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    Hymn to Demeter

    From "A Sicilian Idyl"

      Weave the dance. and raise again the sacred chorus;
      Wreathe the garlands of the spring about the hair;
      Now once more the meadows burst in bloom before us,
      Crying swallows dart and glitter through the air.
      Glints the plowshare in the brown and fragrant furrow;
      Pigeons coo in shady coverts as they pair;
      Come the furtive mountain folk from cave and burrow,
      Lean, and blinking at the sunlight's sudden glare.

      Bright through midmost heaven moves the lesser Lion;
      Hide the Hyades in ocean caverns hoar;
      Past the shoulders of the sunset flames Orion,
      Following the sisters seaward evermore.
      Gleams the east at evening, lit by low Arcturus;
      Out to subtle-scented dawns beside the shore;
      Yet a little and the Pleiades will lure us:
      Weave the dance and raise the chorus as of yore.

      Far to eastward up the fabled gulf of Issus,
      Northward, southward, westward, now the trader goes,
      Passing headlands clustered yellow with narcissus,
      Bright with hyacinth, with poppy, and with rose.
      Shines the sea and falls the billow as undaunted,
      Past the rising of the stars that no man knows,
      Sails he onward through the islands siren-haunted,
      Till the clashing gates of rock before him close.

      Kindly Mother of the beasts and birds and flowers,
      Gracious bringer of the barley and the grain,
      Earth awakened feels thy sunlight and thy showers;
      Great Demeter! Let us call thee not in vain;
      Lead us safely from the seed-time to the threshing,
      Past the harvest and the vineyard's purple stain;
      Let us see thy corn-pale hair the sunlight meshing,
      When the sounding flails of autumn swing again.

      Yale Review                                      Louis V. Ledoux

    Over the Wintry Threshold

      Over the wintry threshold
      Who comes with joy today,
      So frail, yet so enduring,
      To triumph o'er dismay?

      Ah, quick her tears are springing,
      And quickly they are dried,
      For sorrow walks before her,
      But gladness walks beside.

      She comes with gusts of laughter, --
      The music as it rills;
      With tenderness and sweetness,
      The wisdom of the hills.

      Her hands are strong to comfort,
      Her heart is quick to heed;
      She knows the signs of sadness,
      She knows the voice of need;

      There is no living creature,
      However poor or small,
      But she will know its trouble,
      And hearken to its call.

      Oh, well they fare forever,
      By mighty dreams possessed,
      Whose hearts have lain a moment
      On that eternal breast.

      Smart Set                  Bliss Carman

    In April

      If I am slow forgetting,
      It is because the sun
      Has such old tricks of setting
      When April days are done.

      The soft spring sunlight traces
      Old patterns -- green and gold;
      The flowers have no new faces,
      The very buds are old!

      If I am slow forgetting --
      Ah, well, come back and see
      The same old sunbeams petting
      My garden-plots and me.

      Come smell the green things growing,
      The boxwood after rain;
      See where old beds are showing
      Their slender spears again.

      At dusk, that fosters dreaming --
      Come back at dusk and rest,
      And watch our old star gleaming
      Against the primrose west.

      Harper's                 Margaret Lee Ashley

    May is Building Her House

      May is building her house. With apple blossoms
      She is roofing over the glimmering rooms;
      Of the oak and the beech hath she builded its beams,
      And, spinning all day at her secret looms,
      With arras of leaves each wind-swayed wall
      She pictureth over, and peopleth it all
      With echoes and dreams,
      And singing of streams.

      May is building her house. Of petal and blade,
      Of the roots of the oak is the flooring made,
      With a carpet of mosses and lichen and clover,
      Each small miracle over and over,
      And tender, traveling green things strayed.

      Her windows, the morning and evening star,
      And her rustling doorways, ever ajar
      With the coming and going
      Of fair things blowing,
      The thresholds of the four winds are.

