Night Thoughts

A poem by Hanford Lennox Gordon

"Le notte e madre dipensien."

I tumble and toss on my pillow,
As a ship without rudder or spars
Is tumbled and tossed on the billow,
'Neath the glint and the glory of stars.
'Tis midnight and moonlight, and slumber
Has hushed every heart but my own;
O why are these thoughts without number
Sent to me by the man in the moon?

Thoughts of the Here and Hereafter,
Thoughts all unbidden to come,
Thoughts that are echoes of laughter
Thoughts that are ghosts from the tomb,
Thoughts that are sweet as wild honey,
Thoughts that are bitter as gall,
Thoughts to be coined into money,
Thoughts of no value at all.

Dreams that are tangled like wild-wood,
A hint creeping in like a hare;
Visions of innocent childhood,
Glimpses of pleasure and care;
Brave thoughts that flash like a saber,
Cowards that crouch as they come,
Thoughts of sweet love and sweet labor
In the fields at the old cottage-home.

Visions of maize and of meadow,
Songs of the birds and the brooks,
Glimpses of sunshine and shadow,
Of hills and the vine-covered nooks;
Dreams that were dreams of a lover,
A face like the blushing of morn,
Hum of bees and the sweet scent of clover
And a bare-headed girl in the corn.

Hopes that went down in the battle,
Apples that crumbled to dust,
Manna for rogues, and the rattle
Of hail-storms that fall on the just.
The "shoddy" that lolls in her chariot,
Maud Muller at work in the grass:
Here a silver-bribed Judas Iscariot,
There Leonidas dead in the pass.

Commingled the good and the evil;
Sown together the wheat and the tares;
In the heart of the wheat is the weevil;
There is joy in the midst of our cares.
The past, shall we stop to regret it?
What is, shall we falter and fall?
If the envious wrong thee, forget it;
Let thy charity cover them all.

The cock hails the morn, and the rumble
Of wheels is abroad in the streets,
Still I tumble and mumble and grumble
At the fleas in my ears and the sheets;
Mumble and grumble and tumble
Till the buzz of the bees is no more;
In a jumble I mumble and drumble
And tumble off into a snore.

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