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- Poems of Cheer - 6/17 -


Love breathed a secret to her listening heart, And said "Be silent." Though she guarded it, And dwelt as one within a world apart, Yet sun and star seemed by that secret lit. And where she passed, each whispering wind ablow, And every little blossom in the sod, Called joyously to her, "We know, we know, For are we not the intimates of God?" Life grew so radiant, and so opulent, That when her fragile body and her brain By mortal throes of agony were rent, She felt a curious rapture in her pain. Then, after anguish, came the supreme bliss - They brought the little baby, for her kiss!

II--THE BETROTHAL

There was a little pause between the dances; Without, somewhere, a tinkling fountain played. The dusky path was lit by ardent glances As forth they fared, a lover and a maid. He chose a nook, from curious eyes well hidden - All redolent with sweet midsummer charm, And by the great primeval instinct bidden, He drew her in the shelter of his arm. The words that long deep in his heart had trembled Found sudden utterance; she at first dissembled, Refused her lips, and half withdrew her hand, Then murmured "Yes," and yielded, woman fashion, Her virgin mouth to young love's kiss of passion.

III--THE BRIDAL KISS

As fleecy clouds trail back across the skies, Showing the sweet young moon in azure space, The lifted veil revealed her shining face - A sudden wonder to his eager eyes. In that familiar beauty lurked surprise: For now the wife stood in the maiden's place - With conscious dignity, and woman's grace, And love's large pride grown trebly fair and wise.

The world receded, leaving them alone. The universe was theirs, from sphere to sphere, And life assumed new meaning, and new worth. Love held no privilege they did not own, And when they kissed each other without fear, They understood why God had made the earth.

IV--DOMESTIC BLISS

Sequestered in their calm domestic bower, They sat together. He in manhood's prime And she a matron in her fullest flower. The mantel clock gave forth a warning chime. She put her work aside; his bright cigar Grew pale, and crumbled in an ashen heap. The lights went out, save one remaining star That watched beside the children in their sleep. She hummed a little song and nestled near, As side by side they went to their repose. His arm about her waist, he whispered "Dear," And pressed his lips upon her mouth's full rose - The sacred sweetness of their wedded life Breathed in that kiss of husband and of wife.

V--OLD AGE

The young see heaven--but to the old who wait The final call, the hills of youth arise More beautiful than shores of Paradise. Beside a glowing and voracious grate A dozing couple dream of yesterday; The islands of a vanished past appear, Bringing forgotten names and faces near; While lost in mist, the present fades away. The fragrant winds of tender memories blow Across the gardens of the "Used-to-be!" They smile into each other's eyes, and see The bride and bridegroom of the long ago. And tremulous lips, pressed close to faded cheek Love's silent tale of deathless passion speak.

RETROSPECTION

I look down the lengthening distance Far back to youth's valley of hope. How strange seemed the ways of existence, How infinite life and its scope!

What dreams, what ambitions came thronging To people a world of my own! How the heart in my bosom was longing, For pleasures and places unknown.

But the hill-tops of pleasure and beauty Were covered with mist at the dawn; And only the rugged road Duty Shone clear, as my feet wandered on.

I loved not the path and its leading, I hated the rocks and the dust; But a Voice from the Silence was pleading, It spoke but one syllable--"Trust."

I saw, as the morning grew older, The fair flowered hills of delight; And the feet of my comrades grew bolder, They hurried away from my sight.

And when on the pathway I faltered, And when I rebelled at my fate, The Voice with assurance unaltered, Again spoke one syllable--"Wait."

Along the hard highway I travelled And saw, with dim vision, how soon The morning's gold locks were unravelled, By fingers of amorous noon.

A turn in the pathway of duty - I stood in the perfect day's prime, Close, close to the hillside of beauty The Voice from the Silence said "Climb"

The road to the beautiful Regions Lies ever through Duty's hard way. Oh ye who go searching in legions, Know this and be patient to-day.

HELENA

Last night I saw Helena. She whose praise Of late all men have sounded. She for whom Young Angus rashly sought a silent tomb Rather than live without her all his days.

Wise men go mad who look upon her long, She is so ripe with dangers. Yet meanwhile I find no fascination in her smile, Although I make her theme of this poor song.

"Her golden tresses?" yes, they may be fair, And yet to me each shining silken tress Seems robbed of beauty and all lustreless - Too many hands have stroked Helena's hair.

(I know a little maiden so demure She will not let her one true lover's hands In playful fondness touch her soft brown bands So dainty-minded is she, and so pure.)

"Her great dark eyes that flash like gems at night? Large, long-lashed eyes and lustrous?" that may be, And yet they are not beautiful to me. Too many hearts have sunned in their delight.

(I mind me of two tender blue eyes, hid So underneath white curtains, and so veiled That I have sometimes plead for hours, and failed To see more than the shyly lifted lid.)

"Her perfect mouth so liked a carved kiss?" "Her honeyed-mouth, where hearts do, fly-like, drown?" I would not taste its sweetness for a crown; Too many lips have drank its nectared bliss.

(I know a mouth whose virgin dew, undried, Lies like a young grape's bloom, untouched and sweet, And though I plead in passion at her feet, She would not let me brush it if I died.)

In vain, Helena! though wise men may vie For thy rare smile, or die from loss of it, Armoured by my sweet lady's trust, I sit, And know thou are not worth her faintest sigh.

NOTHING REMAINS

Nothing remains of unrecorded ages That lie in the silent cemetery time; Their wisdom may have shamed our wisest sages, Their glory may have been indeed sublime. How weak do seem our strivings after power, How poor the grandest efforts of our brains, If out of all we are, in one short hour Nothing remains.


Poems of Cheer - 6/17

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