O trees of life, oh, what when winter comes?
We are not of one mind. Are not like birds
in unison migrating. And overtaken,
overdue, we thrust ourselves into the wind
and fall to earth into indifferent ponds.
Blossoming and withering we comprehend as one.
And somewhere lions roam, quite unaware,
in their magnificence, of any weaknesss.
But we, while wholly concentrating on one thing,
Twenty bridges from Tower to Kew--
(Twenty bridges or twenty-two)--
Wanted to know what the River knew,
For they were young, and the Thames was old
And this is the tale that River told:--
"I walk my beat before London Town,
Five hours up and seven down.
Up I go till I end my run
Gassing the woodchucks didn't turn out right.
The knockout bomb from the Feed and Grain Exchange
was featured as merciful, quick at the bone
and the case we had against them was airtight,
both exits shoehorned shut with puddingstone,
but they had a sub-sub-basement out of range.
Next morning they turned up again, no worse
for the cyanide than we for our cigarettes
and state-store Scotch, all of us up to scratch.
Kanzo Makame, the diver, sturdy and small Japanee,
Seeker of pearls and of pearl-shell down in the depths of the sea,
Trudged o'er the bed of the ocean, searching industriously.
Over the pearl-grounds the lugger drifted -- a little white speck:
Joe Nagasaki, the "tender", holding the life-line on deck,
Talked through the rope to the diver, knew when to drift or to check.
Kanzo was king of his lugger, master and diver in one,
Diving wherever it pleased him, taking instructions from none;
HOW vainly men themselves amaze
To win the palm, the oak, or bays,
And their uncessant labours see
Crown'd from some single herb or tree,
Whose short and narrow-verged shade
Does prudently their toils upbraid;
While all the flowers and trees do close
To weave the garlands of repose!
Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
Nectar mixed; invite long overdue
The day had come for rendezvous.
Cuffed by presence, arrested in glance.
Delight in essence, our happenstance.
Our thoughts dancing through the air.
Entwinement in word had been lain bare.
Why was the whisper withheld?
After a year I came again to the place;
The tireless lights and the reverberation,
The angry thunder of trains that burrow the ground,
The hunted, hurrying people were still the same--
But oh, another man beside me and not you!
Another voice and other eyes in mine!
And suddenly I turned and saw again
The gleaming curve of tracks, the bridge above--
They were burned deep into my heart before,
The night I watched them to avoid your eyes,
They said he sent his love to me,
They wouldn't put it in my hand,
And when I asked them where it was
They said I couldn't understand.
I thought they must have hidden it,
I hunted for it all the day,
And when I told them so at night
They smiled and turned their heads away.
COME, my tan-faced children,
Follow well in order, get your weapons ready;
Have you your pistols? have you your sharp edged axes?
Pioneers! O pioneers!
For we cannot tarry here,
We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
We, the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
Pioneers! O pioneers!
O you youths, western youths,
So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship, 10
Alone far in the wilds and mountains I hunt,
Wandering amazed at my own lightness and glee,
In the late afternoon choosing a safe spot to pass the night,
Kindling a fire and broiling the fresh-kill'd game,
Falling asleep on the gather'd leaves with my dog and gun
by my side.
The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails, she cuts the
sparkle and scud,
My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout