From snow that melted only yesterday
These pools that, though in forests, still reflect The total sky almost without defect, And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver, Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone, And yet not out by any brook or river, But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds To darken nature and be summer woods-- Let them think twice before they use their powers To blot out and drink up and sweep away These flowery waters and these watery flowers From snow that melted only yesterday.
I've tried the new moon tilted in the air Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster As you might try a jewel in your hair. I've tried it fine with little breadth of lustre, Alone, or in one ornament combining With one first-water star almost as shining.
I put it shining anywhere I please. By walking slowly on some evening later, I've pulled it from a crate of crooked trees, And brought it over glossy water, greater, And dropped it in, and seen the image wallow, The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.
The rose is a rose, And was always a rose. But the theory now goes That the apple 's a rose, And the pear is, and so 's The plum, I suppose. The dear only knows What will next prove a rose. You, of course, are a rose-- But were always a rose.
Here come real stars to fill the upper skies, And here on earth come emulating flies, That though they never equal stars in size, (And they were never really stars at heart) Achieve at times a very star-like start. Only of course they can't sustain the part.
Inscription for a Garden Wall
Winds blow the open grassy places bleak; But where this old wall burns a sunny cheek, They eddy over it too toppling weak To blow the earth or anything self-clear; Moisture and color and odor thicken here. The hours of daylight gather atmosphere.
The heart can think of no devotion Greater than being shore to the ocean-- Holding the curve of one position, Counting an endless repetition.
As vain to raise a voice as a sigh In the tumult of free leaves on high. What are you in the shadow of trees Engaged up there with the light and breeze?
Less than the coral-root you know That is content with the daylight low, And has no leaves at all of its own; Whose spotted flowers hang meanly down.
You grasp the bark by a rugged pleat, And look up small from the forest's feet. The only leaf it drops goes wide, Your name not written on either side.
You linger your little hour and are gone, And still the woods sweep leafily on, Not even missing the coral-root flower You took as a trophy of the hour. 1901
As far as I can see this autumn haze That spreading in the evening air both ways, Makes the new moon look anything but new, And pours the elm-tree meadow full of blue, Is all the smoke from one poor house alone With but one chimney it can call its own; So close it will not light an early light, Keeping its life so close and out of sight No one for hours has set a foot outdoors So much as to take care of evening chores. The inmates may be lonely women-folk. I want to tell them that with all this smoke They prudently are spinning their cocoon And anchoring it to an earth and moon From which no winter gale can hope to blow it,-- Spinning their own cocoon did they but know it.
To Ridgley Torrence On last looking into his "Hesperides"
I often see flowers from a passing car That are gone before I can tell what they are.
I want to get out of the train and go back To see what they were beside the track.
I name all the flowers I am sure they were n't: Not fireweed loving where woods have burnt--
Not blue bells gracing a tunnel mouth-- Not lupine living on sand and drouth.
Was something brushed across my mind That no one on earth will ever find?
Heaven gives its glimpses only to those In no position to look too close.
Dust always blowing about the town, Except when sea-fog laid it down, And I was one of the children told Some of the blowing dust was gold.
All the dust the wind blew high Appeared like gold in the sunset sky, But I was one of the children told Some of the dust was really gold.
Such was life in the Golden Gate: Gold dusted all we drank and ate, And I was one of the children told, "We all must eat our peck of gold." As of about 1880
When the spent sun throws up its rays on cloud And goes down burning into the gulf below, No voice in nature is heard to cry aloud At what has happened. Birds, at least, must know It is the change to darkness in the sky. Murmuring something quiet in its breast, One bird begins to close a faded eye; Or overtaken too far from its nest, Hurrying low above the grove, some waif Swoops just in time to his remembered tree. At most he thinks or twitters softly, "Safe! Now let the night be dark for all of me. Let the night be too dark for me to see Into the future. Let what will be be."