THE BITTER ROOT* * BOOK 0^ POEMS * by ? Janet Piper A dissertation submittad In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, In the Department of English, in the Graduate College of the State University of Iowa June, 1940 ProQuest N um ber: 10805536 All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is d e p e n d e n t upon the quality of the copy subm itted. In the unlikely e v e n t that the a u thor did not send a c o m p le te m anuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if m aterial had to be rem oved, a n o te will ind ica te the deletion. uest ProQuest 10805536 Published by ProQuest LLC(2018). C opyright of the Dissertation is held by the Author. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States C o d e M icroform Edition © ProQuest LLC. ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 4 8 1 0 6 - 1346 ii for i 'r’>r'- > F. F. ill Down whatever wave Of whatever world The spirit hereafter Drifts, or Is soundlessly driven. Is softly or violently whirled. So long as It Is given me to remember Anything, however email. Of this life and Its loves and Its lovers. One memory I shall hold to. shall cling to Longest, latest of alii Mot of your face* not of your voiee. (Though familiar these are and dear) But of the klnd> the sustaining clasp of your h a n d : This comfort I shall be loath to relinquish. Even In that fare that unimaginable land* iv Certain of the following poems have appeared In The Midland, The gorge, The Harp. Poetry* A Magazine of Verse* The Lyric* The Saturday Review of Literature. American Prefaces, The Prairie Schooner. Hew York Herald Tribune Books* Boz&rt* The Carillon* and other journals* V CONTENTS FIRST YOUTH What is beauty 2 Apocalypse 3 The Stranger 4 Foreboding 5 Words About Death 6 Hear, 0 Love Ora Pro Noble 7 8 RETROSPECT Lovely and illusory 11 Song 12 Since Even Leaves 13 Harbinger 14 Hands 15 Vi Recurring Dream 16 Songs For a Spinet 17 So is the meagre banquet spread Residuum 20 21 t m BITTSR ROOT A thorny hedge surrounds my heart S3 Introvert 24 Transubstantlation 25 Elementary Doglc 26 Ingrate 27 Counsel In April 28 Class House 29 Second Thought 30 Dictum 31 Pursuit of the Muse 32 Visitant Visited 33 vii To My Subconscious 34 Melodrama 35 The Virtu© in Analysis 36 Preference Stated 37 Dialogic 38 Dedioat Ion to the Intellectual £*lfe 41 So much you are offered The Question 42 43 XNTIRIAJDE As in time swift-gathered floods ' * Ii'esprit s'ad r esse al 1 am© 45 46 / Reflexions 47 Ohanson 48 viii ALIEN BIRD What is thla I who beats her wings 50 Illusion 51 Figure With Annotation 58 Shadow 53 Day 54 Dark 55 those Flowers 56 Be assured, be oomforted Pastoral 57 58 SONGS B1F0RB WINTER Sometimes it seems a ourloue thing Songs Before Winter 60 61 ix Strange 65 Night Piece 66 Approximation 67 Economics and the Ego 68 Heredity 69 Environment 70 Progrese 71 Balm to the mind 72 Winter-Bound 75 FOR A FEW PERSONS For Hartley Burr Alexander 75 Remembered Spring 76 To An Acquaintance 77 Not in Qalllee 78 X. Nativity 79 In Xts Wisdom or Treason @0 When Dally theBlack Doubt @1 Mea Culpa 82 Song 85 In Answer 84 Coffee Hour 85 FOR MY $0N Hush thee,hush thee# Sometimes Xwill sing X come upon you unaware 87 88 You are my flower of youth with extreme care 89 The aeorn falls# the milkweed sails away 90 Although your thought lies in my open hand 91 xi Tliis afternoon an infant oomes to oall 98 Your sudden piercing cry sounds in ray ears93 This afternoon I have had much to say 94 Now in an April morning after rain 95 Here is a weight of loveliness to hear 96 And daffodils have drunk a sunny dew 97 Knowledge is like a vast and anolent grove 98 A people whose sweet tongue I do not speak 99 I think there will be music on the earth 100 This is the little picture of a world 101 Watching the horses from a neighboring field 102 Always the mist and rain have had high power 103 Now as blue evening pales, tall trees move near 104 xii Through flushed end flowering spring, through burning fall To ©harm your ear is now my privilege 105 106 EPILOGUE The spirit naked and alone 106 1 FIRST YOUTH 2 What Is beauty Of sound or thin#, that It should leave me What are dreams And what la song, What I should serve them My life long;? Am 1 a viol. Fain the how, that wistful music Is all X know? 3 APOCALYPSE X dare not be too long alone Lest X awake and find me gone; Lest there oome thunder in my ears# A rush of wings# a clash of spears# A riving of timber and in my eyes A 8tinging smoke and paradises Under my breast my heart might grow Too hot and high to be held so; My sentient self might in me say# "I am very strong# X will not stay; Xt is no task to tear apart The puny prison of your heartIn X dare not be too long alone Lest X awake and find me gone* 4 *TH£ STRANGSR X do not know this stranger, Furtive, meanly dressed; kove it was, all clothed with light, 1 hade to he my guest; "Impostor!