My Daphne

MY budding Daphne wanted scope
To bourgeon all her flowers of hope.
She felt a cramp around her root
That crippled every outmost shoot.
I set me to the kindly task;
I found a trim and tidy cask,
Shapely and painted; straightway seized
The timely waif; and, quick released
From earthen bound and sordid thrall,
My Daphne sat there, proud and tall.
Stately and tall, like any queen,
She spread her farthingale of green;
Nor stinted aught with larger fate,
For that she was innately great.
I learned, in accidental way,
A secret, on an after-day,—
A chance that marked the simple change
As something ominous and strange.
And so, therefrom, with anxious care,
Almost with underthought of prayer,
As, day by day, my listening soul
Waited to catch the coming roll
Of pealing victory, that should bear
My country’s triumph on the air,—
I tended gently all the more
The plant whose life a portent bore.
The weary winter wore away,
And still we waited, day by day ;
And still, in full and leafy pride,
My Daphne strengthened at my side,
Till her fair buds outburst their bars,
And whitened gloriously to stars !
Above each stalwart, loyal stem
Rested their heavenly diadem,
And flooded forth their incense rare,
A breathing Joy, upon the air !
Well might my backward thought recall
The cramp, the hindrance, and the thrall,
The strange release to larger space,
The issue into growth and grace,
And joyous hail the homely sign
That so had spelled a hope divine !
For all this life, and light, and bloom,
This breath of Peace that blessed the room,
Was born from out the banded rim,
Once crowded close, and black, and grim,
With grains that feed the Cannon’s breath,
And boom his sentences of death !