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I like to see the flowers grow,

To see the pansies in a row;

I think a well-kept garden’s fine,

And wish that such a one were mine;

But one can’t have a stock of flowers

Unless he digs for hours.

My ground is always bleak and bare;

The roses do not flourish there.

And where I once sowed poppy seeds

Is now a tangled mass of weeds.

I’m fond of flowers, but admit,

For digging I don’t care a bit.

I envy men whose yards are gay,

But never work as hard as they;

I also envy men who own

More wealth than I have ever known.

I’m like a lot of men who yearn

For joys they refuse to earn.

You cannot have the joys of work

And take the comforts of a shirk.

I find the man I envy most

Is he who’s longest at his post.

I could have gold and roses, too,

If I would work like those who do.

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If I had youth I’d bid the world to try me;

I’d answer every challenge to my will.

Though mountains stood in silence to defy me,

I’d try to make them subject to my skill.

I’d keep my dreams and follow where they led me;

I’d glory in the hazards which about.

I’d eat the simple fare privations fed me,

And gladly make my couch upon the ground.

If I had youth I’d ask no odds of distance,

Nor wish to tread the known and level ways.

I’d want to meet and master strong resistance,

And in a worth-while struggle spend my days.

I’d seek the task which calls for full endeavor;

I’d feel the thrill of battle in my veins.

I’d bear my burden gallantly, and never

Desert the hills to walk on common plains.

If I had youth no thought of failure lurking

Beyond to-morrow’s dawn should fright my soul.

Let failure strike-it still should find me working

With faith that I should some day reach my goal.

I’d dice with danger-aye!-and glory in it;

I’d make high stakes the purpose of my throw.

I’d risk for much, and should I fail to win it,

I would not even whimper at the blow.

If I had youth no chains of fear should blind me;

I’d brave the heights which older men must shun,

I’d leave the well-worn lanes of life behind me,

And seek to do what men have never done.

Rich prizes wait for those who do not waver;

The world needs men to battle for the truth.

It calls each hour for stronger hearts and braver.

This is the age for those who still have youth!

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,

A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;

Blinks but an hour or two; and then,

A blood-red orange, sets again.

 

Before the stars have left the skies,

At morning in the dark I rise;

And shivering in my nakedness,

By the cold candle, bath and dress.

 

Close by the jolly fire I sit

To warm my frozen bones a bit;

Or with a reindeer-sled, explore

The colder countries round the door.

 

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap

Me in my comforter and cap;

The cold wind burns my face, and blows

Its frosty pepper in my nose.

 

Black are my steps on silver sod;

Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;

And tree and house, and hill and lake,

Are frosted like a wedding cake.

It’s good the great green earth to roam,

Where sights of awe the soul inspire;

But oh, it’s best, the coming home,

The crackle of one’s own hearth-fire!

You’ve hob-nobbed with the solemn Past;

You’ve seen the pageantry of kings;

Yet oh, how sweet to gain at last

The peace and rest of Little Things!

 

Perhaps you’re counted with Great;

You strain and strive with mighty men;

Your hand is on the helm of State;

Colossus-like stride…and then

There comes a pause, a shining hour,

A dog that leaps, a hand that clings:

O Titan, turn from pomp and power;

Give all your heart to Little Things.

 

Go couch you childwise in the grass,

Believing it’s some jungle strange,

Where mighty monsters peer and pass,

Where beetles roam and spiders range,

‘Mid gloom and gleam of leaf and blade,

What dragons rasp their painted wings!

O magic world of shine and shade!

O beauty land of Little Things!

 

I sometimes wonder, after all,

Amid this tangled web of fate,

If what is great may not be small,

And what is small may not be great!

So wondering I go my way,

Yet in my ear contentment sings…

O may I ever see, I pray,

God’s grace and love in Little Things.

 

So give to me, I only beg,

A little roof to call my own,

A little cider in the keg,

A little meat upon the bone;

A little garden by the see,

A little boat that dips and swings…

Take wealth, take fame, but leave to me,

O Lord of Life, just Little Things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October gave a party;

The leaves by hundreds came-

The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,

And leaves of every name.

The Sunshine spread a carpet,

And everything was grand,

Miss Weather led the dancing,

Professor Wind the band.

 

The Chestnuts came in yellow,

The Oaks in crimson dressed;

The lovely Misses Maple

In scarlet looked their best;

All balanced to their partners,

And gaily fluttered by;

The sight was like a rainbow

New fallen from the sky.

 

Then, in the rustic hollow,

At hide-and-seek they played,

The party closed at sundown,

And everybody stayed.

Professor Wind played louder;

They flew along the ground;

And the party ended

In jolly “hand around”

I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,

My friends forsake me like a memory lost;

I am the self-consumer of my woes,

They rise and vanish in oblivious host,

Like shades in love and death’s oblivion lost;

And yet I am! and live with shadows tost

 

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,

Into the living sea of waking dreams,

Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,

But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;

And e’en the dearest-that I loved the best-

Are strange-nay, rather stranger than the rest.

 

I long for scenes where man has never trod;

A place where woman never smil’d or wept;

There to abide with my creator, God,

And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept;

Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;

The grass below-above the vaulted sky.

 

 

O Spirit of the Summertime!

Bring back the roses to the dells;

The swallow from her distant clime,

The honey-bee from drowsy cells.

 

Bring back the friendship of the sun;

The guided evenings, calm and late,

When merry children homeward run,

And peeping stars bid lovers wait.

 

Bring back the singing; and the scent

Of meadowlands at dewy prime;-

Oh, bring again my heart’s content,

Thou Spirit of the Summertime!

‘Tis true, ’tis day; what though it be?

O wilt thou therefore rise me?

Why should we rise, because ’tis light?

Did we lie down, because ’twas night?

Love which in spite of darkness brought us hither

Should in despite of light keep us together.

 

Light has no tongue, but is all eyes;

If it could speak as well as spy,

This were the worst that it could say-

That being well, I fain would stay,

And that I loved my heart and honor so,

That I would not from her, that had them, go.

 

Must business thee from hence remove?

Oh, that the worst disease of love!

The poor, the foul, the false, love can

Admit, but not the busied man.

He which hath business, and makes love, doth do

Such wrong as when a married man doth woo.

 

The Moon more indolently dream to-night

Than a fair woman on her couch at rest,

Caressing, with a hand distraught and light,

Before she sleeps, the contour of her breast.

 

Upon her silken avalanche of down,

Dying she breathes a long and swooning sigh;

And watches the white visions past her flown,

Which rise like blossoms to the azure sky.

 

And when, at times, wrapped in her languor deep,

Earthward she lets a furtive tear-drop flow,

Some pious poet, enemy of sleep,

 

Takes in his hollow hand the tear of snow

Whence gleams of iris and opal start,

And hides it from the Sun, deep in his heart.

I hid my love when young till I

Couldn’t bear the buzzing of a fly;

I hid my love to my despite

Till I could not bear to look at light;

I dare not gaze upon her face

But left her memory in each place;

Where’er I saw a wild flower lie

I kissed and bade my love goodbye.

 

I met her in the greenest dells,

Where dewdrops pearl the wood bluebells;

The lost breeze kissed her bright blue eye,

The bee kissed and went singing by,

A sunbeam found a passage there,

A gold chain round her neck so fair;

As secret as the wild bee’s song

She lay there all summer long.

 

I hid my love in field and town

Till e’en the breeze would knock me down;

The bees seemed singing ballads o’er,

The fly’s bass turned to lion’s roar;

And even the silence found a tongue,

To haunt me all the summer long;

The riddle nature could not prove

Was nothing else but secret love.

 

 

 

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