* shall X say to him And send him on his way. Or give him wine, anoint his hair, Remembering yesterday? 5 wonmmim X knew the sound of its dark coming, X heard lte step and caught ay breath; A fragile tune which X was humming Game to a sudden, silvery death* X felt the touch of a shadowy hand And trembled in a black embrace; "To-day," X said, "X shall understandJ" But X did not see its face* 3 WORDS ABOUT DEATH Words about death Are like petals drifting; I would cover my sorrow With words about death. But they are so few. 7 "Hear, 0 or Death take m e /” Is nor youth *e brief litany. Sorrow, Love and Death, these three. The Farsons of my Trinity, ORA PRO HOBIS Ivor sines she came upstairs Mary Agnes has been saying prayers* "Ood, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us It is cruel that I should be lying Warm and safe while she is crying* "Holy Mary, Mother of dod, pray for us Nothing but a wall between, Lath and paper thin as screen* "Virgin most beautiful I suppose she quarreled again with Jim; Ho girl should care for a boy like him* "Virgin most prudent Hush, Mary Agnes, d o n ’t care, d o n ’t cryJ y o u ’re as good a girl and better than I* "Mystical rose 9 If ah© keeps crying the whole night through, Shall I go in to her? What will X do? "Comfortress of the afflicted Dear Ood, what does one say Late in the night when one needs to pray? "House of gold, pray for us -• 10 BK8tO»FE09 11 XiOvely and illusory* Dreams do well enough for m i Shall X not then, If X ohoose, Wear winded sandals for my ahoes? 12 SONG Flowers are dead 1n garlands you wove* the bird and the blossom gone from the grove: Are you grieving for love? 1 grieve for the tree not bursting to leaf, 1 grieve for all beauty blighted and brief: X am grieving for grief. SINGE EVEN LEAVES X have hidden my hair in a shadowing hood And fled away to this far wood: Hero, my silken searf unwound, X shall lay me on the ground. What is life hut constant fears, Geaseless sorrow, quenchless tears? Let such birds as will, come cover Me from love, now and forever • • • • Still X weep, since even leaves Lie heavy on a heart that grieves* 14 HA1BJW0ER Within an icy fastness My spirit, worn and old, 5/tables and shivers, brooding on the evil of the cold* Just now a scarlet singing bird, A sudden radiant stain Against a startled, snowy eliff Glowed and was gone again* 15 HANDS Musi© slips from her fingers, Thin slanting drops life© rainj It sways and gleams - did you listen? It Is gone again. Her fingers are flowers or fire, fh® tips are as flames* foueh them - they are ©old as snow falling, fragile as dreams* 13 RECURRING DREAM Of EVIL PORTENT serpent preceded me In the garden* Long ago Was the hud blighted, the tree stripped at the root * Hothlng will grow Where the flowers should have been now, and the ripening fruit* These wounds are forever unhealed* Snow Drifts over the scarred and meaoried waste • Only the vulture, the orow, Foe of innocent years, remain* Nor they at the last. 17 SONGS FOR A SPIimr X Petals loosened ’ Break and blow On a breath of wind fo the ground Like snow, Like notes In a music Heard long ago, A delicate dirge For a fragile woe. 13 II All music Inferred From the note Of one bird, All truth From one word: All gardens Guessed From one petal Pressed, All rest From one breast. Ill To-night The snow falls light* Oh fair And sold And white* Upon all old Delight* Upon old Sorrow. So Is tho me&gre banquet spread* Dreams my hunger and my bread. RESIDUUM Dreams spent, I rest now, think, find what I have Remaining * sudden, lovely silences That rose like music, deepened harmonies Of swift and poignant meaning, mounting wave On wave above my drowning sense, your grave, Rich-patterned words, low-voiced intensities* My mind is closely carved with memories, Its walls are bitten deep — all I must save* They are become a part of me, to grow With my growth, die with my death only* Time fill cut new records and the mind will show Changed patterns; these, the years cannot efface, Although your spuriouslustre. Is-grbwn: dim, The metal of your b e i n gproven .base* SB THE BITTER HOOT A thorny hedge aurrounds my heart It hag this virtue: All the spines are pointed ins $hey will not hurt you* 24 IHTHGV1RT High on a mountain or deep in th© s©a Bury the creature I a all m®* Gnawing, worrying, as a dog at a bone, Z have never been able to leave her alone; Sniffed, bitten, pulled, torn, Harried, driven, from the day she was born, Pity the creature with hunted eyes, Distraught, cornered* When she dies, Say in mercy, 11So let it be • The quarry escapes; the prisoned Is free,” TPANSOBSTANTXATXOH Being starved, X lately said, "In G o d fs name, a little bread* Heed assuaged, I would partake Freely of the wine and cake* Hungering now for these alone, Proffered bread becomes a stone 26 EXilMENTARY £.0010 X have made my bed; X will lie in Its X shall not lie easy# Not for a minute# But if X moan Or toss about# Xt will be after dark# The lights