EMILIA (a friend of Sarah's from school)
Halfway up the hemlock valley turnpike,
in the bend of silver water's arm,
where the deer come trooping down at even,
drink the cowslip pool, and fear no harm,
flower of the fields of camlet farm.
Sitting, sewing at the western window,
as the too brief mountain sunshine flies,
hast thou seen a slender-shouldered figure,
with a chestnut braid, minerva-wise,
round her temples
shadowing her gray enchanted eyes?
When the freshets flood the silver water;
when the swallow, flying northward, braves,
sleeting rains, that sweep the birchen foothills,
where the wind flowers' pale plantation waves,-
springing from the dead leaves in their graves.
Falls forgotten, then, Emilias needle;
ancient ballads, fleeting through her brain,
sing the cuckoo and the eveing primrose,
outdoors calling with a quaint refrain;
seems to brighten through the gusty rain.
Forth she goes, in some old dress and faded,
fearless of the showery, shifting wind;
kilted are her skirts to clear the mosses,
and her bright braids in her kerchief pinned;
of the damsel-errant Rosalind.
While she helps to serve the harvest supper,
in lantern-lighted villiage hall,
moonlight rises on the burning woodlands;
echoes dwindle from the distant fall,
in her ears the airy voices call.
Hidden papers in the dusty garret,
where her few and secret poems lie-
thither flies her heart to join her treasure,
while she serves with absent-musing eye
foaming cider in the glasses high.
"Would she mingle with her young companions!"
Vainly do her aunts and uncles say.
Ever, from the villiage sports and dances,
early missed, Emilia slips away.
With what imagined mates to play?
Did they seek her, wandering by the water,
they should find her comrades shy and strange;
queens and princesses and saints and fairies,
dimly moving in a cloud of change;
Mariana of the moated grange.
Up this valley to the fair and market,
when young farmers from the southward ride,
oft they linger at a sound of chanting,
in the meadows by the turnpike side;
long they listen
deep in fancies of a fairy bride.
THE SOUL AND BODY
Body and soul are married lovers;
God was their witness when they wed,
beside the tree of life in Eden;
"These twain shall be one flesh," he said.
But man has put them oft assunder;
and not alone by fire and sword,
but duped by lying metaphysic,
he oft denies, in deed and word,
This marriage between Earth and Heaven;
while ever, to the steadfast skies,
the prayers of these old constant lovers
in patient iteration rise;
"O priest, my little love remember!
my patient love, the body, see!
What thou canst do to ease her burdens
shall greatly lift and strengthen me!"
"O wise physician, now no longer
neglect my lord and love, the soul!
While he lies with pain and fever
no drug can make the body whole!"
From windward mountains barren crest
the roaring gale flies down the west,
and drifts the snow on Redmont's breast
in hollows dark with pine.
Full in its path from hill to hill
there stands, beside a ruined mill,
a lonely house, above whose sill
a brace of candles shine.
And there a lonely bachelor
and maiden sister, full threescore,
sit all forgetful of the roar
of wind and mountain stream;
Forgot the wind, forgot the snow,
what magic airs about them blow?
They read in wondering voices low
The Midsummer Night's Dream.
And reading, past frozen hill
in charmed woods they range at will,
And hear the horns of Oberon shrill
above the plunging Tam.
Yea, long beyond the cock's first crow,
in dreams they walk where may flowers blow,
late do they read, and liker grow
to Charles and Mary Lamb.
Legacy of golden days,
whence falls such sunlight on my ways?
What holy magic, what white art
delights my body and my heart,
looking, on a summer morn,
on falling fields of shining corn,
of hearing, storm-bound in the wood,
roar of cateracts in the flood?
When many masts of shipping meet
in vistas of a cross town street;
or when the sound of trestled trains,
heard half drowsing, looms and wanes;
when old ballads, bravely read,
ring out like cymbols in my head--
When I hear the noble vaunt,
radical and militant
chivalry of bold young men---
whence have I such pleasure then?
