All Hallows Night
Two things I did on Hallows Night:— Made my house April-clear; Left open wide my door To the ghosts of the year. Then one came in. Across the room It stood up long and fair— The ghost that was myself— And gave me stare for stare.
No wind, no bird. The river flames like brass.
On either side, smitten as with a spell
Of silence, brood the fields. In the deep grass,
Edging the dusty roads, lie as they fell
Handfuls of shriveled leaves from tree and bush.
But ’long the orchard fence and at the gate,
Thrusting their saffron torches through the hush,
Wild lilies blaze, and bees hum soon and late.
Rust-colored the tall straggling briar, not one
Rose left. The spider sets its loom up there
Close to the roots, and spins out in the sun
The east is yellow as a daffodil.
Three steeples—three stark swarthy arms—are thrust
Up from the town. The gnarlèd poplars thrill
Down the long street in some keen salty gust—
Straight from the sea and all the sailing ships—
Turn white, black, white again, with noises sweet
And swift. Back to the night the last star slips.
High up the air is motionless, a sheet
Of light. The east grows yellower apace,
And trembles: then, once more, and suddenly,
The salt wind blows, and in that moment’s space
Old loveliness, set in the country wind,
Or down some vain town road the careless tread,
Like hush of candles lighted for the dead,
That look of yours, half seeing and half blind.
Still do you strain at door, but we come not,
The little maids, the lads, bone of your bone;
In some sad wise, you keep the dusk alone,
Old loveliness, a many a day forgot.
But no; behind each weather do you pass,
The garnered poignancies of all the springs:
At some girl’s belt in Lent the jonquils start;—
But, oh, their like in your old windy grass!