Disputed Tread

Where she steps a whir,
Like dust about her feet,
Follows after her
Down the dustless street.

Something struggles there:
The forces that contend
Violently as to where
Her pathway is to end.

Issues, like great hands, grip
And wrestle for her tread;
One would strive to trip,
And one would go ahead.

Conflicting strengths in her 
Grapple to guide her feet,
Raising an unclean whir,
Like dust, upon the street.

Two Sewing

The Wind is sewing with needles of rain.
With shining needles of rain
It stitches into the thin
Cloth of earth. In,
In, in, in.
Oh, the wind has often sewed with me.
One, two, three.

Spring must have fine things
To wear like other springs.
Of silken green the grass must be
Embroidered. One and two and three.
Then every crocus must be made
So subtly as to seem afraid
Of lifting colour from the ground;
And after crocuses the round
Heads of tulips, and all the fair
Intricate garb that Spring will wear.
The wind must sew with needles of rain,
With shining needles of rain,
Stitching into the thin
Cloth of earth, in,
In, in, in,
For all the springs of futurity.
One, two, three.

Hours

I have known hours built like cities,
House on grey house, with streets between
That lead to straggling roads and trail off,
Forgotten in a field of green;

Hours made like mountains lifting
White crests out of the fog and rain,
And woven of forbidden music—
Hours eternal in their pain.

Life is a tapestry of hours
Forever mellowing in tone,
Where all things blend, even the longing
For hours I have never known.

Mending

Here are old things:
Fraying edges,
Ravelling threads;
And here are scraps of new goods,
Needles and thread,
An expectant thimble,
A pair of silver-toothed scissors.
Thimble on a finger,
New thread through an eye;
Needle, do not linger,
Hurry as you ply.
If you ever would be through
Hurry, scurry, fly!
Here are patches,
Felled edges,
Darned threads,
Strengthening old utility,
Pending the coming of the new.
Yes, I have been mending …
But also,
I have been enacting
A little travesty on life.

Related Poems

Paths

I shall tread, another year,
     Ways I walked with Grief,
Past the dry, ungarnered ear
     And the brittle leaf.

I shall stand, a year apart,
     Wondering, and shy,
Thinking, “Here she broke her heart;
     Here she pled to die.”

I shall hear the pheasants call,
     And the raucous geese;
Down these ways, another Fall,
     I shall walk with Peace.

But the pretty path I trod
     Hand-in-hand with Love,—
Underfoot, the nascent sod,
     Brave young boughs above,

And the stripes of ribbon grass
     By the curling way—
I shall never dare to pass
     To my dying day.

The Fruit Garden Path

          The path runs straight between the flowering rows,
           A moonlit path, hemmed in by beds of bloom,
           Where phlox and marigolds dispute for room
          With tall, red dahlias and the briar rose.
          ’T is reckless prodigality which throws
           Into the night these wafts of rich perfume
           Which sweep across the garden like a plume.
          Over the trees a single bright star glows.
           Dear garden of my childhood, here my years
          Have run away like little grains of sand;
           The moments of my life, its hopes and fears
          Have all found utterance here, where now I stand;
           My eyes ache with the weight of unshed tears,
          You are my home, do you not understand?

Up-Hill

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
    Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
    From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
    A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
    You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
    Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
    They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
    Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
    Yea, beds for all who come.