      May is building her house. From the dust of things
      She is making the songs and the flowers and the wings;
      From October's tossed and trodden gold
      She is making the young year out of the old;
             Yea! out of winter's flying sleet
             She is making all the summer sweet,
             And the brown leaves spurned of November's feet
      She is changing back again to spring's.

      Harper's                 Richard Le Gallienne

    In a Forgotten Burying-Ground

      Eternal in the brooding of the old Norwegian spruces
      I hear the wistful tenderness of loves They used to know,
      And in the swelling wood-notes that the eager springtide looses
      Sobs again Their heart-break from the Springs of Long Ago:

      And sometime, thro' the silence, with the April shadows lying
      Aslant the solemn acre where I take my dreamless rest,
      Perhaps the stifled need of You my heart was ever crying
      Will find its way across the years -- to stir a stranger's breast!

      The Poetry Journal                         Ruth Guthrie Harding


      The Wind bows down the poplar trees,
      The Wind bows down the crested seas;
      And he has bowed the heart of me
      Under his hand of memory.

      O heavy-handed Wind, who goes
      Hurting the petals of the rose;
      Who leaves the grasses on the hill
      Broken and pallid, spent and still!

      O heavy-handed Wind, who brings
      To me all echoing ancient things:
      Echoing sorrow and defeat,
      Crying like mourners, hard to meet!

      The Wind bows down the poplar trees
      And all the ocean's argosies;
      But deeper bends the heart of me,
      Under his hand of memory.

      Harper's            Fannie Stearns Davis

    The Speckled Trout

      With rod and line I took my way
      That led me through the gossip trees,
      Where all the forest was asway
      With hurry of the running breeze.

      I took my hat off to a flower
      That nodded welcome as I passed;
      And, pelted by a morning shower,
      Unto its heart a bee held fast.

      A head of gold one great weed tossed,
      And leaned to look when I went by;
      And where the brook the roadway crossed
      The daisy kept on me its eye.

      And when I stopped to bathe my face,
      And seat me at a great tree's foot,
      I heard the stream say, "Mark the place:
      And undermine it rock and root."

      And o'er the whirling water there
      A dragonfly its shuttle plied,
      Where wild a fern let down its hair,
      And leaned to see the water's pride --

      A speckled trout. The spotted elf,
      Whom I had come so far to see,
      Stretched out above a rocky shelf,
      A shadow sleeping mockingly.

      .    .    .    .    .    .    .

      And I have sat here half the day
      Regarding it, It has not stirred.
      I heard the running water say --
      "He does not know the magic word.

      "The word that changes everything,
      And brings all Nature to his hand:
      That makes of this great trout a king,
      And opes the way to Faeryland."

      The Bellman            Madison Cawein


      I think that I shall never see
      A poem lovely as a tree.

      A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
      Against the sweet earth's hungry breast;

      A tree that looks at God all day
      And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

      A tree that may in summer wear
      A nest of robins in her hair;

      Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
      Who intimately lives with rain.

      Poems are made by fools like me,
      But only God can make a tree!

      Poetry, A Magazine of Verse
                                  Joyce Kilmer

    In the Hospital

      Because on the branch that is tapping my pane
      A sun-wakened leaf-bud, uncurled,
      Is bursting its rusty brown sheathing in twain,
      I know there is Spring in the world.

      Because through the sky-patch whose azure and white
      My window frames all the day long
      A yellow-bird dips for an instant of flight,
      I know there is Song.

      Because even here in this Mansion of Woe
      Where creep the dull hours, leaden-shod,
      Compassion and Tenderness aid me, I know
      There is God.

      Scribner's                      Arthur Guiterman

    Love of Life

      Love you not the tall trees spreading wide their branches,
      Cooling with their green shade the sunny days of June?
      Love you not the little bird lost among the leaflets,
      Dreamily repeating a quaint, brief tune?

      Is there not a joy in the waste windy places;
      Is there not a song by the long dusty way?
      Is there not a glory in the sudden hour of struggle?
      Is there not a peace in the long quiet day?

