In Winter Time
Though leafless are my trees-
My trees so tall and stately-
And silently from these
My birds have flitted lately;
Though many joys I've known,
As sweet as baby laughter,
Which have forever flown-
And sorrow follows after;
Though dead my summer flowers,
And winds are bleak and dreary,
I shall not waste the hours
In vain lament, my dearie,
Nor miss the gay carouse
Of bobolink and linnet,
If still my heart shall house
A singing bird within it.
It scarcely seems winter, so faint is the breeze
That stirs the green mistletoe there in the trees,
So idly on high float the white clouds along,
So sweet is the note of the meadow-lark's song,
So lazily loiter the herds where they stand,
So warm is the sunshine that lies on the land.
How bright, and far-reaching, from morning till night,
The glint and the glory, on foot-hill and height,
As if a broad mantle of yellowest gold,
O'er vale, mount and mesa, were softly unrolled;
As if Father Time sets his dial to show
That June's darling roses are ready to blow.
So pure is the air, and so crystalline clear,
The Organ peaks cluster so neighborly near
We bid them 'Good morning,' as if they are friends,
And the blue arch of heaven so lovingly bends
Above us, the spot seems a tropical isle,
Where Summer sheds ever the light of her smile.
New Mexican sunshine! like wine that is old,
And richest of vintage, its amber drops hold
New strength for the weak, and new joy for the strong;
It thrills them, yet soothes, like a lullaby-song,
Brings languor, and peace, till the worn spirit seems
Afloat in a boat, in the harbor of dreams!
Arizona is peerless, her breezes are soft,
And mostly her sky is surprisingly fair,
For 'the sweet little cherub' on duty aloft,
Controlling the tricks of the ambient air,
Is vigilant always- good-natured enough
In doing his meteorological stunts;
Yet sometimes we think, when the weather is rough,
That he tries to dispense all his product at once.
Far down the broad continent's vertebral line
Old Boreas batters the earth with his flail-
The heavy snows fall in the forests of pine,
And the zephyrs give way to the bellowing gale.
But here, in the Salt River valley below,
The air is as warm as the breath of a child,
Not even the tiniest flakelets of snow
Suggesting the winter, uncanny and wild.
The roses are with us the round rolling year,
As rich and as regal as Persia can boast-
Every flower that is found in the Valeof Cashmere
Abloom at its best when we prize it the most.
And then- the ripe oranges, certainly these,
So large and so luscious, so yellow and bright,
Are the apples of gold from Hesperides,
Grown only where life is a dream of delight.
In lauding the charms of this marvelous land,
The green of her valleys, the fruit of her vines,
Her beautiful mountains, her scenery grand,
Her herds and her orchards, the wealth of her mines,
The worth of her people, we make no mistake,
For the whole world attests what so long has been true-
Arizona was worthy and ready to take
Her place on the roll with her star in the blue.
The golden glow of autumn-time
Hath faded like an ember,
And on the dreary landscape lies
The first flakes of November;
Chill blows the wind through woods discrowned
Of all their leafy glory,
As thus the seasons in their round
Repeat the endless story!
The earth hath yielded up her fruits
To bless the farmer's labors,
And peace and plenty crown the lives
Of cheery friends and neighbors;
In fertile vales, on prairies broad,
In homes by lake and river,
Ten thousand thousand hearts unite
To bless the Gracious Giver.
Thanksgiving for the harvest full,
The orchard's mellow treasures,
The purple grapes, the golden corn,
And all the joys and pleasures,
And bounties rich and manifold,
That make life worth the living-
For these, alike, the young and old,
Join in a glad thanksgiving.
The kindly pair, whose weight of years
With frosty locks hath crowned them;
Are seated at the festal board
With all their children round them;
The father giveth fervent thanks
In homely phrase and diction,
And stretches forth his aged hands
In holy benediction.
Thus friends, long sundered, reunite,
Recount each joy and pleasure-
The annals of the fading past-
And fill again the measure
Of youth, and healthful joyousness,
As in the glad time olden,
When life was new, and skies were blue,
And all the days were golden.
Thanks to the Pilgrim Fathers, then,
Whose little goodly leaven
Works out through all the buried years
This sweet foretaste of heaven.
And to the Lord, whose bounteous gifts
Make life well worth the living-
Who dwells above, whose name is Love-
Be evermore thanksgiving!
I saw a pretty bluebird, yesterday,
Rocking itself upon a budding spray-
The while it fluted forth a tender song
That brought a promise of sunshiny days.
It is the loveliest little bird that comes
In early spring-time to our northern homes.
We note its presence, bid it welcome here,
Before the crocus its green calyx parts
To lead the smiling sisterhood of flowers
In fair procession through the summer land.
The sweet-voiced warbler wears a coat that mocks
The fair, fringed gentian in its azure hue,
Or the blue larkspur.
Oftentimes a bar
Of music or the drowsy hum of bees
In an old orchard, or the faintest scent
Of a familiar blossom, leads us back
Along the track of years, to sights and sounds
Of long ago. So, ever, when I hear
The bluebird caroling its perfect song-
Whose harshest note breathes only love and peace-
And when I mark its brilliant uniform-
This midget bird, so small that it might be
Imprisoned in a lady's lily hand-
I am reminded of the battle years
When men, full-armed, and wearing suits of blue,
Marched to the music of the fife and drum
In strong battalions in a southern land.
And all the pomp and blazonry of war-
Guidons and banners tossing in the breeze,
Sabers and muskets glinting in the sun,
Carriage and caisson rumbling o'er the stones,
The midnight vigil of the lone vidette,
The shock and roar of battle, and the shouts
Of the victorious army when the fight
Was done; the aftermath of sorrows deep-
The cries and moans of wounded, dying men,
The hurried burial of the dead at night,
The broken lives in many homes, the hearths
Made desolate- all these come back to me,
As I beheld and knew them once; and then,
In sad reflection to myself I sigh:
What weak, inglorious fools we mortals are
That war must be, or any need of war.
And yet, the better day is coming when
The teachings of the lowly Nazarene
Shall be the rule of nations- as of men;
The sword and bayonet shall be preserved,
By the fair children of a nobler race,
As relics only, of a barbarous past
When men were crazed, and shed each other's blood.
All souls shall be in touch and harmony
With Nature, and her higher, holier laws;
And all the world, from farthest sea to sea,
Shall know a sweet, idyllic peace and rest,
Unmarred by strife, or any harsher sounds
Than her harmonious voices- ocean waves,
Breaking in rhythmic beat upon the shore;
The murmurous solo of the valley brook-
The wind's wild monody amid the pines-
The thrush's whistle, and the bluebird's song.