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A poem for Beltaine

THE eager night and the impetuous winds,
The hints and whispers of a thousand lures,
And all the swift persuasion of the Spring,
Surged from the stars and stones, and swept me on...
The smell of honeysuckles, keen and clear,          
Startled and shook me, with the sudden thrill
Of some well-known but half-forgotten voice.
A slender stream became a naked sprite,
Flashed around curious bends, and winked at me
Beyond the turns, alert and mischievous.   
A saffron moon, dangling among the trees,
Seemed like a toy balloon caught in the boughs,
Flung there in sport by some too-mirthful breeze...
And as it hung there, vivid and unreal,
The whole world's lethargy was brushed away;   
The night kept tugging at my torpid mood
And tore it into shreds. A warm air blew
My wintry slothfulness beyond the stars;
And over all indifference there streamed
A myriad urges in one rushing wave...   
Touched with the lavish miracles of earth,
I felt the brave persistence of the grass;
The far desire of rivulets; the keen,
Unconquerable fervor of the thrush;
The endless labors of the patient worm;   
The lichen's strength; the prowess of the ant;
The constancy of flowers; the blind belief
Of ivy climbing slowly toward the sun;
The eternal struggles and eternal deaths—
And yet the groping faith of every root!   
Out of old graves arose the cry of life;
Out of the dying came the deathless call.
And, thrilling with a new sweet restlessness,
The thing that was my boyhood woke in me—
Dear, foolish fragments made me strong again;   
Valiant adventures, dreams of those to come,
And all the vague, heroic hopes of youth,
With fresh abandon, like a fearless laugh,
Leaped up to face the heaven's unconcern....
And then—veil upon veil was torn aside—   
Stars, like a host of merry girls and boys,
Danced gaily 'round me, plucking at my hand;
The night, scorning its stubborn mystery,
Leaned down and pressed new courage in my heart;
The hermit-thrush, throbbing with more Song,   
Sang with a happy challenge to the skies;
Love and the faces of a world of children
Swept like a conquering army through my blood.
And Beauty, rising out of all its forms,
Beauty, the passion of the universe,   
Flamed with its joy, a thing too great for tears,
And, like a wine, poured itself out for me
To drink of, to be warmed with, and to go
Refreshed and strengthened to the ceaseless fight;
To meet with confidence the cynic years;   
Battling in wars that never can be won,
Seeking the lost cause and the brave defeat.

Louis Untermeyer: 'Summons'



( 1 reflection — Reflect )
Nov. 15th, 2016 03:30 pm (UTC)
( 1 reflection — Reflect )