Unpublished Poems

I

I RECKON, when I count at all,
First Poets — then the Sun —
Then Summer — then the
Heaven of God —
And then the list is done.
But looking back — the first so seems
To comprehend the whole —
The others look a needless show,
So I write Poets — All.
This Summer lasts a solid year.
They can afford a Sun
The East would deem
Extravagant,
And if the final Heaven
Be beautiful as they disclose
To those who trust in them,
It is too difficult a grace
To justify the Dream.

II

WE — Bee and I — live
In the quaffing.
’T is n’t all hock with us,
Life has its ale —
But it’s many a lay of
The dim Burgundy
We chant for cheer when
The wines fail.
Do we ‘get drunk’?
Ask the jolly clovers!
Do we ‘beat our wife’?
I never wed.
Bee pledges his in minutest
Flagons,
Dainty as the tress on her
Deft head.
While runs the Rhine
He and I revel —
First at the vat and
Latest at the vine;
Noon — our last cup.
‘Found dead of nectar’
By a humming Coroner
In a by-thyme.

III

IT always felt to me a wrong
To that old Moses done,
To let him see the Canaan
Without the entering.
And though in soberer moments
No Moses there can be,
I’m satisfied the romance
In point of injury
Surpasses sharper stated
Of Stephen or of Paul,
For these were only put to death,
While God’s adroiter will
On Moses seemed to fasten
In tantalizing play — As Boy should deal
With lesser Boy
To show supremacy.
The fault was doubtless
Israel’s;
Myself had banned the Tribes,
And ushered grand old Moses
In pentateuchal robes
Upon the broad possession
But titled him to see.
Old Man on Nebo! Late as this
One Justice bleeds for thee!

IV

THROUGH the dark sod
As education
The Lily passes sure,
Feels her white foot no
Trepidation,
Her faith no fear.
Afterward in the meadow
Swinging her beryl bell,
The mold-life all
Forgotten now —
In ecstasy and dell.

V

’T WAS warm at first like us,
Until there crept thereon
A chill, like frost upon a glass
Till all the scene be gone.
The forehead copied stone,
The fingers grew too cold
To ache, and like a skater’s brook
The busy eyes congealed.
It straightened — that was all.
It crowded cold to cold —
It multiplied indifference
As Pride were all it could.
And even when with cords
’T was lowered like a freight,
It made no signal, nor demurred,
But dropped like adamant.

VI

AND this of all my hopes —
This is the silent end.
Bountiful colored my morning rose,
Early and sere its end.
Never bud from a stem
Stepped with so gay a foot,
Never a worm so confident
Bored at so brave a root.

VII

AFTER great pain a formal feeling comes —
The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs;
The stiff Heart questions — was it He that bore?
And yesterday — or centuries before?
The feet mechanical go round
A wooden way
Of ground or air or ought,
Regardless grown,
A quartz contentment like a stone.
This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived
As freezing persons recollect
The snow —
First chill, then stupor, then
The letting go.

VIII

OF nearness to her sundered things
The Soul has special times,
When Dimness looks the Oddity,
Distinctness easy seems.
The shapes we buried dwell about.
Familiar in the rooms,
Untarnished by the sepulchre
Our moldering playmate comes
In just the jacket that he wore,
Long buttoned in the mold,
Since we, old mornings, children played,
Divided by a world.
The grave yields back her robberies,
The years are pilfered things,
Bright knots of apparitions
Salute us with their wings —
As we it were that perished,
Themselves had just remained
Till we rejoin them,
And’t was They, and not Ourselves
That mourned.

IX

IT ceased to hurt me, though So slow
I could not see the trouble go —
But only knew by looking back
That something had obscured The track.
Nor when it altered, I could say —
For I had worn it every day
As constant as the childish frock
I hung upon the nail at night.
Nor what consoled it — I
Could trace,
Except whereas ’t was wilderness
It’s better, almost Peace.

X

THE world feels dusty
When we stop to die;
We want the dew then.
Honors taste dry.
Flags vex a dying face,
But the least fan
Stirred by a friend’s hand
Cools like the rain.
Mine be the ministry
When thy thirst comes,
Dews of thyself to fetch
And holy balms.