In the Orchard-Days, when you
Children look like blossoms, too,
Bessie, with her jaunty ways
And trim poise of head and face,
Must have looked superior
Even to the blossoms, – for
Little Winnie once averred
Bessie looked just like the bird
Tilted on the topmost spray
Of the apple boughs in May.
With the redbreast, and the strong
Clear, sweet warble of his song –
“I don’t know their name,” Win said –
“I ist maked a name instead.” –
So forever afterwards
We called robins “Bessie-birds.”
Archive for the ‘O-R’ Category
Posted in O-R, Poems of Other Poets, tagged apple boughs in May, bard on the hill, Bessie, birds, children, James Whitcomb Riley, Little Winnie, Orchard Days, poems, poetry, The Robins' Other Name, warbled on March 15, 2017| Leave a Comment »
In the Orchard-Days, when you
Posted in O-R, Poems of Other Poets, ReligiousInspirational, tagged encouragement, gracious master, James Whitcomb Riley, Kissing The Rod, perseverance, poems, poetry, problems, sorrow, tested, trials, woe on February 23, 2017| Leave a Comment »
O heart of mine, we shouldn’t
What we’ve missed of calm we couldn’t
…Have you know!
What we’ve met of stormy pain
And of sorrow’s driving rain,
We can better meet again,
…If it blow!
We have erred in that dark hour
…We have known,
When our tears fell with the shower,
…All alone! –
Were not shine and shower blent
As the gracious Master meant? –
Let us temper our content
…With His own.
For, we know not every morrow
…Can be sad;
So, forgetting all the sorrow
…We have had,
Let us fold away our fears,
And put by our foolish tears,
And through all the coming years
…Just be glad.
Posted in O-R, Poems of Other Poets, tagged An Old Sweetheart Of Mine, bard on the hill, church warden stem, faithful till the golden hair was gray, fluttering of wings, Genii from the vase, heaven, James Whitcomb Riley, kiss, light my pipe in silence, little checkered dress, little girls played marbles, living presence, nest of roses, pencil blue and red, photograph, pink sunbonnet, poems, poetry, rare Habanas, recess, spelling, teacher didn't know, tobacco, wife is standing there on January 8, 2017| Leave a Comment »
An old sweetheart of mine! – Is this her presence here with me,
Or but a vain creation of a lover’s memory?
A fair, illusive vision that would vanish into air
Dared I even touch the silence with the whisper of a prayer?
Nay, let me then believe in all the blended false and true –
The semblance of the old love and the substance of the new, –
The then of changeless sunny days, the now of shower and shine –
But Love forever smiling – as that old sweetheart of mine.
This ever-restful sense of home, though shouts ring in the hall. –
The easy chair – the old book-shelves and prints along the wall;
The rare Habanas in their box, or gaunt church-warden-stem
That often wags, above the jar, derisively at them.
As one who cons at evening o’er an album, all alone,
And muses on the faces of the friends that he has known,
So I turn the leaves of Fancy, till, in shadowy, design,
I find the smiling features of an old sweetheart of mine.
The lamplight seems to glimmer with a flicker of surprise,
As I turn it low – to rest me of the dazzle in my eyes,
And light my pipe in silence, save a sigh that seems to yoke
Its fate with my tobacco and to vanish with the smoke.
‘Tis a fragrant retrospection, – for the loving thoughts that start
Into being are like perfume from the blossom of the heart;
And to dream the old dreams over is a luxury divine –
When my truant fancies wander with that old sweetheart of mine.
Though I hear beneath my study, like a fluttering of wings,
The voices of my children and the mother as she sings –
I feel no twinge of conscience to deny me any theme
When Care has cast her anchor in the harbor of a dream –
In fact, to speak in earnest, I believe it adds a charm
To spice the good a trifle with a little dust of harm, –
For I find an extra flavor in Memory’s mellow wine
That makes me drink the deeper to that old sweetheart of mine.
O Childhood-days enchanted! O the magic of the Spring! –
With all green boughs to blossom white, and all bluebirds to sing!
When all the air, to toss and quaff, made life a jubilee
And changed the children’s song and laugh to shrieks of ecstasy.
With eyes half closed in clouds that ooze from lips that taste, as well,
The peppermint and cinnamon, I hear the old School bell,
And from “Recess” romp in again from “Blackman’s” broken line,
To smile, behind my “lesson,” at that old sweetheart of mine.
A face of lily beauty, with a form of airy grace,
Floats out of my tobacco as the Genii from the vase;
And I thrill beneath the glances of a pair of azure eyes
As glowing as the summer and as tender as the skies.
I can see the pink sunbonnet and the little checkered dress
She wore when first I kissed her and she answered the caress
With the written declaration that, “as surely as the vine
Grew ’round the stump,” she loved me – that old sweetheart of mine.