put outs Xf X speak truth And no oheap lie# X make virtue Of expedieney, Since X am one who# hiving or dead# Will never rest Xn any bed. 27 INGRATB Close to ft orack In the prison wall My greedy mind presses but all She can see or the best thereabout. Is your mind doubtfully peering outs My mind sighs and turning her baok, Begins to dig at another creek* 28 COUNSEL IN APRIL Arm yourself against the spring Or hide, seek covert The day of your meagre blossoming Is done with, over. Not for you does the green blade Leap, the sap quickens Cover your eyes - there is no aid For one new stricken* 29 GLASS HOUSE X can almost forget its substance, So delicate it is and thinly blown: Yet sometimes hearing shattered glass, X know a stone is thrown, And seeking whose hand flung the missile, Stare, startled, at my own* SECOND THOUGHT Having seen a small truth plain, Sha said, ”X shall never he the same again. But a woman may falter a lifetime through, Blinded by a truth or two* 31 DICTUM These outworn selves, malformed, pathetic, Active, passive, energetic, Timid, forward, glum, elate, Impartial, 1 repudiates Nor, frankly, do 1 contemplate With satisfaction this Current metamorphosis* PURSUIT OP THE MUSI My mind Is a nag 1 must ride till X dies "Dodderer, dolt.1 Make haste,1" X cry; "The rest have gone by,'* When spent and asweat, we are left in arrears, X tremble with fury and reward her with jeers; "Body and soul for a mount like theirs 33 VISITANT VISITED 0 subtle analyst, Quick to discover The hidden spring, the secret twist In conduct of another, Turn the clear light in, What does it uncover? 1 dare not say, but 1 suspect Innocuous vacuity. Wherein fancy can detect (Malevolent assiduity) Evil in its protean shapes To confound my fatuity. 34 to m SUBCONSCIOUS A distinct inconvenience, If not a disgrace, is to have a subconscious Which won't keep Its place* Reputedly devious, Sxpert in guile, Tour embarrassing candor Straitens my style; Since you tell me so much 1 had rather not know, Heed the censor, if any. And please go below* 35 MELODRAMA Surgeon, you boar him no ill-will, Pause, suspend your knifes Forbear to exercise your skill Upon his paper substitute for life. THE VIRTUE IN ANALYSIS The sorrows of my youth were due To a perverted point of view Imposed upon me as I grew -* This I have lived to judge is true The torments of my present lot Are equally, as like as not. Of blindness bred, by lies begot And still X shiver, sweat and rot# 37 KtEFSREBCS STATED Cowardie© is a doubtful shield, Gourag© a sword I cannot wields on the bloody field, t would abandon both, and yield* 38 DIALECTIC I Say It la a penance For my sin* Or for grapes my grandparents Ate seed and skins Gall it a sentence, A term to serve. Set teeth, body tense, Steeled nerve Are common sense. Hardly heroic; In self-defense One assumes the stole. 63 But if a penance By whom imposed? If a prison, whence And by what closed? Obvious inference Derives from doubts When not in durance* One walks out* 40 m Still* in deferens© To all those Who viewing the evidence, Hardily ©hose Patient endurance, Maintain the pose - Slightly off-balance Grotesque, stiff. At least insurance, In case, if - 41 D eDICATION TO THE INTEEI3SCTUAL LIFE I have dabbled tentative toes In a mighty sea, All but Infinitely wide, as variously fedj Now the w a ^ r is up to my knee, No, it is over my heads These currents are powerful, multiple, crossed; I shall swim If 1 can, or drown, Holding it gain to be lost, Better far to go down Breasting this vital flood. Than to live on land, £«acklng 3jilt In the blood, Ohoked upon sand. 42 So much you are offered^ This fritter root; Seek not seed, Hope not, fruit. If you hunger, Take 1%, eati To the hungry Bitter is sweet. THE QUESTION 0 narrow house which holds the brain Source and instrument of pain; Set of cells wherein X live, A prisoner and fugitive; from your windows I can mark m e bursting horror on the dark; Griea of terror, suffering, fear Aseail the rampart of my ears 1 stifle in this airless room, If fortress, prison still, and tomb And were you granted now its keys. What would you do with your release? 44 INTERLUDE 45 Ae in time awift-gathered floods Deflected from their course. Seek new channels underground. Unmindful of their source; So limpid pa s b Iona whloh the mind Dlfldalne and mooke. Dig d a .tro yln g chaws In w W tW M M n rocks. L*ESPRIT S rADRESSS A L 1 AMS On fabrique beaucoup de mondes Au ooura de la vie Pour te donner, ame tremblante, Un final abri. A Sacha snfin, reveuse, aveugle, Quo 09« mondes forte H*existent point* Pour tout rafugo Tu n'aa que le corps* Tu n'aa que le eorpa, mon faible, a 9eat mei quti le dies Tea citadelles, tea royaumes, je lea al bails* 47 I REFLEXIONS Nous habltona dans Is mams raonds, tout pres* contemporains; H o b regards so touehent par hasard St quelquefoie nos mains* Hob regards reneontrent at nos esprlts S 'approehent* curious, Puls se