Ina Coolbrith

1841 – 1928 / Nauvoo, Illinois

A Song Of The Summer Wind

BALMILY, balmily, summer wind,
Sigh through the mountain passes;
Over the sleep of the beautiful deep,
Over the woods' green masses —
Ripple the grain of valley and plain,
And the reeds and the river grasses.

How many songs, O summer wind,
How many songs you know
Of fair, sweet things in your wanderings,
As over the earth you go,
To the Norland bare and bleak, from where
The red south roses blow.

Where the red south blossoms blow, O wind,
(Sing low to me, low and stilly!)
And the golden green of the citrons lean
To the white of the saintly lily;
Where the sun-rays drowse in the orange boughs.
(Sing, sing, for the heart grows chilly!)
And the belted bee hangs heavily
In rose and daffodilly.

I know a song, O summer wind,
A song of a willow-tree:
Soft as the sweep of its fringes deep
In languorous swoons of tropic noons,
But sad as sad can be!
Yet I would you might sing it, summer wind,
I would you might sing it me.

(O tremulous, musical murmur of leaves!
O mystical melancholy
Of waves, that call from the far sea-wall! —
Shall I render your meaning wholly,
Ere the day shall wane to the night again,
And the stars come, slowly, slowly?)

I would you might sing me, summer wind,
A song of a little chamber:
Sing soft, sing low, how the roses grow,
And the starry jasmines clamber;
Through the emerald rifts how the moonlight drifts,
And the sunlight's mellow amber.

Sing of a hand in the fluttering leaves,
Like a wee white bird in its nest:
Of a white hand twined in the leaves to find
A bloom for the fair young breast;
Sing of my love, my little love,
My snow-white dove in her nest,
As she looks through the fragrant jasmine leaves
Into the wasting west.

Tenderly, tenderly, summer wind,
With murmurous word-caresses,
O, wind of the south, to her beautiful mouth
Did you cling with your balmy kisses?
Flutter and float o'er the white, white throat,
And ripple the golden tresses?

'The long year groweth from green to gold,'
Saith the song of the willow-tree:
'My tresses cover, my roots enfold,'
O, summer wind, sing it me!
Lorn and dreary, sad and weary,
As lovers that parted be —
But sweet as the grace of a fair young face
I never again may see!
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