Every old man I see
Reminds me of my father
When he had fallen in love with death
One time when sheaves were gathered.
That man I saw in Gardner Street
Stumbled on the kerb was one,
He stared at me half-eyed,
I might have been his son.
"OLD Norbert with the flat blue cap--
A German said to be--
Why let your pipe die on your lap,
Your eyes blink absently?"--
--"Ah!... Well, I had thought till my cheek was wet
Of my mother--her voice and mien
When she used to sing and pirouette,
And touse the tambourine
THOUGH nurtured like the sailing moon
In beauty's murderous brood,
She walked awhile and blushed awhile
And on my pathway stood
Until I thought her body bore
A heart of flesh and blood.
But since I laid a hand thereon
Clouds gather, treetops toss and sway;
But pour us wine, an old one!
That we may turn this dreary day
To golden; yes, to golden!
What if the storm outside destroy
Alike Christian and heathen?
Nature must sweep the old away
To bring on a new season.
The green elm with the one great bough of gold
Lets leaves into the grass slip, one by one, --
The short hill grass, the mushrooms small milk-white,
Harebell and scabious and tormentil,
That blackberry and gorse, in dew and sun,
Bow down to; and the wind travels too light
To shake the fallen birch leaves from the fern;
The gossamers wander at their own will.
At heavier steps than birds' the squirrels scold.
The rich scene has grown fresh again and new
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,
Came a bouquet from the city,
Fragrant, rich and debonair -
Sweet carnation and geraniium,
Heliotrope and roses rare.
Down beside the crystal river,
Where the moss-grown rocks are high,
And the ferns, from niche and crevice,
Stretch to greet the azure sky;
NOW in the sky
And on the hearth of
Now in a drawer the direful cane,
That sceptre of the . . . reign,
And the long hawser, that on the back
Of Marsyas fell with many a whack,
Twice hardened out of Scythian hides,
Now sleep till the October ides.
In summer if the boys be well.
October's bellowing anger breaks and cleaves
The bronzed battalions of the stricken wood
In whose lament I hear a voice that grieves
For battle’s fruitless harvest, and the feud
Of outraged men. Their lives are like the leaves
Scattered in flocks of ruin, tossed and blown
Along the westering furnace flaring red.
O martyred youth and manhood overthrown,
The burden of your wrongs is on my head.
No doubt they’ll soon get well; the shock and strain
Have caused their stammering, disconnected talk.
Of course they’re ‘longing to go out again,’—
These boys with old, scared faces, learning to walk.
They’ll soon forget their haunted nights; their cowed
Subjection to the ghosts of friends who died,—
Their dreams that drip with murder; and they’ll be proud
Of glorious war that shatter’d all their pride...
Men who went out to battle, grim and glad;
Children, with eyes that hate you, broken and mad.