Mnemosyne

- 1874-1904
It's autumn in the country I remember

How warm a wind blew here about the ways!
And shadows on the hillside lay to slumber
During the long sun-sweetened summer-days.

It's cold abroad the country I remember.

The swallows veering skimmed the golden grain
At midday with a wing aslant and limber;
And yellow cattle browsed upon the plain

It's empty down the country I remember.

I had a sister lovely in my sight:
Her hair was dark, her eyes were very sombre;
We sang together in the woods at night.

It's lonely in the country I remember.

The babble of our children fills my ears,
And on our hearth I stare the perished ember
To flames that show all starry thro' my tears.

It's dark about the country I remember.

There are the mountains where I lived. The path
Is slushed with cattle-tracks and fallen timber,
The stumps are twisted by the tempests' wrath.

But that I knew these places are my own,
I'd ask how came such wretchedness to cumber
The earth, and I to people it alone.

It rains across the country I remember.

More by Trumbull Stickney

They Lived Enamoured of the Lovely Moon

They lived enamoured of the lovely moon, 
The dawn and twilight on their gentle lake. 
Then Passion marvellously born did shake 
Their breast and drave them into the mid-noon. 
Their lives did shrink to one desire, and soon 
They rose fire-eyed to follow in the wake 
Of one eternal thought,—when sudden brake 
Their hearts. They died, in miserable swoon. 
Of all their agony not a sound was heard. 
The glory of the Earth is more than they. 
She asks her lovely image of the day: 
A flower grows, a million boughs are green, 
And over moving ocean-waves the bird 
Chases his shadow and is no more seen.

On Some Shells Found Inland

These are my murmur-laden shells that keep 
A fresh voice tho' the years be very gray. 
The wave that washed their lips and tuned their lay 
Is gone, gone with the faded ocean sweep, 
The royal tide, gray ebb and sunken neap 
And purple midday,—gone! To this hot clay 
Must sing my shells, where yet the primal day, 
Its roar and rhythm and splendour will not sleep. 
What hand shall join them to their proper sea 
If all be gone? Shall they forever feel 
Glories undone and world that cannot be?— 
'Twere mercy to stamp out this agèd wrong, 
Dash them to earth and crunch them with the heel 
And make a dust of their seraphic song. 

Loneliness

These autumn gardens, russet, gray and brown, 
The sward with shrivelled foliage strown, 
The shrubs and trees 
By weary wings of sunshine overflown 
And timid silences,—

Since first you, darling, called my spirit yours, 
Seem happy, and the gladness pours 
From day to day, 
And yester-year across this year endures 
Unto next year away. 

Now in these places where I used to rove 
And give the dropping leaves my love 
And weep to them, 
They seem to fall divinely from above, 
Like to a diadem 

Closing in one with the disheartened flowers. 
High up the migrant birds in showers 
Shine in the sky, 
And all the movement of the natural hours 
Turns into melody.