Mid-August

A poem by Duncan Campbell Scott

From the upland hidden,
Where the hill is sunny
Tawny like pure honey
In the August heat,
Memories float unbidden
Where the thicket serries
Fragrant with ripe berries
And the milk-weed sweet.

Like a prayer-mat holy
Are the patterned mosses
Which the twin-flower crosses
With her flowerless vine;
In fragile melancholy
The pallid ghost flowers hover
As if to guard and cover
The shadow of a shrine.

Where the pine-linnet lingered
The pale water searches,
The roots of gleaming birches
Draw silver from the lake;
The ripples, liquid-fingered,
Plucking the root-layers,
Fairy like lute players
Lulling music make.

O to lie here brooding
Where the pine-tree column
Rises dark and solemn
To the airy lair,
Where, the day eluding,
Night is couched dream laden,
Like a deep witch-maiden
Hidden in her hair.

In filmy evanescence
Wraithlike scents assemble,
Then dissolve and tremble
A little until they die;
Spirits of the florescence
Where the bees searched and tarried
Till the blossoms all were married
In the days before July.

Light has lost its splendour,
Light refined and sifted,
Cool light and dream drifted
Ventures even where,
(Seeping silver tender)
In the dim recesses,
Trembling mid her tresses,
Hides the maiden hair.

Covered with the shy-light,
Filling in the hushes,
Slide the tawny thrushes
Calling to their broods,
Hoarding till the twilight
The song that made for noon-days
Of the amorous June days
Preludes and interludes.

The joy that I am feeling
Is there something in it
Unlike the warble the linnet
Phrases and intones?
Or is a like thought stealing
With a rapture fine, free
Through the happy pine tree
Ripening her cones?

In some high existence
In another planet
Where their poets cannot
Know our birds and flowers,
Does the same persistence
Give the dreams they issue
Something like the tissue
Of these dreams of ours?

O to lie athinking -
Moods and whims! I fancy
Only necromancy
Could the web unroll,
Only somehow linking
Beauties that meet and mingle
In this quiet dingle
With the beauty of the whole.

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