      Love you not the meadows with the deep lush grasses;
      Love you not the cloud-flocks noiseless in their flight?
      Love you not the cool wind that stirs to meet the sunrise;
      Love you not the stillness of the warm summer night?

      Have you never wept with a grief that slowly passes;
      Have you never laughed when a joy goes running by?
      Know you not the peace of rest that follows labor? --
      You have not learnt to live then; how can you dare to die?

      Scribner's                                      Tertius van Dyke

    God's Will

      God meant me to be hungry,
      So I should seek to find
      Wisdom, and truth, and beauty,
      To satisfy my mind.

      God meant me to be lonely,
      Lest I should wish to stay
      In some green earthly Eden
      Too long from heaven away.

      God meant me to be weary,
      That I should yearn to rest
      This feeble, aching body
      Deep in the earth's dark breast.

      Harper's            Mildred Howells

    On the Birth of a Child

      Lo -- to the battle-ground of Life,
      Child, you have come, like a conquering shout,
      Out of a struggle -- into strife;
      Out of a darkness -- into doubt.

      Girt with the fragile armor of Youth,
      Child, you must ride into endless wars,
      With the sword of protest, the buckler of truth,
      And a banner of love to sweep the stars. . . .

      About you the world's despair will surge;
      Into defeat you must plunge and grope --
      Be to the faltering, an urge;
      Be to the hopeless years, a hope!

      Be to the darkened world a flame;
      Be to its unconcern a blow --
      For out of its pain and tumult you came,
      And into its tumult and pain you go.

      The Independent                     Louis Untermeyer

    To a Child Falling Asleep

      Over the dim edge of sleep I lean,
      And in her eyes' illimitable grey distances,
      Look down into the shadow-tinted space, --
      The cloudy air of sleep, --
      To see the rose-lit petal of a Child's fair soul
      Seek dreamily the farther gloom,
      Where waking eyes may follow her no more.

      One more last time her lids are lifted,
      And in her look I read a wistful fare-thee-well;
      Her spirit waves a twinkling white hand,
      Her bark is out upon the sea of dream, --
      The calm, grey sea, full and immovably established,
      That drinks the river of my love, without o'er flowing,
      Nor ever gives my image back to me.

      When o'er the sun-swept land
      Murmuring twilight spread her dusky tent,
      A Stranger passed before our friendly sun, --
      Between the dark and dawn, --
      A Stranger whom we love but never see.
      And as she came and cast her blue benignant shadow over all,
      She set a silver trumpet to her lips,
      And blew a note that thrilled in Children's hearts;
      Because in little hearts the echo-fairies love to play,
      Roaming the scented meadows there,
      Where Love has been and sown the amaranthine flowers,
      Out of whose pristine cups were born the singing stars.
      And as the first free rainbow bubble sailed,
      Launched by the Stranger with the silver pipe,
      Upon the listening air;
      As first the hollow note
      Kissed the sweet lips and died of happiness,
      The little Child unfurled her sails.

      I stood there on the very verge of sleep,
      And called to her,
      And Love's own self had deigned to wait within my heart,
      (Because I kept it always fit for Childish guests)
      And would have given welcome had she stayed.
      But then I saw the eyelids close,
      And knew that Azrael who championed her soul,
      Had shut the gates lest I should see
      More than my life could bear.

      Yet I had seen her go,
      And sight no more could hold of Beauty's wine.
      I had seen the fair face flush,
      As the soft curtains of the tinted west
      Are drawn before the temple of the Night,
      When the day-worn Sun has passed within;
      Had seen the little body, whitely gowned,
      Folded within its nest;
      Had caught the last light kiss
      Before the lips lay still;
      And I had looked into the cool grey deep,
      Where Sleep received the rose-leaf soul of her,
      And bore it out upon her gentle waters.

