French Leave

- 1889-1948

No servile little fear shall daunt my will
  This morning, I have courage steeled to say
I will be lazy, conqueringly still,
  I will not lose the hours in toil this day.

The roaring world without, careless of souls,
  Shall leave me to my placid dream of rest,
My four walls shield me from its shouting ghouls,
  And all its hates have fled my quiet breast.

And I will loll here resting, wide awake,
  Dead to the world of work, the world of love,
I laze contented just for dreaming’s sake,
  With not the slightest urge to think or move.

How tired unto death, how tired I was!
  Now for a day I put my burdens by,
And like a child amidst the meadow grass
  Under the southern sun, I languid lie,

And feel the bed about me kindly deep,
  My strength ooze gently from my hollow bones,
My worried brain drift aimlessly to sleep,
  Life soften to a song of tuneful tones.

The City's Love

For one brief golden moment rare like wine, 
The gracious city swept across the line; 
Oblivious of the color of my skin, 
Forgetting that I was an alien guest, 
She bent to me, my hostile heart to win, 
Caught me in passion to her pillowy breast; 
The great, proud city, seized with a strange love, 
Bowed down for one flame hour my pride to prove. 

Spring in New Hampshire

Too green the springing April grass, 
Too blue the silver-speckled sky, 
For me to linger here, alas, 
While happy winds go laughing by, 
Wasting the golden hours indoors, 
Washing windows and scrubbing floors. 

Too wonderful the April night, 
Too faintly sweet the first May flowers, 
The stars too gloriously bright, 
For me to spend the evening hours, 
When fields are fresh and streams are leaping, 
Wearied, exhausted, dully sleeping.

The Snow Fairy

I 

Throughout the afternoon I watched them there, 
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky, 
Whirling fantastic in the misty air, 
Contending fierce for space supremacy. 
And they flew down a mightier force at night, 
As though in heaven there was revolt and riot, 
And they, frail things had taken panic flight 
Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet. 
I went to bed and rose at early dawn 
To see them huddled together in a heap, 
Each merged into the other upon the lawn, 
Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep. 
The sun shone brightly on them half the day, 
By night they stealthily had stol'n away. 


II 

And suddenly my thoughts then turned to you 
Who came to me upon a winter's night, 
When snow-sprites round my attic window flew, 
Your hair disheveled, eyes aglow with light. 
My heart was like the weather when you came, 
The wanton winds were blowing loud and long; 
But you, with joy and passion all aflame, 
You danced and sang a lilting summer song. 
I made room for you in my little bed, 
Took covers from the closet fresh and warm, 
A downful pillow for your scented head, 
And lay down with you resting in my arm. 
You went with Dawn. You left me ere the day, 
The lonely actor of a dreamy play.

Related Poems

I Sit and Sew

I sit and sew—a useless task it seems,
My hands grown tired, my head weighed down with dreams—
The panoply of war, the martial tred of men,
Grim-faced, stern-eyed, gazing beyond the ken
Of lesser souls, whose eyes have not seen Death
Nor learned to hold their lives but as a breath—
But—I must sit and sew.

I sit and sew—my heart aches with desire—
That pageant terrible, that fiercely pouring fire
On wasted fields, and writhing grotesque things
Once men. My soul in pity flings
Appealing cries, yearning only to go
There in that holocaust of hell, those fields of woe—
But—I must sit and sew.

The little useless seam, the idle patch;
Why dream I here beneath my homely thatch,
When there they lie in sodden mud and rain,
Pitifully calling me, the quick ones and the slain?
You need, me, Christ! It is no roseate seam
That beckons me—this pretty futile seam,
It stifles me—God, must I sit and sew?

Departed Days

Yes, dear departed, cherished days,
   Could Memory’s hand restore
Your morning light, your evening rays
   From Time’s gray urn once more,—
Then might this restless heart be still,
   This straining eye might close,
And Hope her fainting pinions fold,
   While the fair phantoms rose.

But, like a child in ocean’s arms,
   We strive against the stream,
Each moment farther from the shore
   Where life’s young fountains gleam;—
Each moment fainter wave the fields,
   And wider rolls the sea;
The mist grows dark,—the sun goes down,—
Day breaks,—and where are we?