retlrent* mondalns, aceptiquee, Bt memo soupoonneu^t* Hals nos antes sagos so regardant Longtemps, gravement* fort, In aachant bion qu'alias no ronoontront Qu*en passant vors la mort* 46 CHANSON Qu'eet-ee que a'eat done que 1 'amour, Eet-ce Xa Joie, la peine? N N Tout a la foie ou tour a tour, G 'eat Xa peur, o'eet Xa haine. Que veut dire Xe mot aimer. Eet-ce vlvre ou raourir? C'eet avoir falm et <s'eet manger, • A / C'eet m i t r e et perir. / Que eait X'amour de Xa toeaute De X'eepolr, de Xa foi? ✓ Pee yeux, Xee mains de I'aime, See parolee et ea voix* 49 ALIEN BIRD 50 that la thl» I who har wing* With low lament Ilka m o w n l t m dova. Or, frae a moment, flying, alnna. Who faintg ylth f«ar* dissolves with love? Uneasy reas cn tUi?s the tether Blth chiding or wlth'moaklnK word. Or ft fallen feather^ Marvels at the alien bird* 51 XS&USXOIS In a thin-blown paradise, Prism-colored, brittle as lee, Safe ae dew an hour past dawn. Secure as shadow in the sun, X move, remote and exquisite. Aware of the world yet apart from it* In a dream of pity 2 know your sorrow; X am faintly stirred and yet to-morrow, To-day, this I is a ghost These walls are water, this citadel lost* 52 FIGURE WITH ANNOTATION X am a tree without roots In the fecund, comforting earth. Only the tremulous tendrils tossing, Uneasy hunger and dearth} Go it has been from my birth • From birth has it really been s$r1‘ Even a seedling tha t ’s sound, Forced time and again from the ground By weather or spade or hoe, Will scarcely root deep and grow; Starved, thirsting, where Seek sustenance save In the air? Deep, deep toward the sky I grope, and fail, and will die* SHADOW Unhappily the egoist Sees life through a triple mist, Dimly sensing where you stand. He gropes in vain to find your hand} Metaphysically speaking, His form obscures what he is seeking. Still across the shining meadow Falls his ever*lengthened shadow* Always X walk beside a pit So deep the soul faints viewing it; With at my right hand, opposite, A wall of cliff so sheer and high Its reach is lo^t in the dim sky: With unsure step and limbs that sway I move along thisfnarrow way From tomorrow on |© yesterday* 55 t>ABK Within night'a shadowed sphere. Palpable, resilient. As one in arms long dear, I lie at rest, content: Pillowed on yielding space, X fling an arm afar Seeking peace, truth and grace, Cupping the tranquil air* 56 THESE FLOWERS These flowers, If they are flowers, I said, Are engendered, are fed, where the spirit has bled; They have roots In no ground Save the heart's hurt and the soul's wounds So 1 said and spoke falsely, denying The ranked body's erylng, Its hunger and fever and languor, In vain. And the fralt, If these are fruit, of Its pain* 57 "Be nasurad. bo comforted." So to mv grieving haart I gala. "As gliding wind ovar banding areas. All thlnga paaa." By haart wouldnot, be comforted. Mr heart. atlll grieving. only gald. Again and again os she ever has, Ala 8 . . a a iasj11 58 PASTORAL (After Theocritue) Th© w o l f 1© Jaw® have olosed upon The youngling kid so whit© and tender* Leaving neither a®h nor bon©; Rone was near who might defend her* Yet* my fhyrsis, ©ease from grief, Life, at best* is only brief; The wolf pursuing, as the kid that flies* Lives its moment and so dies* Then, Thyrsis* dry thine eyes* S0NU3 BEFORE WIHTKR 60 Sometimes It aeems a curious thine How like Hovember ma.v be to eorl m u Alono In a wood I sat on a log. Smelling the around, tasting fog. Seeing black and dripping trees. Hearing birds# Because of these It seemed the morning of the year — I wish it wereI I wish it were i 61 SO NGS BEFORE WINTER I Already on this hillside Stern winter has set foot; Here linger only drying weeds# Small withered fruit To mark the vanished summers See even now a flock Of late leaves hurry Across the blackened rook. 62 XI the wind^a insistent melodies In rustling leaves and sere Ar® autumnal counterpoint Heard of every ear. there is a ghostly music Known to the heart alone, A song of other autumns long since gone. 63 III “Whence this secret dolor, Why this stifled oryf* "I am stabbed with the sharp color Of trees against the sky.” “Mow as the light Is falling, Why do you stand forlornf* “1 hear the wind's low walling In fields of dying corn.“ Through stripped trees of December The wind with whistling breath Speaks loud the end of autumn, The summer’s second death* Mow chill earth yields reluctant A meagre sustenance; / Life endures, but diminished. Withdrawn, tense* 65 STBA&OE There 1*3 nothing there? Nothing but air? Look again! They are only wraith? You see right through them? Ah well, I oould have sworn Sine© they were born In pain, Beaten to breath, There was some life to them* 66 HIGHT FZEGS Three are awake in the moonlight, The melancholy owl. The lone dog barking down the road And the fretted soul; The owl, monotonous, complains, The dog vents sudden fears; The soul, a worn campaigner. Reviews Its tattered oares. 67 APPROXIMATIOH When the mind composes Itself to endure Lack forever And nothing more, A coil at tension Finds release. And a quiet ensues That Is almost peace. 68 ECONOMICS AND THE BOO Clinging to a straw by black waters whirled, X might look abroad upon a drowning world; X might look abroad and see If X would, My sister and her children swept beneath the flood* "Close your eyes and do not think Of the unfortunate who sink; Count only those who are afloat Nor envy him who has a boat." X know the creed, X keep its law And thank God dally for my straw, Enabled to forget the lost At but a trifling moral cost* 69 HEREDITY Lack and need Beget greedj These breed Fear and distrust (Hot germane to dust) Because they must. When to have Does not Imply A brother's grave, A starved child's cry, Base and enough Engender love# 70 ENVIRONMENT Man fears his brother -But wet You, me? 1, you? Is it true? (Forgive us — we bo I) We dwell With feart Fears fill This air — We breathe no other* 71 PROGRESS Hand over hand, a rung at a time, X climb, % climb . . . ♦ . Darkness above, darkness below, How shall t know the way to go? Or which Is up and which Is down? Or who is sinner, saint or clown? Bones ache - there is no skin Left on knuckle, or knee or shins Hand over hand, a rung at a time, X climb, 2 climb • « . • • Boot, to the a»r. Wind In old leavag At tha laat of tho year. Calm to the aclrlt. Peace to the eye. Angular branches Carving the sky« 73 WINTER-BOUND You are wrong; Here la no peace ot the spirit, This chill repose; It la winter In the mind, In the heart; 1 am weighted with snows# The burden Is grievous; None the less X must bear it Until the cold goes: Until lee in the vein Is melted And the buds start; Until the tree grows# 74 FOB A FEW PERSOWS FOE HARTLEY BURR ALEXANDER f*X am that Hary who sat reverent, Adoring* at another wise m a n ’s foot* Finding his words and comprehension sweetjn So X recall a youthful sonnet went, And what the early sonnet said, 1 meant* You only know how hard X was beset; That you were more than kind, compassionate X offer now this renewed testament* You were the swinging censer and the light, The high priest and the altar and the host; You were the deep-toned organ and the choir Cathedral sanctuary, food and fire And shelter to a spirit drenched and loeJ», Abandoned in the ruinous, outer night* 76 REMEMBERED SPRING Always In April with a thrust of pain Z shall recall a lost and lovely springs Swift, silver light and black olouds hurrying; Wet petals blowing, sharpened scents in rain; And you, and where we shall not go agpin Together, a city, still, unllstenlng; I shall reoall our yo u t h 1® shy offering, Unspoken love; and beauty's sudden stain Upon the gravestone® underneath the moon; The verses chanted to our silent hosts; fhe chill, sweet evening® that sped too soon. Ail this Is done. As yet X dare not ptss That quiet place, fearing two weightless ghosts, The boy you were, the dreaming girl I we®. 77 TO AN ACQUAINTANCE Yours Is a nature too fluid for friendship, too transient, too changing, A surface reflecting too nearly the bright or the dark skies* As a mariner after the storm, his hand raised, shielding his eyes, Strains his vision toward some invisible point where he hopes the land lies; So now my friendship, even at your urging, gases over the wide, Shallow expanse of your being, finding nowhere place to set confident foot, Build a fire and abide. NOT IN Q k h l h m And did Be speak? X do not know, X do not knows Bis voice was low And there was whirring, too, of wings The senses stray for lesser things* 1 thought Be said, •Take up thy bed, Arise and go*" But there were many thronged the way And he had Journeyed far that day? 1 saw Him bend His head to pray And guessed the pity He must feel So many maimed, so few to heal* 79 SATXVITS Let It be nameless ever which X swear Was none the less conceived immaculate. Although it© birth i® mortal and the date Of its extinction set* Fluid as air, Xt bathes with light the common deny we share; Stains with its radiance our earthly state; Preserves apart our peace inviolate — Making less ponderable the clay we wear: Xt Is as though our spirits comprehended Completely and at ones and without speoch, The deep essential verity of each; Rejoiced; g&sed long; embraced; and so subtended This vital arc* this breath — Its sure appointed end — which soon must reach but is not ended. 