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   ​​​​​​​   (Since "songs and singers are out of date")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.

From Drifting Flowers of the Sea and Other Poems (1904) by Sadakichi Hartmann. This poem is in the public domain.