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. To One A-marrying

    AYE, pluck a jonquil when the May's a-wing,
        Or please you with a rose upon the breast.
        Or find a violet chosen from the rest
    To match your mood with blue caprice of Spring;
    Give windy vines a tendril less to swing—
        Why, what's a flower? a day's delight at best,
        A perfume loved, a faded petal pressed,
    A whimsey for an hour's remembering.
    But wondrous careful must he draw the rose
    From jealous earth, who seeks to set anew
        Deep root, young leafage, with a gardener's art—
    To plant it queen of all his garden-close,
        And make his varying fancy wind and dew.
            Cloud, rain and sunshine for one woman's heart.

    Nora Mary French

. Ave Atque Vale

    IT GATHERS where the moody sky is bending.
         It stirs the air along familiar ways—
    A sigh for strange things forever ending.
         For beauty shrinking in these alien days.

    Now nothing is the same; old visions move me:
         I wander silent through the waning land.
    And find for youth and little leaves to love me
         The old, old lichen crumbling in my hand.

    What shifting films of distance fold you, blind you.
         The windy eve of dreams, I cannot tell.
    I know they grope through some strange mist to find you.
         My hands that give you Greeting and Farewell.

    Nora Mary French

. My Maid Of Dreams

    NOW foliaged darkness of low hills is kissed
    With threaded pearl slim-white as maiden’s wrist;
    Now with the opal films of earliest mist
    My Maid of Dreams comes to me . . .
         Milky fair,
    Her face of changeful lights that shame the morn,
    And twin blue hyacinths in her eyes are born,
    Dawn glimmers phosphor-pale upon her hair.
         .    .    .    .    .    .    .
    Her face floats up to me thro’ waters dark,
    Beneath the wrinkled clearness whitely seen;
    And filtering shafts of yellow noon-tide mark
    Her gleaming fingers, glimpsed in flickering green.
         .    .    .    .    .    .    .
    The air grows jewel-red in widening spheres
    From day’s deep heart low burning in the West.
    Sweet airs, blow cool the breath of earth’s first tears--
    Blow me my Maid of Dreams . . .
         Ah, dearest best!
    Flame-lit thou comest thro’ the silent land,
    My poppy-crowned, dusk-eyes with visioned night!
    Lead me, oh maid, with touch of guiding hand,
    To lands unknown . . . to realms of new delight.

    Nora Mary French

. Change

    BELOVED, have I turned indeed so cold?
         My eyes are faithful, grieving with your grief;
    And if the year itself could grow not old,
         Could stand at waking sap and budding leaf,

    An April heart might keep its first unrest,
         An April love the petals of its spring.
    When all the birds are silent in my breast,
         How can I answer when you bid me sing?

    The autumn hills are brown: you will not see.
         The saddened woodland speaks, and finds you strange.
    Ah, dear one, all my world is kin to me,
         And with the swerving days I change, I change.

    Nora Mary French

. Between Two Rains

    IT IS a silver space between two rains;
         The lulling storm has given to the day
         An hour of windless air and riven grey;
    The world is drained of color; light remains.
    Beyond the curving shore a gull complains;
         Unceasing , on the bastions of the bay,
         With gleam of shields and veer of vaporing spray
    The long seas fall, the grey tide wars and wanes.

    It is a silver space between two rains:
         A mood too sweet for tears, for joy too pale—
         What stress has swept or nears us, thou and I?
    This hour a mist of light is on the plains,
         And seaward fares again with litten sail
         Our laden ship of dreams adown the sky.

    Nora Mary French

. Along the Track

    THE track has led me out beyond the town
         To follow day across the waning fields,
    The crisping weeds and wastes of tender brown.

    On either side the feathered tops are high,
         A tracery of broken arabesques
    Upon the sullen crimson of the sky.

    Into the west the narrowing rails are sped.
         They cut the crayon softness of the dusk
    With thin converging gleams of bloody red.

    Nora Mary French

. San Francisco New Year's, 1907

    SAID the Old Year to the New: "They will never welcome you
        As they sang me in and rang me in upon my birthday night—
    All above the surging crowd, bells and voices calling loud—
        A throng attunded to laughter and a city all alight.