80 IH ITS WISDOM OR TREASON Thera will he no hymn at this burial And few word8 saidj Mo prayer Intoned for the early, The newly dead* Qhoet, unfamiliar, long alien, Who run at my aide, lager, hopeful, expectant, Xnnooent-eyedj Who dally elt at my table And are not fedj Who lie night-long In the darkness, Awake In my beds The heart. In lie treason or wisdom, In pity and pain, Grlee at length, 11Let the untimely risen Be burled again. ** There will be no crypt, no vault, no tomb, Mo funeral urn; The grave will be deep, be narrow You will not return* 81 WHEN DAILY THE BLACK DOUBT Sick, shaken, when dally the black doubt recurs, My heart from Its aching depth, from its innermost cell, Calls, cries out, sends forth to yours Its desperate. Its desolate, despairing appeals Only believe * whatever false changing shadow obscures The surface; whatever crack in the crumbling facade harsh lights reveal; Whatever vain mist betrays or darkness of weakness blurs For a moment the contour; the strong, the delicate, steel Skeletal base - the essential structure - endures; Stands till the end; is real. 62 ma culpa I have Injured my friend. My friend who was kinds My friend in a world of ill, Did more than wish me well; 1 was heedless and blinds Mow powerless to mend The widening rift, X am lost and bereft, Foreknowing the ends I have injured my friend* 83 SONO (For an Elizabethan air) Beat not your wings so blindly, Wild bird within the breast, We dreamed his voice said kindly. Said gently, "Rest, Love, rest Silence your wings, 0 wild bird, Heed then and be still 2 Xt was his voice we heard • His wish Is our will, Our will* Rest Is a still communion, And two, though far apart, May share that silent union, Bach true to his own heart » Fold your wings then, weary bird, Be at peace and still ’ Xt was his voice we heard His wish is our will. Our will* 84 IN ANSWER We journey together, you say; \ No, Beloved, you walk In the Ways Men scurry rush-rushing, Push-pushing, orush-crushing, through streets leading nowherej You do not walk therei Wastes where men circle alone, these you have not k n o w m Dim alleys we haunt in our sin, Here you have not b e a m Ah Beloved, you say, X know, these are the Way you go — 0 Lamp, 0 Light, I grieve, Seeing, not to believe* 65 COFFEE HOUR (tatinous pulse, uneasy brain, Hooves of thunder, rush of rain, And then the sweep of the hurricane* The desperately lifted futile shout. Simultaneous terror and doubt; A lightning flash, the soul stripped bare; Chill drenched skin and dripping hair; lethal horror and then the blind. Freeipltate flight of the ordered mind* Perception with aooompanylng shook Of you, too, flattened againBt this rock; The naked gase and through clasped hand The staccato blood beat* We understand — Electric communion and then once more The blinding flash, the deafening roar* Truth being true under whatever form, Upon the whole 1 am glad of the storm* 86 FOR MY SON 87 TO MY SOM Hush thee, hush thee. I will sing A song to be thy comforting! Light as petal, soft as wing Of dove. Hush thee* hush, hot little love.1 Sea foam, thistle, cherry flower. Lend thy U * h t n e « » for an hour. Lend thy grace unto m »om. they » U 1 not be needed Ion*. Be heeded long • • . . 86 to my mu I Sometimes I come upon you unaware And see, who have been blind, being too near it, Your tangible, warm beauty, substance, spirit, Drawn, colored, formed against the heedless air Which lately held you not, you being nowhere; You were unmade, unborn, who now inherit Hy hope, my dreams, all that my slender merit Taut*stretched, oan offer you in love and ears. And this solicitude will have availed A little, doubtless, in the final sum; But of your difficult journey you have eome So short a way. Seeing, 1 am assailed With wonder and with fear, Shat have X done Who have conceived, brought forth a child, a son? 69 II You are my flower of youth with extreme ear© Cherished, elose-petaled through safe-sheltering night, Unfolding dally to the friendly light, Breathing new fragrance on the fragrant air* 0 radiant, you are my perfeet share Of good, w e 11*shielded from all foreseen blight, My promise, hope, and image of delight. The faith and pattern of my constant prayer* "Wfrr flower,w 1 say, "my blossom, fruit and seedI* And shudder at the he a r t 1s unconscious sin* Bhat is this love that masks itself as greed, This mask of low© that hides the greed within? Bolding you close, 0 flower of flesh and blood, 1 only know that life and love are good* 90 XIX The aeorn falls, the milkweed eailg away. The thin moons drift, the round moons golden rise; With evening and with morning dew each day The grass is wet. great rains splash down the skiess The rohln yields the fenee post to the jay. High overhead the great hawk olrollng filesj In ehlll snow feathers, furry rabhlte play At dawn. Z see these wonders with your eyes. Or so 1 say, and so 1 would believe, Watehlng beside me your small lighted faoe, noting the quiver of your hand. 1 live Again In you my childhood Joy, retraoe host images. Tour thoughts are fugitive from mine forever, looked in a secret place. 91 Although your thought lies in my open hand, Transparent, plain, for all the world to see. Being not you, and lacking the true key, Still 1 stay newer wholly understand* nl am the eorn, you are the ehlekadee ft eking me up* And will you eat me, mother fn Mere is a simple game like any other. And in It mind's impliedt mystery* Time Is my enemy, 1 am aware. And subtler foes will follow in his trains this is nor eertaln best, this now and her# 2 $0 1 am prey to sharp and sudden fear, So I am stabbed with Immemorial pain, Kin to all mothers, lovers, anywhere* 92 ? Uhls afternoon an Infant comes to call, On© not a sixth your age, sinoe yon are threes You stand abashed hofora this mystery Recurrent In your vivid world, this small, And vibrant creature, this live doll Which cannot walk nor speak, though It can see, Can smile, can wave Its anas engagingly And show Itself irate or amiable* Your color heightens and your gase Is wldej You smile, you dance, you bring the toys you prise, A harp, a bear, and lay them at his aide, Wonder and supplication In your eyes* the baby, watching, laughs, a sweet cascade Of joyous sound, like sudden butterflies* 93 n your sudden piercing cry sounds in my oars, A noise to burst your round, Indignant throat, And boats again the resistant air to connote What thwarted wish, what anger, threatening fears? Before my mind your outraged face appears, Stormy, reproachful eyes, curved lips pressed out, Red mouth soon wide in the protesting shout, the bright cheeks darkened, streaked with sliding tears* X hasten, catch my breath in swift relief fo find you safe, console you in my arms; Pensive, foreboding, chilled, X touch your hairs My love, your miniature rage and grief Bo not amuse me. Indeed, X would spare you even these small, these early alarms* 94 This afternoon I have had much to say. Striving by stratagem, reproach, appeal, to bend to mine your small and stubborn will. And you, as 1, intent to have your way* We are each aotor in a separate play, Mine the more urgent, earnest, seeming-real; this script may hold your future written small And mine as well, since yours is half my day, Puck, cherub, gamin, elf, chameleon child, How time my entrance, exit, know my ouef Here is an art wherein 1 am unstyled, Unskilled, unsurej the role besides is new, tutor and guide, parent-phllosopheri 1 con the part — and tremble if % err* 95 VIXI How In an April morning after rain We visit this warm eastern slope to find The fairy bluebells lifted In the wind, Where not a fortnight sinee the snow has lain, Wood violets, and beauty without stain, The pale hepatlea's, the mayflower's veined. Frail bloom that lives long only in the mind, And will within the month be gone again. So is young lovei as fair, as soon to go, As ehaste, as delieate, as brief as these, Brief as the eroeus thrusting through the snow, Brief as the windflower's, the anemone's bight petals on the fragile stem* This, though 1 tell you, you will not believe, not know* 96 IX Here Is a weight of loveliness to bear When the pink oak-leaves from the hud unfold And violet and snowdrop pieroe the mould* Perfection is within our grasp* is here When blossoming April seents the heady air With subtle essences* when trees are filled With singing birds some home* and nests to buildt this is the apex of the natural year* long time and long* In wheeling light and shadow the young earth grew before her lands appeared* And grasses waved upon a sea-wide meadow* And canyons split* and huge rook-ranges reared* But we live now! Our Barth has wooded hills* Oak trees and apple* and yellow daffodils! 97 X And daffodils have drunk a sunny dew Prom the Elysium of poetry* Songs tremble In them that the herdsmen knew In ancient pastures high In Slelly* (thiknown Island* unknown tongue! Oh* learn for me the wisdom of the world and hooks!) The flippant hoofs of goats that used to turn Through daffodils to drink from Etna’s brooks Must haunt them still; by any upland stream Tall asphodels watch asphodels In water* Their shadowy* windy souls; and where they flutter* Poet-shepherds, pausing, stare* and dream Of fleeing nymphs and satyrs, Pan — although These folk were all forgotten long ago* 98 XI Knowledge is like a vast and aneient grove, A mighty forest, every Individual tree A mind, a man «— or so It seems to me, As eager, hesitant, 1 slowly move, touching their trunks with wonder, terror, love, Sensing the deep and sombre mystery Of time, and m a n ’s ambiguous history} Below decay, the brooding boughs above. But there are men, bold foresters who go With line and compass through this shadowed maze, Strong men and confident, who chart the ways. Where others follow safely and come through; And they live arduous and dangerous days, Xet si eh as 1 devoutly wish for you* 99 XXI A people whose sweet tongue X do not speak (Although by sight and voice X know them well And the enduring city where they dwell.) They touch firm strings, lift silver horns and make Concerted heavenly sounds that all but break The heart of one outside the citadel, Bearing all night, who with loud dawn will steal Away, hot tears still wet upon the cheek* Inthralled like us and subjset, still they know A state transcending our illiberal state, Breathe freer air, serenely