Alison's Mother To The Brook

A poem by Josephine Preston Peabody

Brook, of the listening grass,
Brook of the sun-fleckt wings,
Brook of the same wild way and flickering spell!
Must you begone? Will you forever pass,
After so many years and dear to tell?--
Brook of all hoverings ...
Brook that I kneel above;
Brook of my love.

Ah, but I have a charm to trouble you;
A spell that shall subdue
Your all-escaping heart, unheedful one
And unremembering!
Now, when I make my prayer
To your wild brightness there
That will but run and run,
O mindless Water!--
Hark,--now will I bring
A grace as wild,--my little yearling daughter,
My Alison.

Heed well that threat;
And tremble for your hill-born liberty
So bright to see!--
Your shadow-dappled way, unthwarted yet,
And the high hills whence all your dearness bubbled;--
You, never to possess!
For let her dip but once--O fair and fleet,--
Here in your shallows, yes,
Here in your silverness
Her two blithe feet,--
O Brook of mine, how shall your heart be troubled!

The heart, the bright unmothering heart of you,
That never knew.--
(O never, more than mine of long ago.
How could we know?--)
For who should guess
The shock and smiting of that perfectness?--
The lily-thrust of those ecstatic feet
Unpityingly sweet?--
Sweet beyond all the blurred blind dreams that grope
The upward paths of hope?
And who could guess
The dulcet holiness,
The lilt and gladness of those jocund feet,
Unpityingly sweet?
Ah, for your coolness that shall change and stir
With every glee of her!--
Under the fresh amaze
That drips and glistens from her wiles and ways;
When the endearing air
That everywhere
Must twine and fold and follow her, shall be
Rippled to ring on ring of melody,--
Music, like shadows from the joy of her,
Small starry Reveller!--
When from her triumphings,--
All frolic wings--
There soars beyond the glories of the height,
The laugh of her delight!

And it shall sound, until
Your heart stand still;
Shaken to human sight;
Struck through with tears and light;
One with the one desire
Unto that central Fire
Of Love the Sun, whence all we lighted are
Even from clod to star.

And all your glory, O most swift and sweet!--
And all your exultation only this;
To be the lowly and forgotten kiss
Beneath those feet.

You that must ever pass,--
You of the same wild way,--
The silver-bright good-bye without a look!--
You that would never stay,
For the beseeching grass ...

You, Four Walls,
Wall not in my heart!
When the lovely night-time falls
All so welcomely,
Blinding, sweet hearth-fire,
Light of heart's desire,
Blind not, blind not me!
Unto them that weep apart,--
While you glow, within,
Wreckt, despairing kin,--
Dark with misery:
--Do not blind my heart!

You, close Heart!
Never hide from mine
Worlds that I divine
Through thy human dearness.
O belov├Ęd Nearness,
Hallow all I understand
With thy hand-in-hand;--
All the lights I seek,
With thy cheek-to-cheek;
All the loveliness I loved apart.

You, heart's Home!--
Wall not in my heart.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Alison's Mother To The Brook' by Josephine Preston Peabody

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy