- 1867-1944
to Maurice Maeterlinck

Weird phantoms rise in the dawn-winds blow,
   In the land of shadows the dawn-flowers grow;
      The night-worn moon yields her weary glow
         To the morn-rays that over the dream-waste flow.

Oh, to know what the dawn-wind murmurs
   In chapels of pines to the ashen moons;
What the forest-well whispers to dale and dell
   With her singular, reticent runes;
To know the plaint of each falling leaf
   As it whirls across the autumnal plain;
To know the dreams of the desolate shore
   As sails, like ghosts, pass oer the dawnlit main!
                     To know, oh, to know
   ​​​​​​​    Why all lifes strains have the same refrain
   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   As of rain,
   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​  Beating sadly against the window pane.

   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​We do not know and we can not know,
   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​And all that is left for us here below
   ​​​​​​​   (Since "songs and singers are out of date")
   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​And the muses have met with a similar fate)
   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   Is to flee to the land of shadows and dreams,
   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​  ​​​​​​​Where the dawn-flowers grow
   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   And the dawn-winds blow,
   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   As morn-rays over lifes dream-waste of flow
   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​   ​​​​​​​  To drown the moon in their ambient glow.


Oh, gray dawn-poet of Flanders,
   Though in this life we neer may meet,
      I'll linger where thy dream-maids wander
      ​​​​​​​   To strew these dawn-flowers at their feet.

Drifting Flowers of the Sea

Across the dunes, in the waning light,
The rising moon pours her amber rays,
Through the slumbrous air of the dim, brown night
The pungent smell of the seaweed strays—
     From vast and trackless spaces
       Where wind and water meet,
         White flowers, that rise from the sleepless deep,
             Come drifting to my feet.
     They flutter the shore in a drowsy tune,
       Unfurl their bloom to the lightlorn sky,
         Allow a caress to the rising moon,
             Then fall to slumber, and fade, and die.

White flowers, a-bloom on the vagrant deep,
Like dreams of love, rising out of sleep,
You are the songs, I dreamt but never sung,
Pale hopes my thoughts alone have known,
Vain words ne’er uttered, though on the tongue,
That winds to the sibilant seas have blown.
      In you, I see the everlasting drift of years
        That will endure all sorrows, smiles and tears;
          For when the bell of time will ring the doom
            To all the follies of the human race,
               You still will rise in fugitive bloom
                  And garland the shores of ruined space.

Why I Love Thee?

                 Why I love thee?
     Ask why the seawind wanders,
Why the shore is aflush with the tide,
Why the moon through heaven meanders;
Like seafaring ships that ride
On a sullen, motionless deep;
      Why the seabirds are fluttering the strand
       Where the waves sing themselves to sleep
         And starshine lives in the curves of the sand!



White petals afloat
     On a winding woodland stream—
What else is life’s dream!


Butterflies a-wing—
     Are you flowers returning
To your branch in Spring?


At new moon we met!
     Two weeks I’ve waited in vain.
To-night!—Don’t forget.


Oh, red maple leaves,
     There seem more of you these eves
Than ever grew on trees.