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When I go up through the mowing field,

The headless aftermath,

Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,

Half closes the garden path.

 

And when I come to the garden ground,

The whir of sober birds

Up from the tangle of withered weeds

Is sadder than any words

 

A tree beside the wall stands bare,

But a leaf that lingered brown,

Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,

Comes softly rattling down.

 

I end not far from my going forth

By picking the faded blue

Of the last remaining aster flower

To carry again to you.

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Weep, and you weep alone.

For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,

But has trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer;

Sigh, it is lost in the air.

The echoes bound to a joyful sound,

But shrink from voicing care.

 

Rejoice, and men will seek you;

Grieve, and they turn and go.

They want full measure of all your pleasure,

But they do not need your woe.

Be glad, and your friends are many;

There are none to decline your nectared wine,

But alone you must drink life’s gall.

 

Feast, and your halls are crowded;

Fast, and the world goes by.

Succeed and give, and it helps you live,

But no man can help you die.

There is room in the halls of pleasure

For a long and lordly train,

But one by one we must all file on

Through the narrow aisles of pain.

 

Is this a time to be cloudy and sad,

When our mother Nature laughs around;

When even the deep blue heavens look glad,

And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground?

 

There are notes of joy from the hang-bird and wren,

And gossip of swallows through all the sky;

The ground-squirrel gaily chirps by his den,

And the wilding bee hums merrily by.

 

The clouds are at play in azure space,

And their shadows at play on the bright green vale,

And here they stretch to the frolic chase,

And there they roll on the easy gale.

 

There’s a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,

There’s a titter of winds in that beechen tree,

There a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower,

And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea.

 

And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles

On a dewy earth that smiles in his ray,

On the leaping waters and gay young isles;

At, look, he’ll smile thy gloom away.

 

 

 

 

A dream lies dead here. May you softly go

Before this place, and turn away your eyes,

Nor seek to know the look of that which dies

Importuning Life for life. Walk not in woe,

But, for little, let your step be slow

And, of your mercy, be not sweetly wise

With words of hope and Spring and tenderer skies.

A dream lies dead; and this all mourners know:

 

Whenever one drifted petal leaves the tree-

Though white of bloom as it had been before

And proudly waitful of fecundity-

One little loveliness can be more;

And so must Beauty bow her imperfect head

Because a dream has joined the wistful dead!

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore–

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over–

Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags

Like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Thou dreamer with the million moods,

Of restless heart like me,

Lay thy white hands against my breast

And cool its pain, O Sea!

 

O wanderer of the unseen paths,

Restless of heart as I,

 

Blow hither, from caves of blue,

Wind of the healing sky!

 

O treader of the fiery way,

With passionate heart like mine,

Hold to my lips thy healthful cup

Brimmed with its blood-red wine!

 

O countless watchers of the night,

Of sleepless heart like me,

Pour your white beauty in my soul,

Till I grow calm as ye!

 

O sea, O sun, O wind and stars,

(O hungry heart that longs!)

Feed my starved lips with life, with love,

And touch my tongue with songs!

 

Is this a time to be cloudy and sad,

When our mother Nature laughs around;

When even the deep blue heavens look glad,

And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground?

 

There are notes of joy from the hang-bird and wren,

And the gossip of swallows through all the sky;

The ground-squirrel gaily chirps by his den,

And the wilding bee hums merrily by.

 

The clouds are at play in the azure space,

And their shadows at play on the bright green vale,

And here they stretch to the frolic chase,

And there they roll on the easy gale.

 

There’s a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,

There’s a titter of winds on that beechen tree,

There’s a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower,

And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea.

 

And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles

On the dewy earth that smiles in his ray,

On the leaping waters and gay young isles;

At, look, and he’ll smile thy gloom away.

A tree’s leaves may be ever so good,

So may its bar, so may its wood;

But unless you put the right thing to its root

It never will show much flower or fruit

 

But I may be one who does not care

Ever to have tree bloom or bear.

Leaves for smooth and bark for rough,

Leaves and bark maybe tree enough.

 

Some giant trees have bloom so small

They might as well have none at all

Late in life I have come on fern.

Now lichens are due to have their turn.

 

I bade men tell me which in brief,

Which is fairer, flower or leaf.

They did not have the wit to say,

Leaves by night and flowers by day.

 

Leaves and bar, leaves and bark,

To lean against and hear in the dark.

Petals I may have once pursued.

Leaves are all my darker mood.

Romance, who loves to nod and sing

With drowsy head and folded wing

Among the green leaves asĀ  they shake

Far down within some shadowy lake,

To me a painted paroquet

Hath been-most familiar bird-

Taught me my alphabet world

To lisp my very earliest word

While in the wild wood I did lie,

A child-with a most knowing eye.

 

Of late, eternal condor years

So shake the very Heaven on high

With tumult as they thunder by,

I have no time for idle cares

Through gazing on the unquiet sky;

And when an hour with calmer wings

Its down upon my spirit flings;

That little time with lyre and rhyme

To while away-forbidden things-

My heart would feel to be a crime

Unless it trembled with the strings.

 

 

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers t0-day;

And give us not to think so far away

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here

All simply in the springing of the year.

 

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,

Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;

And make us happy in the happy bees,

The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

 

And make us happy in the darting bird

That suddenly above the bees is heard,

The meteor that thrusts in the needle bill,

And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

 

For this is love and nothing else is love,

The which it is reserved for God above

To sanctify to what fat ends He will,

But which it only needs that we fulfil.