A Calendar Of Sonnets: April
No days such honored days as these! While yet
Fair Aphrodite reigned, men seeking wide
For some fair thing which should forever bide
On earth, her beauteous memory to set
In fitting frame that no age could forget,
Her name in lovely April's name did hide,
And leave it there, eternally allied
To all the fairest flowers Spring did beget.
And when fair Aphrodite passed from earth,
Her shrines forgotten and her feasts of mirth,
A holier symbol still in seal and sign,
Sweet April took, of kingdom most divine,
When Christ ascended, in the time of birth
Of spring anemones, in Palestine.
A Calendar Of Sonnets: May
O Month when they who love must love and wed!
Were one to go to worlds where May is naught,
And seek to tell the memories he had brought
From earth of thee, what were most fitly said?
I know not if the rosy showers shed
From apple-boughs, or if the soft green wrought
In fields, or if the robin's call be fraught
The most with thy delight. Perhaps they read
Thee best who in the ancient time did say
Thou wert the sacred month unto the old:
No blossom blooms upon thy brightest day
So subtly sweet as memories which unfold
In aged hearts which in thy sunshine lie,
To sun themselves once more before they die.
O patient shore, thou canst not go to meet
Thy love, the restless sea, how comfortest
Thou all thy loneliness? Art thou at rest,
When, loosing his strong arms from round thy feet,
He turns away? Know'st thou, however sweet
That other shore may be, that to thy breast
He must return? And when in sterner test
He folds thee to a heart which does not beat,
Wraps thee in ice, and gives no smile, no kiss,
To break long wintry days, still dost thou miss
Naught from thy trust? Still wait, unfaltering,
The higher, warmer waves which leap in spring?
O sweet, wise shore, to be so satisfied!
O heart, learn from the shore! Love has a tide!
A Calendar Of Sonnets: March
Month which the warring ancients strangely styled
The month of war,--as if in their fierce ways
Were any month of peace!--in thy rough days
I find no war in Nature, though the wild
Winds clash and clang, and broken boughs are piled
As feet of writhing trees. The violets raise
Their heads without affright, without amaze,
And sleep through all the din, as sleeps a child.
And he who watches well may well discern
Sweet expectation in each living thing.
Like pregnant mother the sweet earth doth yearn;
In secret joy makes ready for the spring;
And hidden, sacred, in her breast doth bear
Annunciation lilies for the year.
O marvel, fruit of fruits, I pause
To reckon thee. I ask what cause
Set free so much of red from heats
At core of earth, and mixed such sweets
With sour and spice: what was that strength
Which out of darkness, length by length,
Spun all thy shining thread of vine,
Netting the fields in bond as thine.
I see thy tendrils drink by sips
From grass and clover's smiling lips;
I hear thy roots dig down for wells,
Tapping the meadow's hidden cells.
Whole generations of green things,
Descended from long lines of springs,
I see make room for thee to bide
A quiet comrade by their side;
I see the creeping peoples go
Mysterious journeys to and fro,
Treading to right and left of thee,
Doing thee homage wonderingly.
I see the wild bees as they fare,
Thy cups of honey drink, but spare.
I mark thee bathe and bathe again
In sweet unclaendared spring rain.
I watch how all May has of sun
Makes haste to have thy ripeness done,
While all her nights let dews escape
To set and cool thy perfect shape.
Ah, fruit of fruits, no more I pause
To dream and seek thy hidden laws!
I stretch my hand and dare to taste,
In instant of delicious waste
On single feast, all things that went
To make the empire thou hast spent.
The Fir-Tree And The Brook
The Fir-Tree looked on stars, but loved the Brook!
"O silver-voiced! if thou wouldst wait,
My love can bravely woo." All smiles forsook
The brook's white face. "Too late!
Too late! I go to wed the sea.
I know not if my love would curse or bless thee.
I may not, dare not, tarry to caress thee,
Oh, do not follow me!
The Fir-Tree moaned and moaned till spring;
Then laughed in manic joy to feel
Early one day, the woodsmen of the King
Sign him with a sign of burning steel,
The first to fall. "Now flee
Thy swiftest, Brook! Thy love may curse or bless me,
I care not, if but once thou dost caress me,
O Brook, I follow thee!
All torn and bruised with mark of adze and chain,
Hurled down the dizzy slide of sand,
Tossed by great waves in ecstsy of pain,
And rudely thrown at last to land,
The Fir-Tree heard: "Oh, see
With what fierce love it is I must caress thee!
I warned thee I might curse, and never bless thee,
Why didst thou follow me?
All stately set with spar and brace and rope,
The Fir-Tree stood and sailed and sailed.
In wildest storm when all the ship lost hope,
The Fir-Tree never shook nor quailed,
Nor ceased from saying, "Free
Art thou, O Brook! But once thou hast caressed me;
For life, for death, thy love has cursed or blessed me;
Behold, I follow thee!"
Lost in a night, and no man left to tell,
Crushed in the giant iceberg's play,
The ship went down without a song, a knell.
Still drifts the Fir-Tree night and day,
Still moans along the sea
A voice: "O Fir-Tree! thus must I possess thee;
Eternally, brave love, will I caress thee,
Dead for the love of me!"