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- Nets to Catch the Wind - 3/6 -


"I am Love. By this spring, Brother, let us rest."

THE CHURCH-BELL

As I was lying in my bed I heard the church-bell ring; Before one solemn word was said A bird began to sing.

I heard a dog begin to bark And a bold crowing cock; The bell, between the cold and dark, Tolled. It was five o'clock.

The church-bell tolled, and the bird sang, A clear true voice he had; The cock crew, and the church-bell rang, I knew it had gone mad.

A hand reached down from the dark skies, It took the bell-rope thong, The bell cried "Look! Lift up your eyes!" The clapper shook to song.

The iron clapper laughed aloud, Like clashing wind and wave; The bell cried out "Be strong and proud!" Then, with a shout, "Be brave!"

The rumbling of the market-carts, The pounding of men's feet Were drowned in song; "Lift up your hearts!" The sound was loud and sweet.

Slow and slow the great bell swung, It hung in the steeple mute; And people tore its living tongue Out by the very root.

A CROWDED TROLLEY CAR

The rain's cold grains are silver-gray Sharp as golden sands, A bell is clanging, people sway Hanging by their hands.

Supple hands, or gnarled and stiff, Snatch and catch and grope; That face is yellow-pale, as if The fellow swung from rope.

Dull like pebbles, sharp like knives, Glances strike and glare, Fingers tangle, Bluebeard's wives Dangle by the hair.

Orchard of the strangest fruits Hanging from the skies; Brothers, yet insensate brutes Who fear each others' eyes.

One man stands as free men stand, As if his soul might be Brave, unbroken; see his hand Nailed to an oaken tree.

BELLS IN THE RAIN

Sleep falls, with limpid drops of rain, Upon the steep cliffs of the town. Sleep falls; men are at peace again Awhile the small drops fall softly down.

The bright drops ring like bells of glass Thinned by the wind, and lightly blown; Sleep cannot fall on peaceful grass So softly as it falls on stone.

Peace falls unheeded on the dead Asleep; they have had deep peace to drink; Upon a live man's bloody head It falls most tenderly, I think.

WINTER SLEEP

When against earth a wooden heel Clicks as loud as stone and steel, When snow turns flour instead of flakes, And frost bakes clay as fire bakes, When the hard-bitten fields at last Crack like iron flawed in the cast, When the world is wicked and cross and old, I long to be quit of the cruel cold.

Little birds like bubbles of glass Fly to other Americas, Birds as bright as sparkles of wine Fly in the night to the Argentine, Birds of azure and flame-birds go To the tropical Gulf of Mexico: They chase the sun, they follow the heat, It is sweet in their bones, O sweet, sweet, sweet! It's not with them that I'd love to be, But under the roots of the balsam tree.

Just as the spiniest chestnut-burr Is lined within with the finest fur, So the stony-walled, snow-roofed house Of every squirrel and mole and mouse Is lined with thistledown, sea-gull's feather, Velvet mullein-leaf, heaped together With balsam and juniper, dry and curled, Sweeter than anything else in the world. O what a warm and darksome nest Where the wildest things are hidden to rest! It's there that I'd love to lie and sleep, Soft, soft, soft, and deep, deep, deep!

VILLAGE MYSTERY

The woman in the pointed hood And cloak blue-gray like a pigeon's wing, Whose orchard climbs to the balsam-wood, Has done a cruel thing.

To her back door-step came a ghost, A girl who had been ten years dead, She stood by the granite hitching-post And begged for a piece of bread.

Now why should I, who walk alone, Who am ironical and proud, Turn, when a woman casts a stone At a beggar in a shroud?

I saw the dead girl cringe and whine, And cower in the weeping air-- But, oh, she was no kin of mine, And so I did not care!

SUNSET ON THE SPIRE

All that I dream By day or night Lives in that stream Of lovely light. Here is the earth, And there is the spire; This is my hearth, And that is my fire. From the sun's dome I am shouted proof That this is my home, And that is my roof. Here is my food, And here is my drink, And I am wooed From the moon's brink. And the days go over, And the nights end; Here is my lover, Here is my friend. All that I Could ever ask Wears that sky Like a thin gold mask.

ESCAPE

When foxes eat the last gold grape, And the last white antelope is killed,


Nets to Catch the Wind - 3/6

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