The Trailing Arbutus


OH, the days, the arbutus days!
They come from heaven on high;
They wrap the world in brooding haze,
They marry earth and sky.
What lures me onward o’er the hills,
Or down the beaten trail ?
Vague murmuring all the valley fills,
And yonder shouts the quail.
Like mother bird upon her nest
The day broods o’er the earth ;
Fresh hope and life fill every breast;
I share the spring’s new birth.


Awake! arise ! and April wise
Seek out a forest side,
Where under wreaths of withered leaves
The shy sweet flowers hide.
I hear the hum of red-ruff’s drum,
And hark ! the thrasher sings ;
On elm tree high against the sky,
List to his mimickings.
Upon my soul, he calls the roll
Of all the birds o’ the year :
“ Veery ! ” “ Chewink ! ” “ Oriole! ” “ Bobolink! ”
“ Haste ! ” “ Make haste! ” “ Spring is here ! ”
Now pause and mark the meadow lark
Send forth his call to spring :
“ Why don’t you hear ? ’T is spring o’ the year ! ”
A piercing note from golden throat
Like dart from sounding string.
Ah ! the golden-shaft, ’t was he that laughed
And lifted up his bill :
“Wick, wick!” “Wick, wick!” “Wake up! be quick!”
The ant is on her hill.
The bloodroot’s face, with saintly grace,
Stars all the unkempt way ;
Upon the rocks, in dancing flocks,
Corydalis is gay.
The hemlock trees hum in the breeze,
The swallow’s on the wing ;
In forest aisles are genial smiles
That greet thy blossoming.


Again the sun is over all,
Again the robin’s evening call
Or early morning lay;
I hear the stir about the farms,
I see the earth with open arms,
I feel the breath of May.
John Burroughs.