SO bleak these shores, wind-swept, and all the year
Washed by the wild Atlantic’s restless tide,
You would not dream that flowers the woods hold dear
Amid such desolation dare abide.
Yet when the bitter winter breaks, some day,
With soft winds fluttering her garments’ hem,
Up from the sweet South comes the lingering May,
Sets the first wind-flower trembling on its stem ;
Scatters her violets with lavish hands,
White, blue, and amber ; calls the columbine
Till, like clear flame in lonely nooks, gay bands
Swinging their scarlet bells obey the sign ;
Makes buttercups and dandelions blaze,
And throws in glimmering patches here and there
The little eyebright’s pearls, and gently lays
The impress of her beauty everywhere.
Later, June bids the sweet wild-rose to blow,
Wakes from its dream the drowsy pimpernel;
Unfolds the bindweed’s ivory buds, that glow
As delicately blushing as a shell.
Then purple Iris smiles, and hour by hour
The fair procession multiplies ; and soon,
In clusters creamy white, the elder-flower
Waves Its broad disk against the rising moon.
O’er quiet beaches shelving to the sea
Tall mulleins sway, and thistles ; all day long
Comes in the wooing water dreamily,
With subtle music in its slumbrous song.
Herb-Robert hears, and princess-feather bright,
While goldthread clasps the little skull-cap blue ;
And troops of swallows, gathering for their flight,
O’er golden-rod and asters hold review.
The barren island dreams in flowers, while blow
The south winds, drawing haze o’er sea and land ;
Yet the great heart of ocean, throbbing slow,
Makes the frail blossoms vibrate where they stand,
And hints of heavier pulses soon to shake
Its mighty breast when summer is no more,
When devastating waves sweep on and break,
And clasp with girdle white the iron shore.
Close-folded, safe within the sheltering seed,
Blossom and bell and leafy beauty hide;
Nor icy blast nor bitter spray they heed,
But patiently their wondrous change abide.
The heart of God through his creation stirs ;
We thrill to feel it, trembling as the flowers
That die to live again, —his messengers
To keep faith firm in these sad souls of ours.
The waves of Time may devastate our lives,
The frosts of age may check,our failing breath,
They shall not touch the spirit that survives
Triumphant over doubt and pain and death.