The lovely fruit of Eden's tree,
the fairy garland, whence to me?
My delight is not made of
young years, or requited love,
nor comes it from brave days well spent,
and honor porcelain-innocent.
I cannot think the mystic art
springs from an ever-loyal heart.
The silver bough, the golden rose
surely in some fair garden grows,
brought hither by a silent ship,
whose oars the liquid ether dip
unheard, unseen by mortal sight
in the dead of night.
So lucid, thrilling, sweet it is,
to taste it would not come amiss
to the saved souls; they would but think
suddenly sweeter grew their drink;
the angels and the arch angels
might pour it in sapphire shells.
THE LIFE OF WATER
It lives beside us and we often mingle,
the life of water and the life of man.
St. Frances called it, "humble, serviceable,
precious and clean" ;he viewed it as I think
too much----- for once---- utilitarianly.
I don't see how he can call water humble!
Yet water has a pleasant disposition;
it takes whatever shape you ask it to,
with frolicsome abandon to your wishes;
it never sulks, like fire or like wind.
The life of water runs a swifter cycle
than ours, or fire's. I never anymore
walk down at Manumit to springtime breakfasts
along the brook, but this comes home to me;
"The wheel of water is turning, over our head
and under our feet; from springs to river and sea,
back to the clouds, and under the Earth again.
And all this water has run this way before
and knows it's way. Then how can Plato say
we never twice step into the same river?"
From thinking of the water so, I come
to thinking of the year and of the spring
thus; "spring is present and spring is also past
and spring is future too; all three at once.
The wheel of spring is turning, over our head
and under our feet; the farther passing away
the nearer back it comes to flower again."
Such thoughts as these the spring at Manumit,
the shadows of death, the sun that makes all shadow,
the fluid fire of life, that cycles on,
renewal--death--renewal, ever the same
(and never alone the same) bring home to one
who looks on water in the calm of morning.
Or if you go to some remote great pasture
like Munson's Falls in manchester, Vermont,
where there is a brook that leaps a dozen ledges--
a brook you know and have known a long time--
if you plunge in and rear your breast against it
and toss it back by handfuls as it runs
and wrestle with the current, does it seem
to share your pleasure? be companionable?
Is there perhaps some consciousness in water,
unlike, indeed, the consciousness of man,
yet loving freedom, action and companions?
Why call it too far-fetched if one should think so?
Isn't it arrogant of man to think
he has the only form of consciouness
and the only language to express it in?
Though water can make nothing of our lingo
it may have some expression of its own,
less cumbersome, less crabbed, and less poignant;
perhaps more widely and more calmly true.
DOROTHEA (Sarah's most dear friend)
Young she is, and slight to view
in her homemade cambric dresses;
are her sweet eyes grey or blue?
Shade of twilight are her tresses.
Fairy-fine at first she seems;
but a longer look confesses
she's more wholesome stuff than dreams.
Yet I mind an April moon
shining down an orchard alley--
from one book, companions boon,
there we read Love in the valley
and I saw bright phantoms race,
thousand phantoms fleet and rally
all across her lighted face.
Once, within the ancient ground
where her fathers all lie sleeping,
she, beside a recent mound,
still and tender, but not weeping,
stood; that picture in my heart
fain am I forever keeping;
with that look I will not part.
O but in her maiden days
how she led the children trooping
through the old familiar plays!
Up her sash and flounces looping,
if the tiniest lost his cue,
to his side she ran, and stooping,
caught his hand and danced him through.
Met you her in hemlock wood
in the white midwinter weather,
when the pine's a tufted hood
and the fern's a crystal feather?
Heard you then her yodel sweet
and a far reply, together
float in echo where they meet?
Ariel voice, from range to range
lightly tossed and sweetly flying!
All her notes to murmurs change
when the winter light is dying.
All in magic murmurs she
laps and lulls the wee one lying,
pearl of twilight, on her knee.
