The Singing Wire

HARK to that faint and fairy twang
That from the bosom of the breeze
Has caught its rise and fall : there rang
Æolian harmonies !
I looked ; again the mournful chords,
In random rhythm lightly flung
From off the wire, came, shaped in words ;
And thus, meseemed, they sung.
“ I, messenger of many fates,
Strung to all strains of woe or weal,
Fine nerve that thrills and palpitates
With all men know or feel, —
“ O, is it strange that I should wail ?
Leave me my tearless, sad refrain,
When in the pine-top wakes the gale
That breathes of coming rain.
“There is a spirit in the post;
It, too, was once a murmuring tree ;
Its sapless, sad, and withered ghost
Echoes my melody.
“ Come close, and lay your listening ear
Against the bare and branchless wood.
Say, croons it not, so low and clear,
As if it understood ? ”
I listened to the branchless pole
That held aloft the singing wire ;
I heard its muffled music roll,
And stirred with sweet desire.
“ O wire more soft than seasoned lute,
Hast thou no sunlit word for me ?
O, though so long so coyly mute,
Sure she may speak through thee ! ”
I listened ; but it was in vain.
At first, the wind’s old, wayward will
Drew forth again the sad refrain:
That ceased, and all was still.
But suddenly some kindling shock
Struck flashing through the wire : a bird,
Poised on it, screamed, and flew; the flock
Rose with him, wheeled, and whirred.
Then to my soul there came this sense
“ Her heart has answered unto thine ;
She comes, to-night. Up ! hence, O hence !
Meet her: no more repine ! ”
Mayhap the fancy was far-fetched ;
And yet, mayhap, it hinted true.
Ere moonrise, Love, a hand was stretched
In mine, that gave me — you !
And so more dear to me has grown
Than rarest tones swept from the lyre,
The minor-movement of that moan
In yonder singing wire.
Nor care I for the will of states,
Or aught besides, that smites that string,
Since then so close it knit our fates,
What time the bird took wing.
G. P. Lathrop.