Nature

UP STREAM
Waupaca Monday Night Club – 1913

With idle stroke I push my boat beneath
The dim arch of the bending branches, where
The lush wild grape vine weaves its tangled wreath,
Its strange fine fragrance blown through all the air.

On either side, clear shallow and black pool
Repeat the graces of low-hung sedge;
The cress –  green-billowing in the currents cool,
Outlines with flowery foam the river’s edge.

Where through the leaves the yellow sunbeams flash
On flat-topped gleaming stone or moss-grown log,
The basking turtle hastes with awkward splash
To join below the nimbler-plunging frog.

The king-fisher, a-sweep on tilting wing,
Cuts through the quiet with his strident cry,
Yet harms it not; there seems not anything
But peace here known – and here at peace am I.

The busy world beyond these walls of green
Is lost and gone; and faded quite away
All memory of grief. This sylvan scene
Makes life seem centered in one perfect day.

THE SHADOWED WALL
A lamp down in the village street
Throws on my wall a clear pale square,
And I can lie in bed and watch
The picture silhouetted there.

In winter there are naked sprays
That toss with all the winds that blow,
Or bend quiescent with their load
Of clinging ice or tufted snow.

In summer there are maple boughs,
With leaves and stems, whose lovely lines
Are traced in richly patterned shapes
And ever changing rare designs.

And sometimes when the hour is late,
A bat flits by; or, best of all,
A night-bird swings upon a branch
And casts his shadow on my wall.

The National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park, New York City

NEW HAMPSHIRE HILLSIDE
Among these granite stones, a rill
Slides brightly down, to where the hill,
Unwooded, joins the pasture land.
And in the grove, on every hand,
The dogwood lifts against the skies
Its flock of still white butterflies;
And misty shadbush makes a screen
So thin, the meadow shows between
The stems and blossoms; and the blue
Far-circled mountains glimmer through.

Here in this quiet highland place
Time seems to halt a little space:
One perfect moment waits to tell
Of spring’s eternal miracle.

WOODLAND WALK
(After Rain)
Young pines rise up on either side
With starry crystals glorified.
The huckleberry bushes drip
With sparkles; and the blue-bell’s lip
Is edged with silver, Lucent white,
The milk-weed blossom scatters light
While in a sunshine-dappled place
Wild ferns spread out their argent lace,
And bramble stalks above them swing
All scintillant and glittering.

So radiant this woodland scene,
I walk mid beauty, like a queen, And every bough sheds down a gem
To crown me with a diadem.

FENCE CORNER

The little thorny shrubs of plum
Are crowded white with petals,
And on them with a busy hum
A flock of bee-folk settles.
Below, around the plum-tree roots,
The unstirred humus moulders,
And crumpled crimson rhubarb shoots
Push up with rugged shoulders.

WIND IN A MEADOW

The tasseled sedges bend; blue harebells lean
Closer to earth; long grasses, yellow-green,
Waver and dip; while, glowing like a gem,
A red wood-lily strains upon her stem.

THE ORANGE TREE
Written for the Christian Science Monitor

I saw a little orange tree,
As lovely as a tree can be.

It rose up very straight and slim,
With smooth gray bark and spreading limb,
And shining leafage, dark and cool,
Like grass reflected in a pool.

It seemed a most enchanting thing,
For golden globes were glimmering
Upon its shadowed branches, bend
With precious fruit, and sweet with scent.
At first I spied but three or four,
And then I numbered near a score,
That in my haste I had not seen,
Half hidden under glossy green.

I stretched my fingers high among
the leaves, and felt them where they hung,
Those golden globes, so full and round,
Upheld above the dusty ground.
I did not pluck them, but I stood
And thought on something fine and good,
On something that I cannot tell,
Of beauty and its miracle.

Oh, then I loved that little tree,
As gentle as a tree can be!

REFLECTION

Beside a still blue pool set round with pines,
A single birch tree quivers, jade-and-white;
And deep below, its second selfhood shines,
Slim, tender-leafed, in all its silver height.

SONG AFTER RAIN

Out of the tempest,
Out of the cloud,
Something is singing,
Singing aloud.
See, where the lowering
Shadows are torn
(Rent by the sun beam)
Wings are up-borne.
Voicing its promises C
Jubilant, strong C
Out of the darkness
Gushes a song!

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