If you would find a moral in these lines,
Look not, dear Tracy! on the words alone:
On all the hopes and fears – symbols and signs –
Virtues and vices – musings half-unknown: –
(Even at best, shallow and rudely done
Yester-ideas); look not! though they be bare
Of worth, the faults are thick as summer-flies:
Unless your softer-than-Midas touch of care
Turn them to gold – your fair look make them fair,
Reflecting them in softly-glancing eyes, –
(As the butterfly sheds loveliness abroad –
Comes on a thistle which were grey and bowed,
Yet is made lovely by its being there).
If you would find a moral in these lines,
The sun spread its balmy subsistence;
The earth lay in silence below;
The breeze softly murmured its presence;
We walked where the blue lupines grow. Continue Reading
An old cowhand, his face all gnarled and brown,
For he had seen the dust of many trails
And scorching drives – the freezing winds had blown,
The rains had come, as he pushed toward the rails;
But the rough plains, and wind, and rain, and gales
Had not yet dimmed his eye, nor yet had grown
His wit less sharp – addressing me once said,
‘I’d rather one sweet draught from some deep spring
Than from wide marshes (alkaline and dead
Because their range is far too broadly spread)
All of the purest waters I could bring.
Spread not yourself beyond your narrow bounds:
The steel-tipped arrow may miss; but though straight-sped
It strike, the untipped shaft only rebounds.’
Out of the breathless night
Creeps reluctant Dawn;
A sickly ray of light
Glimmers, and is gone. Continue Reading
Draw thy bellows o’er the burning coal;
Skim the dross, mingled with my soul.
Cast the waste on thy refuse heap;
Temper thy steel with the tears I weep.
Rivers run down to the sea,
Yet seas run dry; – all is vanity!
Mountains fall; flowers fade;
And my withered heart has found no shade.
Through barren lands, through the desert waste,
Without relent my soul is chased.
Draw thy bellows o’er the burning coal
Of the raging fire in my soul!
Oh! that time might be turned back,
That I might bask in days of yore;
Oh! that these years could fall away,
And Oh! to see my love once more.
Burn! burn! burn! vent thine ire!
All my tears but feed the fire.
Weep, weep, weep. Coals burn on.
My love is gone. My love is gone.
The day is come; I pause, remembering:
Once more I walk the narrow halls of brick,
Pace once again the ways I know so well,
And thrill to trace fond lineaments of old;
Too long, too long have I been gone from you!
Too long walked paths less known, less understood,
And ah! been far too long left comfortless
In the cold fields. Continue Reading
How long this wasteland have I roamed? How long
Have windblown hilltops, rising stark and bare
O’er barren, snowswept meadows been my home?
How long will th’ frozen air
In frozen fury howl her frozen song?
How long yet will I roam?
For time seems slowed by this bitter cold:
This desert land of wood and snow and stone
(A titan world, unheeded and alone)
Unchanged, untouched by outside worlds, is rolled
In grand repose along the course of time:
Awful and stately – frozen and sublime. Continue Reading
He plunged beneath the unfathomable sea,
Whose waves are strong and dread;
The mighty billows roaring maddeningly
Thundered above his head. Continue Reading
You might have seen the flags unfurled
In splendor, telling of the fame
And honor of your well-loved name,
Through realms and nations of the world, Continue Reading
We weep for you, America,
Your faded hopes, your broken dreams;
We see the crumbling of your law,
Unlit by Justice’ dying beams;
We find no answer, no redress,
And weep for you – not love you less. Continue Reading
God plucked thee from the monarch’s brow,
The brightest jewel in his crown,
And found in stern oppression’s bough
The fruit of freedom dropping down:
America! land of the blessed!
In being watchful, thou art strong;
Be brave: that patriot’s the best
Who fears not to assail the wrong.
Land of the free!
May God preserve thy liberty,
And keep thee safe from foreign tyranny. Continue Reading
Concealed within the letters of these lines,
(Fate, I suppose, has touched my humble pen,
For mere coincidence, that intertwines
And interacts with words of common men,
Will simply not suffice, to thoughtful minds,
As the solution to this quandary,)
There dances cunningly, and strangely winds
The name – sweet name – of her whose legacy
This crafty work of poetry enfolds:
For in the sum of all these words there lies
The name that you will find this sonnet holds –
If you search zealously – if you are wise.
Rebekah! if the stony hand of Time
Erase these lines (for what has Time of shame,
Being careless of the subtleties of rhyme,
Even daring to efface your well-loved name?),
Kind heart! your name will still be trebly dear:
As you yourself, your name is rich and pure –
Honest and firm – impassioned and sincere.
May be the ink will fail, the pages tear
And fade; but your fond name shall still endure,
Emblazoned rich, in hues of living art,
Stainless – upon the fabric of my heart!
Dear Nikki, my dear Nikki, – but forgive
My overboldness thus to call you mine:
It is but wishfulness; it is a sign
Of heartfelt longing fed by deep desire,
A hope that will not die; – oh, let it live!
Let it spring upward, clearer, brighter, higher,
Till it become a joy that cannot leave,
And grow a flame in Love’s eternal fire, – Continue Reading
O Nikki dear, my heart, my heart is broken:
I have, alas! no hope, no peace, no joy;
‘Tis not, ‘tis not the words that you have spoken,
But that you spoke them, sweet! to Danny boy: Continue Reading
Take heart! We’ve seen your plight
And think it still may turn out right:
If you’ll just take some sound advice,
We’ll have you fixed up in a trice,
All happy with a loving wife
To brighten up your fading life.
By many counselors one learns,
And so we brought a few concerns
(Like growing age and growing belly)
To seek help from our dear friend Shelly,
Who straightens out old bachelor fools
With long, laborious lists of rules. Continue Reading
Flood my sight,
Thou my crystalline delight,
With the early morning light
Refracted: Continue Reading
No crime more grievous: no higher cost:
No wound more bitter than innocence lost.
Sweet little lamb! Innocent child!
Young and so helpless: meek and so mild:
What makes thee weep and sigh? why dost thou moan?
Why art thou lying here sad and alone?
Innocent lamb! when wilt thou rise?
When wilt thou wipe all the tears from thine eyes?
Who will protect thee when daylight is gone?
Dormouse or rabbit? tender young fawn?
Surely October’s gray ashen skies
Lend thee no comfort; – wilt thou not rise?
Or dost thou mourn some unspeakable loss?
Pillow thy head, then, upon the green moss.
Gentle light filtered through leaves intertwined
Falls on thee, child, where thou art reclined –
Comforted only by badger and hind. Continue Reading
It is an evening calm and still,
With daylight palely ling’ring;
O’er aspen-gilded mead and hill,
To mingle with many a flutter and thrill,
Sweet fairies dance, and softly sing: Continue Reading
In the world of a dream,
How unseemly to seem!
Is that or this real?
Is Fancy’s faint peal
Or Reason’s pale beam
The better a spirit to thrill?
Once again I wander seaward, feel the briny blowing foam,
See the salt expanse that holds me here, a thousand miles from home;
Pace the sandy desert beaches; watch the seagulls soaring high,
Wheeling boundless in their cycles through the boundless, barren sky; Continue Reading
The various years from sun to sun
Lit up the tower black and tall,
And traced the courses they had run
In light and shade upon the wall;
The ivy-moss was thickly grown,
Unchecked by window-ledge or door:
The rounding wall, the graying stone
Stood lonely on the desert moor. Continue Reading