To Life

   O life with the sad seared face,
       I weary of seeing thee,
And thy draggled cloak, and thy hobbling pace,
       And thy too-forced pleasantry!

   I know what thou would'st tell
       Of Death, Time, Destiny -
I have known it long, and know, too, well
       What it all means for me.

   But canst thou not array
       Thyself in rare disguise,
And feign like truth, for one mad day,
       That Earth is Paradise?

   I'll tune me to the mood,
       And mumm with thee till eve;
And maybe what as interlude
       I feign, I shall believe!

The House of Hospitalities

Here we broached the Christmas barrel,
   Pushed up the charred log-ends;
Here we sang the Christmas carol,
       And called in friends.

Time has tired me since we met here
   When the folk now dead were young,
Since the viands were outset here
       And quaint songs sung.

And the worm has bored the viol
   That used to lead the tune,
Rust eaten out the dial
       That struck night's noon.

Now no Christmas brings in neighbours,
   And the New Year comes unlit;
Where we sang the mole now labours,
       And spiders knit.

Yet at midnight if here walking,
   When the moon sheets wall and tree,
I see forms of old time talking,
       Who smile on me.

On the Doorstep

The rain imprinted the step's wet shine
With target-circles that quivered and crossed
As I was leaving this porch of mine;
When from within there swelled and paused
       A song's sweet note;
   And back I turned, and thought,
       "Here I'll abide."

The step shines wet beneath the rain,
Which prints its circles as heretofore;
I watch them from the porch again,
But no song-notes within the door
       Now call to me
   To shun the dripping lea
       And forth I stride.

Jan. 1914.


I marked her ruined hues,
Her custom-straitened views,
And asked, "Can there indwell
     My Amabel?"

I looked upon her gown,
Once rose, now earthen brown;
The change was like the knell
     Of Amabel.

Her step's mechanic ways
Had lost the life of May's;
Her laugh, once sweet in swell,
     Spoilt Amabel.

I mused: "Who sings the strain
I sang ere warmth did wane?
Who thinks its numbers spell
     His Amabel?" -

Knowing that, though Love cease,
Love's race shows undecrease;
All find in dorp or dell
     An Amabel.

- I felt that I could creep
To some housetop, and weep,
That Time the tyrant fell
     Ruled Amabel!

I said (the while I sighed
That love like ours had died),
"Fond things I'll no more tell
     To Amabel,

"But leave her to her fate,
And fling across the gate,
'Till the Last Trump, farewell,
     O Amabel!'"


Moments of Vision

          That mirror
   Which makes of men a transparency,
       Who holds that mirror
And bids us such a breast-bare spectacle see
       Of you and me?

       That mirror
   Whose magic penetrates like a dart,
       Who lifts that mirror
And throws our mind back on us, and our heart,
       Until we start?

       That mirror
   Works well in these night hours of ache;
       Why in that mirror
Are tincts we never see ourselves once take
       When the world is awake?

       That mirror
   Can test each mortal when unaware;
       Yea, that strange mirror
May catch his last thoughts, whole life foul or fair,
       Glassing it--where?

Neutral Tones (excerpt)

We stood by a pond that winter day,
And the sun was white, as though chidden of God,
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod,
- They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.

Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove
Over tedious riddles solved years ago;
And some words played between us to and fro -
On which lost the more by our love.

The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
Alive enough to have strength to die;
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby
Like an ominous bird a-wing ...