Monthly Archives: October 2015
As the Greek’s Signal Flame
As the Greek's signal flame, by antique records told, Rose from the hill-top, like applause and glory, Welcoming in fame some special veteran, hero, With rosy tinge reddening the land he'd served, So I aloft from Mannahatta's ship-fringed shore, Lift high a kindled brand for thee, Old Poet.
Not Meagre, Latent Boughs Alone
Not meagre, latent boughs alone, O songs! (scaly and bare, like eagles' talons,) But haply for some sunny day (who knows?) some future spring, some summer—bursting forth, To verdant leaves, or sheltering shade—to nourishing fruit, Apples and grapes—the stalwart limbs of trees emerging—the fresh, free, open air, And love and faith, like scented roses blooming.
You Lingering Sparse Leaves of Me
You lingering sparse leaves of me on winter-nearing boughs, And I some well-shorn tree of field or orchard-row; You tokens diminute and lorn—(not now the flush of May, or July clover-bloom—no grain of August now;) You pallid banner-staves—you pennants valueless—you overstay'd of time, Yet my soul-dearest leaves confirming all the rest, The faithfulest—hardiest—last.
Orange Buds by Mail from Florida
A lesser proof than old Voltaire's, yet greater, Proof of this present time, and thee, thy broad expanse, America, To my plain Northern hut, in outside clouds and snow, Brought safely for a thousand miles o'er land and tide, Some three days since on their own soil live-sprouting, Now here their sweetness through my room unfolding, A bunch of orange buds by mall from Florida.
Down on the ancient wharf, the sand, I sit, with a new-comer chatting: He shipp'd as green-hand boy, and sail'd away, (took some sudden, vehement notion;) Since, twenty years and more have circled round and round, While he the globe was circling round and round, —and now returns: How changed the place—all the old land-marks gone—the parents dead; (Yes, he comes back to lay in port for good—to settle—has a well-fill'd purse—no spot will do but this;) The little boat that scull'd him from the sloop, now held in leash I see, I hear the slapping waves, the restless keel, the rocking in the sand, I see the sailor kit, the canvas bag, the great box bound with brass, I scan the face all berry-brown and bearded—the stout-strong frame, Dress'd in its russet suit of good Scotch cloth: (Then what the told-out story of those twenty years? What of the future?)
A Prairie Sunset
Shot gold, maroon and violet, dazzling silver, emerald, fawn, The earth's whole amplitude and Nature's multiform power consign'd for once to colors; The light, the general air possess'd by them—colors till now unknown, No limit, confine—not the Western sky alone—the high meridian— North, South, all, Pure luminous color fighting the silent shadows to the last.