come and go. Resolving in pure sound discordant fate* Listen — the star-like echoes* lake my hand ~~ These pathways lead to that enchanted land* 100 XXII I think they© will be music on the earth Forever, or until the polar snows So meet about Its equatorial girth that leaves no longer bud, nor water flows* the elangor of the world may even increase — X stifle this black terror, trusting surely that you, at least, may enter halls of peace, Where silvery sounds will flower singly, purely, fill music quickens, riding like a gull, Serene above a wide, deep-pulsing ocean, And melodies upwing until the air is full Of Interweavings of pellucid motion, Unseal your ears) let them bear measured thunderI though men make clangor, yet they make this wonder. 101 XIV this is the little picture of a world, the one we know heat, ours* See, with my hand 1 hide this continent on which we stand But here are more and here are islands curled In a blue sea* this sun-lit hall free-whirled In space, holds to it streams and rivers, land. Volcanoes, glaciers, cities, desert sand, Plants, birds, beasts, men, the air with clouds impearled* Shared as it is with millions from your birth, Bled for, fought over, find upon its shores Some vantage place; there stand, appraise its worth* What you can compass of its breadth and girth With supple mind and seeing eye is yours; this Is your ample heritage, the earth* 102 XV latching the horses fro® a neighboring field, A simple woman X# and you a child, !e hand in hand stand quiet and beguiled, Seeing these patient browsing creatures, skilled To drag a stubborn plow through the untllled Stiff soil - strong beasts grown heavy now and mild And slow, that once were small and fleet and wild, M a n ’s world as yet undreamed and still to build* A white horse comes up to the pasture bar In biasing light* Startled, we look at him And know our brother who gives back our stare, his kin* the sun drops down the horlson rim, But for a moment, as it disappears, Time steps, moved backward half a million years* 103 XVI Always the mist and rain have had high power Upon me to engender dreams, beget Wild joy and singing. X remember yet A child's clear chant as in an unwatched hour Once, small and young, and naked as a flower, X slipped outside and in the dripping wet Lifted my arms, my eyelids, lips and met, Icstatle, face to face, a summer shower. In terror and delight against a wall X stand while thunder shakes the rattling doors Behind me and the singing torrent pours, fo watch dissolving heaven earthward fall — Be spt red this lyric anguish, fruitless pain.1 fhe sky is airj the rain is only rain. 104 XVIJ flow as blue evening pales, tell trees move near ‘That were apart and far; their steep boles blacken, the small stream narrows and the shadows thicken. While overhead the gradual stars appear. I lift my eyes and face the diszy air, Striving to know, although my pulse# slacken And my assaulted senses reel and sicken, For what they are, the fiery worlds hung there; And think of you and pray that sound and whole. You may endure the wicle-pathed heaven, trace the lighted course ^here Atair, Vega, Mars, Where red Arcturus, Algol and the Foie How rest upon the curving arm of space, Kinsman to earth, familiar of the stars. XVIII Through flushed and flowering: spring, through burning fall, Your hear and you and I in various weather. Make this slow Journey through the pork together. Stare long and gravely at e&ah animal, The quick raccoon, the ducks, the geese, the small Hed fox. You study now a moulted feather And 1 this quiet scene, wondering whether It 1® to you as clear, indelible# Oh long, long after these swift days are gone, I & a l l still see the padding lion cub Test in the sun bis rippling muscled strength, Still see the brown bear rise and stretch and rub Against the bars his clumsy bulk and length, And on the still lagoon the silver swan* 106 XIX to charm your oar Is now my privilege, Since all my tales are new and you are young, TCet knowing well these words upon my tongue Will seem less golden to your growing age, 1 practise thrift and make these rhymes, a bridge from my still eager youth to your youth flung; Ho expert structure, still how sound and strong, How true its span, will toe for you to judge, flesh of my flesh, I say, bone of my bone. Citing the natural bond, the tie of blood, But you live orphaned and I die alone Unless love*s miracle has made its goods If in my vain unwisdom, dumb and blind, I am no kindred to your heart and mind. 107 BFXLO&FS lGd The spirit» naked and alone, Re tracks the journey it has gone} Finds again the biasted plain, Crossed before in blinding pain; Treads once more the burning sand, Deniad the comfort of your hand; Cowers beneath the fiery hail, And this time dares not fall or fall; But scorched and fainting, must eleot To walk unflinching and erect, Glear-eyed and steady, noting well the quaint topography of hell.