An Ode To Spring (To Grant And Nellie Allen)

A poem by Richard Le Gallienne

Is it the Spring?
Or are the birds all wrong
That play on flute and viol,
A thousand strong,
In minstrel galleries
Of the long deep wood,
Epiphanies
Of bloom and bud.

Grave minstrels those,
Of deep responsive chant;
But see how yonder goes,
Dew-drunk, with giddy slant,
Yon Shelley-lark,
And hark!
Him on the giddy brink
Of pearly heaven
His fairy anvil clink.

Or watch, in fancy,
How the brimming note
Falls, like a string of pearls,
From out his heavenly throat;
Or like a fountain
In Hesperides,
Raining its silver rain,
In gleam and chime,
On backs of ivory girls -
Twice happy rhyme!

Ah, none of these
May make it plain,
No image we may seek
Shall match the magic of his gurgling beak.

And many a silly thing
That hops and cheeps,
And perks his tiny tail,
And sideway peeps,
And flitters little wing,
Seems in his consequential way
To tell of Spring.

The river warbles soft and runs
With fuller curve and sleeker line,
Though on the winter-blackened hedge
Twigs of unbudding iron shine,
And trampled still the river sedge.

And O the Sun!
I have no friend so generous as this Sun
That comes to meet me with his big warm hands.
And O the Sky!
There is no maid, how true,
Is half so chaste
As the pure kiss of greening willow wands
Against the intense pale blue
Of this sweet boundless overarching waste.

And see! - dear Heaven, but it is the Spring! -
See yonder, yonder, by the river there,
Long glittering pearly fingers flash
Upon the warm bright air:
Why, 'tis the heavenly palm,
The Christian tree,
Whose budding is a psalm
Of natural piety:
Soft silver notches up the smooth green stem -
Ah, Spring must follow them,
It is the Spring!

O Spirit of Spring,
Whose strange instinctive art
Makes the bird sing,
And brings the bud again;
O in my heart
Take up thy heavenly reign,
And from its deeps
Draw out the hidden flower,
And where it sleeps,
Throughout the winter long,
O sweet mysterious power
Awake the slothful song!

February 7, 1893.

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