I see the starting buds, I catch the gleam
In the near distance of a sun-kissed pool,
The blessed April air blows soft and cool,
Small wonder if all sorrow grows a dream,
And we forget that close around us lie
A city's poor, a city's misery.
Of every outward vision there is some
Internal counterpart. To-day I know
The blessedness of living, and the glow
Of life's dear spring-tide. I can bid thee come
In thought and wander where the fields are fair
With bursting life, and I, rejoicing, there.
Yet have I passed, Beloved, through the vale
Of dark dismay, and felt the dews of death
Upon my brow, have measured out my breath
Counting my hours of joy, as misers quail
At every footfall in the quiet night
And clutch their gold and count it in affright.
I learned new lessons in that school of fear,
Life took a fresh perspective; sad and brave
The view is from the threshold of the grave.
In that long, backward glance I saw her clear
From fogs of gathering night, and all the show
Of small things that seemed great a while ago.
Our dreams of fame, the stubborn power we call
Our self-respect, our hopes of worldly good,
Our jealousies and fears, how in the flood
Of this new light they faded, poor and small;
Showing our pettiness beside God's truth,
Besides His age our poor, unlearned youth.
The earth yearns forth, impatient for the days
Of its maturity, the ample sweets
Of Summer's fulness; and its great heart beats
With a fierce restlessness, for Spring delays
Seeing her giddy reign end all too soon,
Her bud-crown ravished by the hand of June.
And I, - I shall be happy, - promise me
This one small thing, Beloved, for I long
For happiness as the caged bird for song.
Not where four walls close in the melody
I want the fresh, sweet air, the water's gush,
The strong, sane life with thee, the summer hush.