Today I opened wide my eyes,
And stared with wonder and surprise,
To see beneath November skies
An apple blossom peer;
Upon a branch as bleak as night
It gleamed exultant on my sight,
A fairy beacon burning bright
Of hope and cheer.
'Alas! ' said I, 'poor foolish thing,
The birds sang in the wet trees
And I listened to them it was a hundred years from now
And I was dead and someone else was listening to them.
But I was glad I had recorded for him
Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true --
I love April, I love you.
Goethe in Weimar sleeps, and Greece,
Long since, saw Byron's struggle cease.
But one such death remain'd to come;
The last poetic voice is dumb--
We stand to-day by Wordsworth's tomb.
When Byron's eyes were shut in death,
We bow'd our head and held our breath.
He taught us little; but our soul
Had felt him like the thunder's roll.
And now another autumn morning finds me
With chalk dust on my sleeve and in my breath,
Preoccupied with vague, habitual speculation
On the huge inevitability of death.
Not wholly wretched, yet knowing absolutely
That I shall never reacquaint myself with joy,
I sniff the smell of ink and chalk and my mortality
And think of when I rolled, a gormless boy,
The roofs are shining from the rain.
The sparrows tritter as they fly,
And with a windy April grace
The little clouds go by.
Yet the back-yards are bare and brown
With only one unchanging tree--
I could not be so sure of Spring
Save that it sings in me.
When I am dead and over me bright April
Shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
Though you shall lean above me broken-hearted,
I shall not care.
I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful
When rain bends down the bough;
And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
Than you are now.
You took my empty dreams
And filled them every one
With tenderness and nobleness,
April and the sun.
The old empty dreams
Where my thoughts would throng
Are far too full of happiness
To even hold a song.
There! See the line of lights,
A chain of stars down either side the street --
Why can't you lift the chain and give it to me,
A necklace for my throat? I'd twist it round
And you could play with it. You smile at me
As though I were a little dreamy child
Behind whose eyes the fairies live. . . . And see,
The people on the street look up at us
All envious. We are a king and queen,
Our royal carriage is a motor bus,
The April night is still and sweet
With flowers on every tree;
Peace comes to them on quiet feet,
But not to me.
My peace is hidden in his breast
Where I shall never be,
Love comes to-night to all the rest,
But not to me.