IN A FAR TOWNSHIP
H is roundabout of bottle-green,
And pantaloons of fine nankeen
Were Sunday best; the month
And this from school a holiday;
But he had none with whom to play,
And wandered wistful,up and down,
All in a strange old Garden,
And in a strange old Town.
An ancient chaise, a Dobbin gray
Had brought him
here to spend the day.
Now his old aunt and uncle drowse;
No chick nor child is in the house--
No cat, no dog,
no bird, or mouse;
No fairy picture-book to spell,
No music-box of wonder,
Nor magic whispering-shell.
Unending is this afternoon,
And strange this landscape
as the moon,
With home a thousand miles away--
The pasture where his brothers play
With whoop and shout, in Indian
The porch where, even at this hour,
His mother prunes the vine and flower,
And hums the nursery melody,
"I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea."
Wide and shallow, in the cowslip marshes,
the freshet of the April snow;
late drifts linger in the hemlock gorges,
through the brakes and mosses trickling slow
where the mayflower,
where the painted trillium, leaf and blow.
Foliaged deep, the cool midsummer maples,
the porches of the long white street.
Trailing wide, olympian elms lean over,
tiny churches where the high roads meet.
wheel all night like stars amoung the wheat.
Blaze the mountains in the windless Autumn;
blue-nooned, apple-rippening days.
Faintly fragrant in the farther valleys,
smoke of many bonfires swells the haze.
plod with lowing up the meadowy way.
Roaring snows, down-sweeping from the uplands,
still valleys, drift them deep.
Low along the mountains, lake-blue shadows,
sea-blue shadows in the snowdrifts
blinding crystal is the sunlit sweep.
Portrait of a lady (about Sarah Cleghorn's aunt Jessie)
eyes sunlit hazel;
soft shadows round them play.
Her dark hair, smoothly ordered,
is faintly touched with gray.
of pleasant kindness,
her looks and language are--
a mirth that's never wounding,
a laugh that leaves no scar.
store of friends foregathered
before a cheerful blaze,
She loves good ranging converse
of past and future days.
best delight (too seldom)
from early friends to hear
How fares that small old city
she left this many a year.
is a narrower converse,
a cosier council still,
when all these friends departed
close comrads talk their fill.
our smouldering fire
we muse and ponder late,
commingling household gossip
with talk of gods and fate.
seemly ways of living,
authority and order
her lips and life profess.
Then with what happy
she spreads the linen fair
in that great church of bishops
that is her darling care.
And yet I dare
what her "new name" will be,
writ in the golden volume
beside the crystal sea.
Instead of "true believer,"
mighty quill hath penned
"of the poor beasts that perish,
the brave and gentle friend."
The golf links lie so near the mill
The laboring children can look out
and see the man at play.
(A teacher named Raymond Fuller had a telescope set up at Manumit School where she worked during
the early through late 1920s and and they all saw the four moons of Jupiter and she was inspired and wrote this poem)
published by Harpers Magazine
THE MOTHER AT THE TELESCOPE
I saw the moon of Jupiter!
The cloth for tea was
just laid on
and toasting of the cheese began,
when out of doors I sensed a stir
and one child calling, "Wait for
Oh mother, come and see this star,
brought down as close as lanterns are!"
Apron and all, I ran to share
boy's great moment
what a night!
Frost ,new moon, sweet biting air,
and through the telescope, I swear,
fragile berry filled with light!
I saw it with these very eyes!
With such near-sighted eyes as these,
that had been
watching bits of cheese,
I saw the drop of light that swung
it's four faint sailing moons among!
The moons were only
half the size
of scales of minnows, "And that star
has me transported twice as far
as Jupiter from Earth," I said
in my veins and in my head
great joy and wonder blazed and shone
to think what I had looked upon--
moons of a planet
in the skies
seen with these kitchen-gazing eyes!
I DON'T KNOW THE NAME OF THIS POEM... she wrote it about a boy she grew up with and loved..if
you know the name pleas email me and I will put it on...