      Into the night I passed,
      Where on the mellow bosom of the west
      Floated the flame-lit shell of Hesperus;
      And as I stayed with hallowed breath
      The soul of fire fell over the rim of night:
      And then I knew the soul of her I loved
      Had heard the last clear call,
      The low Elysian chant of Hesperus,
      And loving me had borne the love I gave,
      Out and beyond and over the ends of earth,
      And where the altar flame of Venus burned,
      Had laid the gift and breathed her Childhood's prayer.

      The Poetry Journal             Robert Alden Sanborn

    A Roman Doll

    (In a Museum)
      How an image of paint and wood
      Leaped to her life with a love's control,
      Struck the chords of her motherhood,
      Passionate little mother-soul!
      Fair to her sight were the stolid eyes,
      Dear to her toil the robes empearled.
      She crooned it the ancient lullabies,
      She gathered it close from the outer world.
      They watched together, as Nero's pyres
      Fed the haze of a hundred fires.

      Me in her fresh young arms she bore.
      See, I am small,
      Only a doll.
      But I keep her kiss forevermore.

      Long and lonely the toy has lain.
      One by one into time's abyss
      Years have dropped as the drops of rain.
      Yet the cycles have left us this!
      O red-lipped mother, O mother sweet,
      Today a sister has heard you call,
      I saw her weep o'er the crumbling doll.
      She knew, she knew! You had lived and smiled!
      You had loved your dream, little Roman child!

      Me in her fresh young arms she bore.
      See, I am small,
      Only a doll.
      But I keep her kiss forevermore.

      The Poetry Journal                            Agnes Lee


      Midnight, and in the darkness not a sound;
      So, with hushed breathing, sleeps the autumn night.
      Only the white immortal stars shall know,
      Here in the house by the low-linteled door,
      How for the last time I have lit the lamp.
      I think you are not wholly careless now,
      Walls, that have sheltered me so many an hour,
      Bed, that has brought me ecstasy and sleep,
      Floors, that have borne me when a gale of joy
      Lifted my soul and made me half a god.
      Farewell; across the threshold many feet
      Shall pass, but never Sappho's feet again.
      Girls shall come in whom love has made aware
      Of all their swaying beauty -- they shall sing,
      But never Sappho's voice like golden fire
      Shall seek for heaven thro' your echoing rafters;
      There shall be sparrows bringing back the spring
      Over the long blue meadows of the sea,
      And south wind playing on the reeds of rain,
      But never Sappho's whisper in the night,
      Never her love-cry when the lover comes.
      Farewell, I close hte door and make it fast.

      .     .     .     .     .     .     .

      The little street lies meek beneath the moon,
      Running, as rivers run, to meet the sea.
      I too go seaward and shall not return.
      Oh, garlands on the door-posts that I pass,
      Woven of asters and of autumn leaves,
      I make a prayer for you: Cypris, be kind,
      That every lover may be given love.
      I shall not hasten lest the paving-stones
      Should echo with my sandals and awake
      Those who are warm beneath the cloak of sleep;
      Lest they should rise and see me and should say:
      "Whither goes Sappho lonely in the night?"
      Whither goes Sappho? Whither all men go,
      But they go driven, straining back with fear,
      And Sappho goes as lightly as a leaf
      Blown from brown autumn forests to the sea.

      .     .     .     .     .     .     .

