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The night shakes them round me in
legions, Dawn drives them before her like
dreams ; Time sheds them like snows on strange
regions, Swept shoreward on infinite streams; Leaves pallid and sombre and ruddy,
Dead fruits of the fugitive years ; Some stained as with wine and made
bloody, And some as with tears. Some scattered in seven years' traces, As they fell from the boy that was
then ; Long left among idle green places,
Or gathered but now among men; On seas full of wonder and peril, Blown white round the capes of the
north ; Or in islands where myrtles are sterile
And loves bring not forth.
That life is not wearied of yet,
Félise and Yolande and Juliette, Shall I find you not still, shall I miss
you, When sleep, that is true or that seems, Comes back to me hopeless to kiss you,
() daughters of dreams? They are past as a slumber that passes,
As the dew of a dawn of old time; More frail than the shadows on glasses,
More fleet than a wave or a rhyme. As the waves after ebb drawing sea
ward, When their hollows are full of the
night, So the birds that flew singing to me
ward Recede out of sight. The songs of dead seasons, that wander
On wings of articulate words ; Lost leaves that the shore-wind may
squander, Light flocks of untameable birds ; Some sang to me dreaming in class time
And truant in hand as in tongue; For the youngest were born of boy's pas
time, The eldest are young. Is there shelter while life in them
lingers. Is there hearing for songs that recede,
Tunes touched from a harp with men's
fingers, Or blown with boy's mouth in a reed? Is there place in the land of your labor, Is there room in your world of de
light, Where change has not sorrow for neigh
bor And day has not night? In their wings though the sea-wind
yet quivers, Will you spare not a space for them
there Made green with the running of rivers
And gracious with temperate air ; In the fields and the turreted cities
That cover from sunshine and rain
And loves without stain ?
In a region of shadowless hours, Where earth has a garment of glories
And a murmur of musical flowers; In woods where the spring half un
covers The flush of her amorous face, By the waters that listen for lovers,
For these is there place? For the song-birds of sorrow, that
muffle Their music as clouds do their fire: For the storm-birds of passion, that
ruffle Wild wings in a wind of desire: In the stream of the storm as it settles Blown seaward, borne far from the
sun, Shaken loose on the darkness like petals
Dropped one after one ? Though the world of your hands be more
gracious And lovelier in lordship of things Clothed round by sweet art with the
spacious Warm heaven of her imminent wings Let them enter, unfledged and nigli
fainting, For the love of old loves and lost
times; And receive in your palace of painting
This revel of rhymes. Though the seasons of man full of losses
Make empty the years full of youth, If but one thing be constant in crosses
Change lays not her hand upon truth;
Hopes die, and their tombs are for token
That the grief as the joy of them ends Ere time that breaks all men has broken
The faith between friends.
How should one charge thee, how
sway, Save by the memories that were ? Not thy gold nor the strength of thy
ships, Nor the might of thine armies at bay, Made thee, mother, most fair ; But a word from republican lips Said in thy name in thy day.
Though the many lights dwindle to one
light, There is help if the heaven has one; Though the skies be discrowned of the
sunlight And the earth dispossessed of the sun, They have moonlight and sleep for re
payment, When, refreshed as a bride and set
free, With stars and sea-winds in her raiment, Night sinks on the sea.
Hast thou said it, and hast thou forgot ?
Was it not said of thee too,
Art thou indeed among these,
This was thy praise or thy blame
Freeman he is not, but slave,
Strangers came gladly to thee,
Lo! how fair from afar,
Not for revenge or affright,
Be not as tyrant or slave,
Have I set such a star
To show light on thy brow
What I show to thee now? Have ye spoken as brethren together,
the sun and the mountains and thou?
I the mark that is missed
And the arrows that miss,
And the breath in the kiss,
seeker, the soul and the body that is.
My spirit elate :
With hands uncreate
length of the measure of fate.
Looking Godward, to cry
I am low, thou art high ? " I am thou, whom thou seekest to find
him ; find thou but thyself, thou art I.
What is here, dost thou know it?
What was, hast thou known? Prophet nor poet
Nor tripod nor throne
but only thy mother alone.
Born, and not made ;
Allured or afraid,
fashion, she stirs not for all that
And a crown is of night;
To be man with thy night,
spirit, and live out thy life as the
As my soul in thee saith,
Thy life-blood and breath,
I the grain and the furrow,
The plough-cloven clod
The germ and the sod, The deed and the doer, the seell and the
sower, the dust which is God.
tireen leaves of thy labor, white flowers
of thy thought, and red fruit of thy death.
Through the boughs overhead, And my foliage rings round him and
rustles, and branches are bent with his tread.
Be the ways of thy giving
As mine were to thee;
Be the gift of it free;
slave, shalt thou give thee to me.
Alway to last,
the shadows and stars overpast.
The dim paths of the night
In your skies to give light;
the shadowless soul is in sight.
That swells to the sky
The life-tree am I ;
leaves : ye shall live and not die.
That take and that give,
That scourge and forgive,
bark that falls off : they shall die
The wounds in my bark :
Make day of the dark,
rise shall tread out their fires as a
The live roots of the tree,
Makes utterance of me;
other ye hear the waves sound of
As his feathers are spread
The storm-winds of ages
Blow through me and cease,
The spring-wind of peace,
tresses, ere one of my blossoms in-
All shadows and lights
And stream-riven heights, Whose tongue is the wind's tongue and
language of storm-clouds on earth-
All works of all hands
Of time-stricken lands,
And more than ye know,
But only to grow,
above me or death worms below.
These too have their part in me,
As I too in these ;
Such sap is this tree's,
secrets of infinite lands and of seas. In the spring-colored hours
When my mind was as May's, There brake forth of me flowers
By centuries of days, Strong blossoms with perfume of man
hood, shot out from my spirit as rays.
And smell of their shoots
And strength to my roots ;
fect with freedom of soul were my fruits.
I bid you but be ;
I have need not of prayer ; I have need of you free