I stood there drinking up cupfulls of his greatness
I remember him dancing all along the piazza
when he was a boy.
I was loving his hands and his barefeet,
and his shadow
and the leper on whom it fell.
I was wishing for some rough work to do for the lepers
to serve them
I did not hope he could feel me standing near him;
nor wonder if by long prayer
I could make my love creep
into his great horizon
like a current of air.
Back over me came flooding my love for Frances,
which when I pray,
an act of love for all poor desolate people
I fling and scatter away.
I disappeared from my thought, from my sensation;
but a fire of sweetness following after Frances
from the ashes of Clare.
I know the way to you, my
love, my dearest;
it is not going to far alone to think
and let my heart in long, long brooding sink;
the way that
seems the farthest is the nearest.
The way is very sure that seems a strange one;
on every living need to spend
and lavish all my loving everyday;
this knowledge and the art to change one.
Far from a sorrow to one exulting!
only all this grace be truly shown
for each one's sake, not proxy for my own--
Lest I both love and man should be insulting---
how from self the self itself to free?
--Love more than mine, flood through my love, and me.
Thanks to Saint Mathew, who
at mass meetings in Palestine,
we know whose side was spoken for
when comrade Jesus had the floor.
sore they toil and hard they lie,
among the great unwashed, dwell I.
The tramp, the convict, I am he;
him, cold-shoulder me."
By Dives' door, with thoughtful eye,
he did tomorrow prophesy.
"The kingdom's gate is
low and small;
the rich can scarce wedge through at all."
" A dangerous man," said Caiaphas,
" An ignorant demagogue,
Friend of low women, it is he
slanders the upright Pharisee."
For law and order, it was plain,
holy church, he must be slain.
The troops were there to awe the crowd
and "violence" was not allowed.
clumsy force with force to foil
his strong, clean hands he would not soil,
he saw their childishness quite plain
the lightnings of his pain.
Between the twilights of his end
he made his fellow-felon friend;
with swollen tongue
and blinding eyes
invited him to paradise.
Ah, let no local him refuse!
Comrade Jesus has paid his dues.
ever other be debarred,
Comrade Jesus has his red card.
INCARNATION (strongly flavored with Brookwood memories. A place she loved and worked in)
to me, as sometimes to my neighbors,
there comes a thing I call an incarnation.
Whoever has it tries to tell about it;
tries, in vain, to let the others see
how indescribably divine it was,
and how its beauty and delight unselfed him,
him bathe in streams of paradise.
There was an autumn afternoon last year
when everyone of our large family
Helen and myself had gone away
to see a football game; and we had meant
to finish in the kitchen very early
the afternoon out in the woods.
But every moment's housework that we did
disclosed the need of something else to do;
clock crept around to three then to four
and there were still the garbage pails to wash.
We went with our acidulated
out to the garbage pails. We stood and felt
something come streaming around us from outdoors.
was gentling and the air was sweet;
the birches trembled and the green grass shone.
In came a heavenly childhood to
We stood and felt that holy childishness.
It was intense, calm, magic, simple and strange;
in the core of homeliest use.
What happened---how it happened---if we knew!
NIGHT FALLEN SNOW
These nights of snow are loving to the air
as the still mother of
a grieving boy;
For so they fill the air with soft concern,
and draw the numbing hardness
and slowly weave a gradual sweetness in;
so spending, on its harsh and hungry gloom,
the last calm silver
penny of reckless love.
O perfect strength of soft, unstrenuous snow!
O mouth of beauty whispering in the night!
snow, that thrills against the wind,
that drifts on hidden grace and lights it up
with shreds of many rainbows blending
O wild and revolutionary snow,
that tosses utter newness round the world
and lays it on the nations in their
A POEM IN AN ENVELOPE
(She wrote this poem about a boy named, John Payne who wrote a poem about Bill Finckes after he died of cancer)
the evening of that day
at the end of May
when in early shadow
we crossed a meadow,
climbed to the reared-up
and sank in our grassy places
with quieting faces,--
Then into the open heart
a boy who was there
a poem began to start
and enkindle the air.
