dew, The wild winds and the rain. Perchance have found us sad at heart But brought us joy again. The rose of love has never failed, However deep the snow; And still amid the summer heat The springs of gladness flow. However bountiful the past, The best is yet to come— The loveliest and the last new year, The year that brings us Home. [page 29]
ALL IS WELL
When I have passed death’s portal, Wear no black robes for me, Nor seek the shadowed pathways In lone despondency. Shall not my soul, immortal, Be clothed in light and joy? Shall not my feet upon the hills Be swift in Love’s employ? Weep if you will, a little, O dearest friends and best, When my pale hands are folded Upon my pulseless breast. Weep if you will, a little, But oh, not over long! There’s healing balm in sunshine, There’s solace in a song. Wear no black robes in token When I have passed above, For color, fragrance, beauty, Are sign and seal of love. When the silver cord is broken, The spirit, winged and free, In garments from the looms of joy Is clothed eternally. Deem not that death can sever The loving links we bind; Nor dream earth’s broken music Is lost upon the wind. Forever and forever— Uncounted voices tell— Forever and forevermore, Love lives, and all is well. [page 30]
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