In April Once

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Yale University Press, 1920 - 134 pages

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Page 67 - Overtones I HEARD a bird at break of day Sing from the autumn trees A song so mystical and calm, So full of certainties, No man, I think, could listen long Except upon his knees. Yet this was but a simple bird, Alone, among dead trees.
Page 71 - I have a need of silence and of stars; Too much is said too loudly, I am dazed. The silken sound of whirled infinity Is lost in voices shouting to be heard. I once knew men as earnest and less shrill. An undermeaning that I caught I miss Among these ears that hear all sounds save silence, These eyes that see so much but not the sky, These minds that gain all knowledge but no calm. If suddenly the desperate music ceased, Could they return to life? or would they stand In dancers' attitudes, puzzled,...
Page 107 - A VOLUNTEER'S GRAVE Not long ago it was a bird In vacant, lilac skies Could stir the sleep that hardly closed His laughing eyes. But here, where murdering thunders rock The lintels of the dawn, Although they shake his shallow bed Yet he sleeps on. Another spring with rain and leaf And buds serenely red, And this wise field will have forgot Its youthful dead. And, wise of heart, who loved him best Will be forgetting, too, Even before their own beds gleam With heedless dew. Yet what have all the centuries...
Page 94 - Century) The leaves, the little birds, and I, The fleece clouds and the sweet, sweet sky, The pages singing as they ride Down there, down there where the river is wide Heigh-ho, what a day! What a lovely day! Even too lovely to hop and play With my sheep, Or sleep In the sun! And so I lie in the deep, deep grass And watch the pages as they pass, And sing to them as they to me Till they turn the bend by the poplar tree. And then—O then, I sing right on To the leaves and the lambs and myself alone!
Page 56 - Jesu, If Thou wilt make Thy peach trees bloom for me, And fringe my bridle path both sides With tulips, red and free, If Thou wilt make Thy skies as blue As ours in Sicily, And wake the little leaves that sleep On every bending tree — I promise not to vexen Thee That Thou shouldst make eternally Heaven my home; But right contentedly, A singing page I'll be Here, in Thy springtime, Jesu. WILLIAM ALEXANDER PERCY.
Page 97 - I watch the farmers in their fields And marvel secretly. They are so very calm and sure, They have such dignity. They know such simple things so well, Although their learning's small, They find a steady, brown content Where some find none at all. And all their quarrelings with God Are soon made up again; They grant forgiveness when He sends His silver, tardy rain.
Page 69 - ... must be laughter in the song you love And at the end there must be tears. When I have come to that green place we know Where cedars stand that have no faith in spring, Where through the utter peace of afternoon The mocking-birds their heartless raptures fling, Long after it is dust, one heart there'll be Restless with words it could not sing. 3. WEARINESS I sometimes think Thou art my secret love; But not to-night. . . . To-night I have the need Of human tenderness; not hovering wings, But one...
Page 123 - twill be With accolade and spurs, And many a tale of chivalry, And the deeds of warriors. And should I not, O break for me No buds nor funeral boughs — I go with the noblest company That ever death did house.
Page 96 - TO BUTTERFLY Do you remember how the twilight stood And leaned above the river just to see If still the crocus buds were in her hood, And if her robes were gold or shadowy? Do you remember how the twilight stood When we were lovers and the world our wood ? And then, one night, when we could find no word, But silence trembled like a heart — like mine! — And suddenly that moon-enraptured bird Awoke and all the darkness turned to wine? How long ago that was! And how absurd For us to own a wood that...
Page 71 - In dancers' attitudes, puzzled, polite, And striking vaguely hand on tired hand For an encore, to fill the ghastly pause? I do not know. Some rhythm there may be I cannot hear. But I — oh, I must go Back where the breakers of deep sunlight roll Across flat fields that love and touch the sky; Back to the more of earth, the less of man, Where there is still a plain simplicity, And friendship, poor in everything but love, And faith, unwise, unquestioned, but a star.

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