"This is a lonely grave,"
the poem began
lonely and happy grave
of a wonderful man.
One day some children and I
were passing by,
and we quarreled
along the way
about what we should play;
but when we came up quite near,
and found we were here,
at each other, and then
we were friends again."
Near midnight of the ninth day of October,
resting a long time on the verge of dream,
many times went over that vague stream
and came back into waking tranquil, sober.
I was in both the waking
and the dreaming;
serene to the last ounce of blood and bone,
but full of wonder at the things there known;
they were in no way foreign-seeming.
But as if daylight thought were far refracted,
and some changed form of consciouness
past common consciouness, and there could look
on substance of a fine light strength compacted.
no senses know, nor tools can touch;
far more enduring, shapelier stuff than such.
I saw it in the form of links, or bridges
firm on the air, extending soon from
the nearer trestles of a shadowed white,
the farther fading into scarce-limned ridges.
And what those
trestles were needed no showing;
they surely were the cause ways of man's sleep,
where seeking spirits move through
their own deep
by soundings and by spans of their own knowing.
So from that night my heart has comprehended
in the senses sleep, itself can reach
you, o my love! and far from act or speech
touch your life's hem, where that far
Such drawing of the deep-desired near
casts a long light, not shadow, oh my dear.
When human thought comes back from such immersion,
flight into a deep and meaning dream,
some human language on the lips will seem
left as a residue, a waking version.
what was there, past outposts of the senses,
that so expands the heart of man to know.
I clung to these words, but they
seemed to flow
and melt away through all my brain's defenses.
Something was present all the time, that viewed me
one most innocently gross and crude,
my elephantine language droll and rude;
and yet with happy calm that being
And I was unabashed, content and free;
the presence and the place not strange to me.
Hearing a bird chirp, on a late November
when I was all alone with thought,
opened a door of air, through which I caught
a sense of life my soul and flesh remember.
the green meadow starred with white flowers,
not the white violet or immortelle,
but such a flower as grows where symbols
In life not measured by the line or hours;
That poem which I read in sleep, relating
how welcome to those
English folk, their dead
came to their outdoor meal and broke their bread;
but most of all those flash like phrases,
Just on the inner edge of the first sleep---
these are as fragments of the bliss I keep.
Fleeting mementoes, lost, the larger number
memory; not to waking life,
beneath which, far beneath its tremor and strife,
move the calm powers and swiftnesses of
Do these sustain, with deepsea floods of being,
the topmost tossing of the busy mind,
the waves of sense
that run before the wind
till, sinking through themselves, and inward fleeing.
They leave the glittering height,
the fluttering motion,
precarious identity of wave,
and feel themselves expanding through the grave
toward the secure
vast magnitudes of ocean?
I only know the intimations throng
sometimes by day and sometimes all night long.
Play on my life, now, dearest, with your fingers,
now again I shoulder the old cares,
enter the house, go up and down the stairs
where the old joy, my darling, no more
Touch with bright hands our life of crowded striving;
bright beauty of your liberation, reach
us in the children that we teach
and light for them the loveliness of living.
What Dante knew when Beatrice found
when, though his mortal tumult blustered on,
deep into paradise they two had gone,
and all his earthly felt
the unearthly round him---
Let this sweet wonder, little understood,
be deep within our flesh, beyond our blood.
O other love, o fond and yearing kindness
turns closing toward more and more,
sweetness of home, beloved so long before,
but always then with strange and careless
I know you know by dreams and intimations;
by wordless insight running past my thought
of your form my own has sought
and found directly, by instant penetrations.
In deeps of sleep I know how one, how
the forms of loving form a single bliss,
but for one golden instant knowing this,
life has passed far
beyond what death makes lonely.
What sound, what light is like the awareness of
the oneness and infinity of love?