Again I made her presents, in a really helpless way, –
The big “Rhode Island Greening” – I was hungry, too, that day! –
But I follow her from Spelling, with her hand behind her – so –
And I slip the apple in it – and the Teacher doesn’t know!
I give my treasures to her – all, – my pencil – blue-and-red; –
And, if little girls played marbles, mine should all be hers, instead!
But she gave me her photograph, and printed “Ever Thine”
Across the back – in blue-and-red – that old sweetheart of mine!
And again I feel the pressure of her slender little hand,
As we used to talk together of the future we had planned, –
When I should be a poet, and with nothing else to do
But write the tender verses that she set her music to…
When we should live together in a cozy little cot
Hid in a nest of roses, with a fairy garden-spot,
Where the vines were ever fruited, and the weather ever fine,
And the birds were ever singing for that old sweetheart of mine.
When I should be her lover forever and a day,
And she my faithful sweetheart till the golden hair was gray;
And we should be so happy that when either’s lips were dumb
They would not smile in Heaven till the other’s kiss had come.
But, ah! my dream is broken by a step upon the stair,
And the door is softly opened, and – my wife is standing there:
Yet with eagerness and rapture all my visions I resign, –
To greet the living presence of that old sweetheart of mine.
Posted in O-R, Poems of Other Poets, tagged bard on the hill, bird beast, brat, devil, dread uncanny thing, firefly, fuzzy breast, glowworm, James Whitcomb Riley, ladybug, leathern wing, poems, poetry, scud the air, The Bat, witch's hand, wordpress blog on December 4, 2016| Leave a Comment »
Thou dread, uncanny thing,
With fuzzy breast and leathern wing,
…In mad, zigzagging flight,
Notching the dusk, and buffeting
…The black cheeks of the night,
……With grim delight!
What witch’s hand unhasps
…Thy keen claw-cornered wings
…From under the barn roof, and flings
Thee forth, with chattering gasps,
……To scud the air,
And nip the ladybug, and tear
Her children’s hearts out unaware?
The glowworm’s glimmer, and the bright,
Sad pulsings of the firefly’s light,
…Are banquet lights to thee.
O less than bird, and worse than beast,
Thou Devil’s self, or brat, at least,
…Grate not they teeth at me!
photo by Bartek Ambrozik at
Posted in O-R, Poems of Other Poets, tagged ancestralled essences, bard on the hill, brutish men, crowns of thorns, Dead Man's Dump, Isaac Rosenberg, plunging limbers over the shattered track, poems, poetry, rusty freight, sprawled dead, the Great War, wheels lurched, wordpressblog, World War I on October 29, 2016| Leave a Comment »
The plunging limbers over the shattered track
Racketed with their rusty freight,
Stuck out like many crowns of thorns,
And the rusty stakes like sceptres old
To stay the flood of brutish men
Upon our brothers dear.
The wheels lurched over sprawled dead
But pained them not, though their bones crunched,
Their shut mouths made no moan.
They lie there huddled, friend and foeman,
Man born of man, and born of woman,
And shells go crying over them
From night till night and now.
Earth has waited for them,
All the time of their growth
Fretting for their decay:
Now she has them at last!
In the strength of their strength
Suspended—stopped and held.
What fierce imaginings their dark souls lit?
Earth! have they gone into you!
Somewhere they must have gone,
And flung on your hard back
Is their soul’s sack
Emptied of God-ancestralled essences.
Who hurled them out? Who hurled?
None saw their spirits’ shadow shake the grass,
Or stood aside for the half used life to pass
Out of those doomed nostrils and the doomed mouth,
When the swift iron burning bee
Drained the wild honey of their youth.
What of us who, flung on the shrieking pyre,
Walk, our usual thoughts untouched,
Our lucky limbs as on ichor fed,
Immortal seeming ever?
Perhaps when the flames beat loud on us,
A fear may choke in our veins
And the startled blood may stop.
The air is loud with death,
The dark air spurts with fire,
The explosions ceaseless are.
Timelessly now, some minutes past,
Those dead strode time with vigorous life,
Till the shrapnel called ‘An end!’
But not to all. In bleeding pangs
Some borne on stretchers dreamed of home,
Dear things, war-blotted from their hearts.
Maniac Earth! howling and flying, your bowel
Seared by the jagged fire, the iron love,
The impetuous storm of savage love.
Dark Earth! dark Heavens! swinging in chemic smoke,
What dead are born when you kiss each soundless soul
With lightning and thunder from your mined heart,
Which man’s self dug, and his blind fingers loosed?
A man’s brains splattered on
A stretcher-bearer’s face;
His shook shoulders slipped their load,
But when they bent to look again
The drowning soul was sunk too deep
For human tenderness.
