Fire of Apple-Wood

THE windows toward the east and north
Rattle and drip against the storm.
Though spring, without, has ventured forth,
Only the fireside here is warm.
Through wind-swept sheets of driven rain
The ancient orchard shows forlorn,
Like brave old soldiery half slain,
With gaps to tell the losses borne.
And fragments of the fallen trees
Burn on the hearth before me bright;
The fire their captive spirit frees:
Musing, I watch it take its flight.
In embers flushed and embers pale
Sparkle the blooms of some far spring;
Of bees and sunshine what a tale
Told in a moment’s flowering!
How swift the flames of gold and blue
Up from the glowing logs aspire !
There yellowbird and bluebird flew,
And oriole, each with wings of fire.
Now in the hearth-light — or the trees —
Stirs something they and I have heard :
Ah, is it not the summer breeze,
Come back to us with sun and bird ?
Poor summers, born again — to die!
Quickly as they have come, they go.
See, where the ashes smouldering lie,
The orchard floor is white with snow.
M. A. DeWolfe How