    "Kind had been the years of old, drowsy-lidded, zoned with gold;
        They swept their purples down the bat and sped the homeward keel;
    The years of fruits and peace, smiling days and rich increase—
        Too indolent with wine and sun to grasp the slaying steel.

    "As my brothers so I came, panther-treading, silken, tame;
        The sword was light within my hand, I kept it sheathed and still—
    The jeweled city prayed me and the laughing voices stayed me—
        A little while I pleased them well and gave them all their will.

    "As a panther strikes to slay, so I wrenched my shuttering prey.
        I lit above the panic throng my torches' crimson flare;
    For they made my coming bright and I gave them light for light—
        I filled the night with flaming winds and Terror's streaming hair.

    "They were stately walls and high—as I felled them so they lie—
        Lie like bodies torn and broken, lie like faces seamed with scars;
    Here where Beauty dwelt and Pride, ere my torches flamed and died,
        The empty arches break the night to frame the tranquil stars.

    "Though of all my brothers scorned, I, betrayer, go unmourned,
        It is I who tower shoulder-high above the level years;
    You who come to build anew, joy will live again with you,
        But mightiest I who walked with Death and taught the sting of tears!"

    Nora Mary French

. Wistaria

    THE blue wisteria hangs with bloom
    The Place of Memories far away.
    My heart has ached with it today—
    The blue wisteria is in bloom.

    And one may pass so near, so near,
    With half-remembering eyes and cold,
    Where quickening with the budding year
    It clusters perfect as of old;

    And one at sight of wizened sprays,
    Reluctant in an alien spring,
    Must feel the sharp, unblunted sting,
    The pang of unforgotten days.

    Nora may French

. You

    ALL elfish woodland things that Fancy broods—
        The comrades of my solitary moods—
    Would crouch when heavy footsteps passed them by,
    And peer from shelter—freakish folk and shy.

    At you they pricked their furry ears in doubt;
    Then, "This one sees—he knows!" they cried.
                    "Come out!"
    They thought to hush their piping till you passed.
    "Come out!" they cried. "We dare be brave at last!"

    So forth their gay procession sways and weaves;
    And some are crowned with roses, some with leaves,
    And all are mine, but some I never knew.
    I could not wake them, but they come for you.

    Nora may French

. Yesterday

    NOW all my thoughts were crisped and thinned
    To elfin threads, to gleaming browns.
    Like tawny grasses lean with wind
    They drew your heart across the downs.
    Your will of all the winds that blew
    They drew across the world to me
    To thread my whimsey thoughts of you
    Along the downs, above the sea.

    Beneath a pool beyond the dune—
    So green it was and amber-walled
    A face would glimmer like a moon
    Seen whitely through an emerald—
    And there my merman fancy lay
    And dreamed the light and you were one,
    And flickered in her seaweed"s sway
    A broken largesse of the sun.

    Above the world as evening fell
    I made my heart into a sky,
    And through a twilight like a shell
    I saw the shining seagulls fly.
    I found beneath the sea and land
    And lost again, unwrit, unheard,
    A song that fluttered in my hand
    And vanished like a silver bird.

    Nora may French

. Dusk

    EARTH'S parched lips
        Drink coolness once again, for daylight dies.
    The young moon dips,
        A threaded gleam where sunset languid lies,
        And slowly twilight opens starry eyes.

    Low in the West
        Day"s fading embers cast a last faint glow
    Behind a crest
        Where curving hills on primrose paleness show
        Sharp-lined twilight opens starry eyes.

    A first long sigh
        Stirs from the broad and dew-wet breast of night.
    The leaves reply
        With soft small rustling, moths take ghostly flight,
        And waking crickets shrill long-drawn delight.

    Nora may French

. In Camp


    AS DOWN I bent with eager lips
        Above the stones and cresses cool—
    The yellow tent, the little moon,
        I found within my twilight pool.

    The fringing trees, the floating moon,
        The bubble tent—I passed them by,
    And sipped a tiny, shattered star,
        Deep drinking from that mirrored sky.


    My tent is shadowed day and night
        With leaves that shift in moon and sun;
    Across its walls of lucent white
        The lovely varied tracings run;

    And black and slender, quickly sped,
        I watch the little feet at dawn—
    A sudden oriole overhead,
        A darting linnet come and gone.

    Nora may French

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