They left this dead with the older dead,
Stretched at the cross roads.
Burnt black by strange decay
Their sinister faces lie,
The lid over each eye,
The grass and coloured clay
More motion have than they,
Joined to the great sunk silences.
Here is one not long dead;
His dark hearing caught our far wheels,
And the choked soul stretched weak hands
To reach the living word the far wheels said,
The blood-dazed intelligence beating for light,
Crying through the suspense of the far torturing wheels
Swift for the end to break
Or the wheels to break,
Cried as the tide of the world broke over his sight.
Will they come? Will they ever come?
Even as the mixed hoofs of the mules,
The quivering-bellied mules,
And the rushing wheels all mixed
With his tortured upturned sight.
So we crashed round the bend,
We heard his weak scream,
We heard his very last sound,
And our wheels grazed his dead face.
Posted in O-R, Poems of Other Poets, tagged bard on the hill, chiming seas, James Whitcomb Riley, Orpheus, Pan sit and pipe, poems, poetry, poor plebeian minstrel of the hearth, roundelay, sonnet, sweet prattle, To The Cricket, Tubal Cain, warbling, wordpress blog on October 5, 2016| Leave a Comment »
The chiming seas may clang; and Tubal Cain
…May clink his tinkling metals as he may;
…Or Pan may sit and pipe his breath away;
Or Orpheus wake his most entrancing strain
Till not a note of melody remain! –
…But thou, O cricket, with thy roundelay,
…Shalt laugh them all to scorn! So wilt thou, pray
Trill me thy glad song o’er and o’er again:
…I shall not weary; there is purest worth
In thy sweet prattle, since it sings the lone
…Heart home again. Thy warbling hath no dearth
Of childish memories – no harsher tone
…Than we might listen to in gentlest mirth,
…Thou poor plebeian minstrel of the hearth.
Posted in O-R, Poems of Other Poets, tagged A Leave-Taking, bard on the hill, cheek, death, ghost of a lily, I will be sleeping thus some day, James Whitcomb Riley, lips are chilly, mourning, poems, poetry, sadness, she will not smile, stir on September 14, 2016| Leave a Comment »
She will not smile;
…She will not stir;
I marvel while
…I look on her.
……The lips are chilly
……And will not speak;
…The ghost of a lily
……In either cheek.
Her hair – ah me!
…Her hair – her hair!
…My hands go there!
……But my caresses
……Meet not hers,
…O golden tresses
……That thread my tears!
I kiss the eyes
…On either lid,
Where her love lies
……I cease my weeping
……And smile and say:
…I will be sleeping
……Thus, some day!
Posted in O-R, Poems of Other Poets, tagged a vestige of thoughts, bard on the hill, better by far you should forget and smile, Christina Rossetti, do not gireve, poems, poetry, Remember, remember and be sad, silent land on August 29, 2016| 8 Comments »
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more, day by day,
You tell me of our future that you planned;
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve;
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
Posted in O-R, Poems of Other Poets, tagged A Song Of The Cruise, anchor at last, bard on the hill, God's hand's on the helm, happy haven, His breath in the sails, James Whitcomb Riley, murmur no more in lull or in roar, poems, poetry, storm will beat back, stormiest gales, tempest, the sun and the rain, voyage is over on July 22, 2016| Leave a Comment »
O the sun and the rain, and the rain and the sun!
There’s be sunshine again when the tempest is done;
And the storm will beat back when the shining is past;
But in some happy haven we’ll anchor at last.
…Then murmur no more,
…In lull or in roar,
But smile and be brave till the voyage is o’er.
O the rain and the sun, and the sun and the rain!
When the tempest is done, then the sunshine again;
And in rapture we’ll ride through the stormiest gales,
For God’s hand’s on the helm and His breath in the sails.
…Then murmur no more,
…In lull or in roar,
But smile and be brave till the voyage is o’er.
Posted in O-R, Poems of Other Poets, tagged A Lounger, artists, bard on the hill, glanced evasively, grotesque of form, idle eyed, James Whitcomb Riley, leaned against a lamp post, limper laziness, low hovels, mysterious reverie, no happiness has ever been, picturesque in every way, poems, poetry, scratched, yawned on June 8, 2016| Leave a Comment »
He leaned against a lamp-post, lost
…In some mysterious reverie:
His head was bowed; his arms were crossed;
…He yawned, and glanced evasively:
Uncrossed his arms, and slowly put
…Them back again, and scratched his side –
Shifted his weight from foot to foot,
...And gazed out no-ward, idle-eyed.
Grotesque of form and face and dress,
…And picturesque in every way –
A figure that from day to day
…Drooped with a limper laziness;
A figure such as artists lean,
…In pictures where distress is seen.
Against low hovels where we guess
…No happiness has ever been.