Near the End of April

- 1878-1962

Near the end of April
    On the verge of May—
And o my heart, the woods were dusk
    At the close of day.

Half a word was spoken
    Out of half a dream,
And God looked in my soul and saw
    A dawn rise and gleam.

Near the end of April
    Twenty Mays have met,
And half a word and half a dream
    Remember and forget.

The House of Death

LO, a house untenanted
Stands beside the road of Time;
They who lived there once, have fled
To some other house and clime.

Towers pointing to the sky
With long shadows on the ground,
Never shade a passerby,
Never echo back a sound.

Scintilla

I kissed a kiss in youth
   Upon a dead man’s brow;
And that was long ago,—
   And I’m a grown man now,
 
It’s lain there in the dust,
   Thirty years and more;—
My lips that set a light
   At a dead man’s door.

Ironic: LL.D.

There are no hollows any more
Between the mountains; the prairie floor
Is like a curtain with the drape
Of the winds’ invisible shape;
And nowhere seen and nowhere heard
The sea’s quiet as a sleeping bird.

Now we’re traveling, what holds back
Arrival, in the very track
Where the urge put forth; so we stay
And move a thousand miles a day
Time’s a Fancy ringing bells
Whose meaning, charlatan history, tells!

Related Poems

Rondeau

When April's here and meadows wide 
Once more with spring's sweet growths are pied 
    I close each book, drop each pursuit, 
    And past the brook, no longer mute, 
I joyous roam the countryside.

Look, here the violets shy abide 
And there the mating robins hide—
    How keen my sense, how acute, 
      When April's here!

And list! down where the shimmering tide 
Hard by that farthest hill doth glide, 
    Rise faint strains from shepherd's flute, 
    Pan's pipes and Berecyntian lute. 
Each sight, each sound fresh joys provide 
      When April's here. 

Sonnet

I had no thought of violets of late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine. 
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed, 
I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.

May to April

Without your showers, I breed no flowers,
    Each field a barren waste appears;
If you don't weep, my blossoms sleep,
    They take such pleasures in your tears.

As your decay made room for May,
    So I must part with all that’s mine:
My balmy breeze, my blooming trees
    To torrid suns their sweets resign!

O’er April dead, my shades I spread:
    To her I owe my dress so gay—
Of daughters three, it falls on me
    To close our triumphs on one day:

Thus, to repose, all Nature goes;
    Month after month must find its doom:
Time on the wing, May ends the Spring,
    And Summer dances on her tomb!