Unpublished Poems

I

WHAT would I give to see
His face?
I’d give — I’d give my life
Of course,
But that is not enough!
Stop just a minute, let
Me think —
I’d give my biggest bobolink!
That makes two — him and life.
You know who June is?
I’d give her,
Roses a day from Zanzibar,
And lily tubes, like wells;
Bees by the furlong,
Straits of blue
Navies of butterflies sailed through,
And dappled cowslip dells.
Then I have ‘shares’ in
Primrose ‘ banks,’
Daffodil ‘dowries,’ spicy ‘stocks,’
Dominions broad as dew,
Bags of doubloons, adventurous
Bees
Brought me from firmamental seas,
And purple from Peru.
Now, have I bought it,
Shylock? Say!
Sign me the bond!
I vow to pay
To him who pledges this —
One hour of her sov’reign’s
Face!
Ecstatic contract!
Niggard grace!
My kingdom’s worth of bliss!

II

I ROSE because he sank.
I thought it would be
Opposite,
But when his power bent,
My Soul stood straight.
I told him Best must pass
Through this low arch of
Flesh;
No casque so brave
It spurn the grave —
I told him worlds I knew
Where monarchs grew
Who recollected us
If we were true.
And so with thews of hymn
And sinew from within,
In ways I knew not that
I knew, till then —
I lifted him.

III

WHERE Thou art — that is Home,
Cashmere or Calvary — the same,
Degree — or shame,
I scarce esteem location’s name
So I may come.
What Thou do’st is delight,
Bondage as play be sweet,
Imprisonment content
And sentence sacrament,
Just we two meet!
Where Thou art not is Woe —
Though bands of spices blow,
What Thou do’st not — Despair —
Though Gabriel praise me, Sir!

IV

IT’S easy to invent a life,
God does it every day —
Creation but a gambol
Of His authority.
It’s easy to efface it,
The thrifty Deity
Could scarce afford eternity
To spontaneity.
The Perished Patterns murmur,
But His perturbless plan
Proceed — inserting here
A Sun —
There — leaving out a Man.

V

DOOM is the House Without the Door —
’T is entered from the sun,
And then the ladder’s thrown away
Because escape is done.
’T is varied by the dream
Of what they do outside,
When squirrels play and berries die —
And hundreds bow to God.

VI

IF he were living — dare I ask?
And how if he were dead?
And so around the words I went
Of meeting them afraid.
I hinted changes, lapse of time,
The surfaces of years
I touched with caution, lest they slit
And show me to my fears,
Reverted to adjoining lives
Adroitly turning out
Wherever I suspected graves —
’T was prudenter, I thought.
And He — I rushed with sudden force
In face of the suspense —
‘Was buried’ — ‘Buried!’
‘He!’
My life just holds the trench.

VII

MOST she touched me
By her muteness;
Most she won me
By the way
She presented her small
Figure —
Plea for charity.
Were a crumb my whole
Possession,
Were there famine in
The land,
Were it my resource
From starving.
Could I such a face
Withstand?
Not upon her knee
To thank me
Sank this Beggar
From the sky,
But the crumb partook,
Departed,
And returned on high
I supposed, when sudden —
Such a praise began,
’T was as Space sat singing
To herself and Man.
’T was the wingèd Beggar
Afterward I learned,
To her benefactor
Paying gratitude.

VIII

’T WAS the old road
Through pain,
That unfrequented one
With many a turn and thorn
That stops at Heaven.
This was the town
She passed;
There, where she rested last,
Then stepped more fast,
The little tracks close prest.
Then — not so swift,
Slow — slow — as feet did
Weary go,
Then stopped — no other track.
Wait! Look! Her little book,
The leaf at love turned back,
The very hat
And this worn shoe
Just fits the track —
Herself, though, — fled.
Another bed, a short one
Women make to-night
In chambers bright,
Too out of sight, though,
For our hoarse Good-Night
To touch her hand.

IX

THE doomed regard the sunrise
With different delight
Because when next it burns abroad
They doubt to witness it.
The man to die to-morrow
Detects the meadow bird,
Because its music stirs
The axe
That clamors for his head.
Joyful to whom the sunrise
Precedes enamored day —
Joyful for whom the meadow bird
Has aught but elegy!

X

A WIFE at daybreak I shall be,
Sunrise, hast thou a flag for me?
At midnight I am yet a maid —
How short it takes to make it bride!
Then, Midnight, I have passed from thee
Unto the East and Victory.
Midnight, ‘Good-night,’ —
I hear them call,
The angels bustle in the hall,
Softly my Future climbs the stair,
I fumble at my childhood’s prayer —
So soon to be a child no more!
Eternity, I’m coming, Sir, —
Master, I ’ve seen that face before.