      Here on the rock Zeus lifted from the waves,
      I shall await the waking of the dawn,
      Lying beneath the weight of dark as one
      Lies breathless till the lover shall awake.
      And with the sun, the sea shall cover me;
      I shall be less than the dissolving foam,
      Murmuring and melting on the ebbing tide.
      I shall be less than spindrift, less than shells --
      And yet I shall be greater than the gods;
      For destiny no more can bow my soul
      As rain bows down the watch-fires on the hills.
      Yea, if my soul escape, it shall aspire
      Toward the white heaven as flame that has its will.
      I go not bitterly, not dumb with grief,
      Not broken by the ache of love -- I go
      As one grown tired lies down and hopes to sleep.
      Yet they shall say: "It was for Cercolas --
      She died because she could not bear her love."
      They shall remember how we used to walk
      Here on the cliff beneath the olearnders,
      In the long limpid twilight of the spring,
      Looking toward Khios where the amber sky
      Was pierced by the faint arrow of a star.
      How should they know the wind of a new beauty
      Sweeping my soul had winnowed it with song?
      I have been glad tho' love should come or go,
      Happy as trees that find a wind to sway them,
      Happy again when it has left them rest.
      Others shall say: "Grave Dica wrought her death."
      She would not lift her lips to take a kiss,
      Or ever lift her eyes to take a smile.
      She was a pool the winter paves with ice,
      That the wild hunter in the hills must leave
      With thirst unslaked in the brief southward sun.
      Ah, Dica, it is not for thee I go.
      And not for Phaon, tho' his ship lifts sail
      Here in the windless harbor, for the south.
      Oh, darkling deities that guard the Nile,
      Watch over one whose gods are far away;
      Egypt, be kind to him, -- his eyes are deep.
      Yet they are wrong who say, it was for him.
      How should they know that Sappho lived and died
      Faithful to love, not faithful to the lover,
      Never transfused and lost in what she loved,
      Never so wholly loving nor at peace.
      I asked for something greater than I found,
      And very time that love has made me weep,
      I have rejoiced that love could be so strong;
      For I have stood apart and watched my soul
      Caught in the gust of passion, as a bird
      With baffled wings agains the dusty whirlwind
      Struggle and frees itself to find the sky.

      .     .     .     .     .     .     .

      It is not for a single god, I go.
      I have grown weary of the winds of heaven.
      I will not be a reed to hold the sound
      Of whatsoever breath the gods may blow,
      Turning my torment into music for them.
      They gave me life -- the gift was bountiful,
      I lived with the swift singing strength of fire,
      Seeking for beauty as a flame for fuel,
      Beauty in all things in every hour.
      The gods have given life, I gave them song;
      The debt is paid and now I turn to go.
      The breath of dawn blows the stars out like lamps,
      There is a rim of silver on the sea.
      As one grown tired, who hopes to sleep, I go.

      Scribner's                                    Sara Teasdale

    Of Moira Up the Glen

      It's little that I'd care for the glories of Ireland,
      Waiting for the shadows to gather in the glen,
      Come the time of darkness, sitting by the hearth-light,
      Whispering with bated breath for fear the little men
      Should catch us and spell us to serve them for a year's time,
      Toiling and moiling within a faëry snare.
      I'm thinkin' 'twould be fearsome in the gray misty strangeness. --
      'Tis hiding we'll be in the clear free air!

      The sunlight above us, and willow hedge for shelter,
      A tangle of soft things to rustle by the stream,
      Where Moira, my white dove, whose beauty is my sorrow,
      Would sit with me and travel on the long bright dream,
      Travel with the water from the mountain to the meadow,
      Down across the lowlands and gaily to the sea,
      Out beyond the breakers to the shimmer of a far line
      Poised and trembling within the heart of me.

      What shall I murmur to coax the dream of beauty
      Out from the shadows to welcome in the dawn?
      How shall I sing it that she may know the glory,
      Know it and come by the first flush of morn?
      The moonlight is dark light, 'tis fear I'm after feelin',
      The fairies should be in it and steal her heart away,
      A goblet for their feasting, they'd drain it and fill it
      With dreams of a far world beyond the light of day.

      It's God's light I'm wanting, and Moira to see it,
      See it and tremble with the love of God,
      And seeing it she'd turn, and look within my own eyes,
      And wonder at the vision transforming a sod
      Into worshipful silence and thought that is living,
      Burning and shaped by the warmth of its fire
      To a chalice of tears and of laughter for singing
      The lovely unfolding of dream-purged desire.

      Smart Set                                    Edward J. O'Brien

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