Before it was day
I climbed to meet the sun
half way
on the side of a mountain.
A high cool pond
poured down over rocks
to a slow dreamy valley
singing of new born clouds.
Facing the warm reflections
on the quiet sky
I bowed and kissed the dew
on the young grass.
But soon I felt guilty.
What had I done?
What is the dew
on young grass?

This poem is in the public domain, and originally appeared in Others for 1919; An Anthology of the New Verse (Nicholas L. Brown, 1920). 

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

From The Poetry of Robert Frost edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright © 1923, 1947, 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, copyright © 1942, 1951 by Robert Frost, copyright © 1970, 1975 by Lesley Frost Ballantine. Reprinted by permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
   That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
   A host of golden Daffodils;
Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
   And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
   Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
   Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:—
A Poet could not but be gay
   In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
   In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
   Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on October 1, 2017. This poem is in the public domain.

translated by John Pierrepont Rice

The way was black,
The night was mad with lightning; I bestrode
My wild young colt, upon a mountain road.
And, crunching onward, like a monster’s jaws,
His ringing hoof-beats their glad rhythm kept,
Breaking the glassy surface of the pools,
Where hidden waters slept.
A million buzzing insects in the air
On droning wing made sullen discord there.

But suddenly, afar, beyond the wood,
Beyond the dark pall of my brooding thought,
I saw lights cluster like a swarm of wasps
Among the branches caught.
“The inn!” I cried, and on his living flesh
My broncho felt the lash and neighed with eagerness.

And all this time the cool and quiet wood
Uttered no sound, as though it understood.
Until there came to me, upon the night,
A voice so clear, so clear, so ringing sweet—
A voice as of a woman singing, and her song
Dropped like soft music winging, at my feet,
And seemed a sigh that, with my spirit blending,
Lengthened and lengthened out, and had no ending.

And through the empty silence of the night,
And through the quiet of the hills, I heard
That music, and the sounds of the night wind bore me,
Like spirit voices from an unseen world
Came drifting o’er me.

I curbed my horse, to catch what she might say:
“At night they come, and they are gone by day—”
And then another voice, with low refrain,
And untold tenderness, took up the strain:
“Oh love is but an inn upon life’s way”;
“At night they come, and they are gone by day—”
Their voices mingled in that wistful lay.

Then I dismounted and stretched out my length
Beside a pool, and while my mind was bent
Upon that mystery within the wood,
My eyes grew heavy, and my strength was spent.
And so I slept there, huddled in my cloak.
And now, when by untrodden paths I go,
Through the dim forest, no repose I know
At any inn at nightfall, but apart
I sleep beneath the stars, for through my heart
Echoes the burden of that wistful lay:
“At night they come, and they are gone by day,
And love is but an inn upon life’s way.”


La canción del camino

a Alfredo Gómez Jayme.

   Era un camino negro.
La noche estaba loca de relámpagos. Yo iba
En mi potro salvaje
Por la montaña andina.
Los chasquidos alegres de los cascos,
Como masticaciones de monstruosas mandíbulas
Destrozaban los vidrios invisibles
De las charcas dormidas.
Tres millones de insectos
Formaban una como rabiosa inarmonía.

   Súbito, allá, a lo lejos,
Por entre aquella mole doliente y pensativa
De la selva,
Vi un puñado de luces como un tropel de avíspas.
¡La posada! El nervioso
Látigo persignó la carne viva
De mi caballo, que rasgó los aires
Con un largo relincho de alegría.

   Y como si la selva
Lo comprendiese todo, se quedó muda y fría.

   Y hasta mí llegó, entonces,
Una voz clara y fina
De mujer que cantaba. Cantaba. Era su canto
Una lenta… muy lenta… melodía:
Algo como un suspiro que se alarga
Y se alarga y se alarga… y no termina.

   Entre el hondo silencio de la noche
Y a través del reposo de la montaña, oíanse
Los acordes
De aquel canto sencillo de una música íntima,
Como si fuesen voces que llegaran
Desde la otra vida..

   Sofrené mi caballo;
Y me puse a escuchar lo que decía:

   —Todos llegan de noche,
Todos se van de día…

   Y formándole dúo,
Otra voz femenina
Completó así la endecha
Con ternura infinita:

   —El amor es tan sólo una posada
En mitad del camino de la Vida.

   Y las dos voces, luego,
a la vez repitieron con amargura rítmica:

   —Todos llegan de noche,
Todos se van de día…

   Entonces, yo bajé de mi caballo
Y me acosté en la orilla
De una charca.
  Y fijo en ese canto que venía
A través del misterio de la selva,
Fui cerrando los ojos al sueño y la fatiga.
Y me dormí, arrullado; y, desde entonces,
Cuando cruzo las selvas por rutas no sabidas,
Jamás busco reposo en las posadas;
Y duermo al aire libre mi sueño y mi fatiga,
Porque recuerdo siempre
Aquel canto sencillo de una música íntima:

   —Todos llegan de noche,
Todos se van de día.
El amor es tan sólo una posada
En mitad del camino de la Vida…

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 19, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.