………………….Telling The Bees
Here is the place, right over the hill
…Runs the path I took,
You can see the gap in the old wall still,
…And the stepping-stones in the shallow brook.
There is the house, with the gate red-barred,
…And the poplars tall;
And the barn’s brown length, and the cattle-yard,
…And the white horns tossing above the wall.
There are the beehives ranged in the sun;
…And down by the brink
Of the brook are her poor flowers, weed-o’errun,
…Pansy and daffodil, rose and pink.
A year has gone, as the tortoise goes,
…Heavy and slow;
And the same rose blows, and the same sun glows,
…And the same brook sings of a year ago.
There’s the same sweet clover-smell in the breeze;
…And the June sun warm
Tangles his wings of fire in the trees,
…Setting, as then, over Fernside farm.
I mind me how with a lover’s care
…From my Sunday coat
I brushed off the burrs, and smoothed my hair,
…And cooled at the brookside my brow and throat.
Since we parted, a month had passed, –
…To love, a year;
Down through the beeches I looked at last
…On the little red gate and the well-sweep near.
I can see it all now, – the slantwise rain
…Of light through the leaves,
The sundown’s blaze on her window-pane,
…The bloom of her roses under the eaves.
Just the same as a month before, –
…The house and the trees,
The barn’s brown gable, the vine by the door, –
…Nothing changed but the hives of bees.
Before them, under the garden wall,
…Forward and back,
Went drearily singing the chore-girl small,
…Draping each hive with a shred of black.
Trembling, I listened: the summer sun
…Had the chill of snow;
For I knew she was telling the bees of one
…Gone on a journey we all must go!
Then I said to myself, “My Mary weeps
…For the dead to-day:
Haply her blind old grandsire sleeps
…The fret and the pain of his age away.”
But her dog whines low; on the doorway sill,
…With his cane to his chin,
The old man sat; and the chore-girl still
…Sung to the bees stealing out and in.
And the song she was singing ever since
…In my ear sounds on: –
“Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence!
…Mistress Mary is dead and gone!”
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