Summer

EARLY SUMMER

Lilacs are gone; on apple-trees
Globes are showing on the breeze,
A fortnight since, brought down a rain of white.
Miracles are springing over night.
Tall irises in buff and purple rise
In trim town-gardens, standing soldier-wise.
The daises blossom, one by one,
Earnest of myriads. The sun
Bleaches the snowballs where they sway
And turn jade to ivory. Each day
Brings on some wonder, beautiful as strange.
Azaleas in hedges range
From pink to deepest crimson and cerise.
Alyssum foams the grass, as clean as fleece.
Wisteria drips down along the walls,
And scented honeysuckle climbs and crawls
Over rough stone. Along the water’s line
Half hidden hangs the drooping columbine.
Young budded lilies lift their twisted gold;
And peonies make ready to unfold.
O world of loveliness, how blest are we
To share anew thy summer’s ecstasy!

NIGHT PIECE: THE OWL

Here in the summer woods I mark
A soft gray shadow in the dark,
A floating stillness, feathered, light
An owl drifts by in silent flight.

Then from a thicket more remote
I hear his slow inquiring note,
A still-receding anxious cry,
As if he wondered “what” and “why.”

So strong? The beat of flitting wing
So strange that poignant questioning,
I stand entranced, and in me rise
The motions of a sweet surprise,

And wordless love of beauty found
Shown in woodland scene and sound.
This seems a theme of endless good:
A night bird flying in a wood.

THE TEA PARTY

The river, laced across with branches, shows
Beyond the garden’s end. Prim hedges close
The lawn away from prying eyes.
At hand tall spreading shrubs in blossom rise
And form a nook, its little borders set
With sweet alyssum and with mignonette.
Here grouped are wicker chairs in chintzes bright,
And here the table stands, decked forth in white.
A tray of silver bears the china, old
Yet flawless with its flowered pink and gold.
The teapot, too, is silver, fat and round
With twined initials on a polished ground.
A lady pours and hands the cups and cream
From where she sits. Her eyes unfaded gleam
Beneath her coiled white hair. Her wrinkled face
Has still its fineness, like her treasured lace;
Her robes are cut in some forgotten style.
She greets the guests arriving with a smile
Of old time courtesy that glows for all –
A gracious hostess in a sylvan hall.