The Swing

A poem by John Frederick Freeman

It was like floating in a blessed dream to roam
Across green meadows, far from home,
With only trees and quivering sky to hedge the sight,
Dazzling the eyes with strange delight.
Such wide, wide fields I had never seen, and never dreamed
Could be; and wonderful it seemed
To wander over green and under green and run
Unwatched even of the shining sun.

One tree there was that held a wrinkled creaking bough
Far over the grass, hanging low;
And a swing from it hanging drew us near and made
New brightness beneath that doming shade.
For there my sisters swung long hours delightedly,
And there delighted clambered I;
And all our voices shrilled as one when up we flung
And into the stinging sharp leaves swung.

Then in a garden dense with bramble and sweet flowers
Where honeysuckle a new sweetness pours,
We sat and ate and drank. Well I remember how
We were all shaded by one bough
Bending with red fruit over our uplifted eyes,
Teasing our well-watched covetousness.

And then we went back happy to the empty swing,
But I was tired of everything
Except the grass and trees and the wide shadows there
Widening slowly everywhere.
It was like swinging in a solemn dream to roam
In a strange air, far from home--
Until I saw the shadows suddenly wake and move,
And float, float down from above.
Then I ran quickly back, round the large gloomy trees,
O with what shivering unease!
And stumbled where they waited, and was far too glad,
Finding them, to be afraid or sad.
--Then waited an unforgetting year once more to see
So wide a sky, so great a tree.

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