The Rainbow

- 1879-1960

Love is a rainbow that appears
When heaven’s sunshine lights earth’s tears.

All varied colors of the light
Within its beauteous arch unite:

There Passion’s glowing crimson hue
Burns near Truth’s rich and deathless blue;

And Jealousy’s green lights unfold
‘Mid Pleasure’s tints of flame and gold.

O dark life’s stormy sky would seem,
If love’s clear rainbow did not gleam!

More by Effie Waller Smith

Preparation

"I have no time for those things now," we say;
"But in the future just a little way,
No longer by this ceaseless toil oppressed,
I shall have leisure then for thought and rest.
When I the debts upon my land have paid,
Or on foundations firm my business laid,
I shall take time for discourse long and sweet
With those beloved who round my hearthstone meet;
I shall take time on mornings still and cool
To seek the freshness dim of wood and pool,
Where, calmed and hallowed by great Nature's peace,
My life from its hot cares shall find release;
I shall take time to think on destiny,
Of what I was and am and yet shall be,
Till in the hush my soul may nearer prove
To that great Soul in whom we live and move.
All this I shall do sometime but not now—
The press of business cares will not allow."
And thus our life glides on year after year;
The promised leisure never comes more near.
Perhaps the aim on which we placed our mind
Is high, and its attainment slow to find;
Or if we reach the mark that we have set,
We still would seek another, farther yet.
Thus all our youth, our strength, our time go past
Till death upon the threshold stands at last,
And back unto our Maker we must give
The life we spent preparing well to live.

At the Grave of the Forgotten

In a churchyard old and still, 
Where the breeze-touched branches thrill 
              To and fro, 
Giant oak trees blend their shade 
O'er a sunken grave-mound, made 
              Long ago. 

No stone, crumbling at its head, 
Bears the mossed name of the dead 
              Graven deep; 
But a myriad blossoms' grace 
Clothes with trembling light the place 
              Of his sleep. 

Was a young man in his strength 
Laid beneath this low mound's length, 
              Heeding naught? 
Did a maiden's parents wail 
As they saw her, pulseless, pale, 
              Hither brought? 

Was it else one full of days, 
Who had traveled darksome ways, 
              And was tired, 
Who looked forth unto the end, 
And saw Death come as a friend 
              Long desired?

Who it was that rests below 
Not earth's wisest now may know, 
              Or can tell; 
But these blossoms witness bear 
They who laid the sleeper there 
              Loved him well. 

In the dust that closed him o'er 
Planted they the garden store 
              Deemed most sweet, 
Till the fragrant gleam, outspread, 
Swept in beauty from his head 
              To his feet. 

Still, in early springtime's glow, 
Guelder-roses cast their snow 
              O'er his rest; 
Still sweet-williams breathe perfume 
Where the peonies' crimson bloom 
              Drapes his breast. 

Passing stranger, pity not 
Him who lies here, all forgot, 
              'Neath this earth; 
Some one loved him—more can fall 
To no mortal. Love is all 
              Life is worth.

Related Poems

A Love

Blond fireflies amid the summer hedges,
how splendid your sunray
darting through the darkness! You’ve reminded me
of something that has never vanished
from my childhood: infinite
hope through the fields. I see myself
as a child again, feel the unknown 
rhythm of times past: 
I a dream I am lying on a girl
stuck in my heart:
a musical bas-relief
for vast infinity: I compare her
to the moon, to the stars,
to the splendorous night
and everything attaches me to that love
I lose myself in:
of this I actually know nothing
except a confusing clamor.


Un amore

Lucciole bionde per le siepi d’estate,
com’è splendido il vostro raggio
che per le tenebra appare! Voi mi ricordate
qualcosa che non si annulla
della mia fanciullezza: infinita
speranza pei prati. Mi rivedo
fanciullo, sento l’ignota
cadenza di tempi andati:
sono in sogno sopra una fanciulla 
che mi s’è fitta in cuore:
un bassorilievo musicale
per estese infinità: la paragono
alla luna, alle stelle,
allo splendore della notte
e tutto mi affiso in quell’amore
e mi vi disperdo:
di qui non so nulla

Silver Filigree

The icicles wreathing
   On trees in festoon
Swing, swayed to our breathing:
   They’re made of the moon.

She’s a pale, waxen taper;
   And these seem to drip
Transparent as paper
   From the flame of her tip.

Molten, smoking a little,
   Into crystal they pass;
Falling, freezing, to brittle
   And delicate glass.

Each a sharp-pointed flower,
   Each a brief stalactite
Which hangs for an hour
   In the blue cave of night.

Amores (VII)

if i believe 
in death be sure 
of this 
it is 

because you have loved me, 
moon and sunset 
stars and flowers 
gold crescendo and silver muting 

of seatides 
i trusted not, 
                        one night 
when in my fingers 

drooped your shining body 
when my heart 
sang between your perfect 
breasts 

darkness and beauty of stars 
was on my mouth petals danced 
against my eyes 
and down 

the singing reaches of 
my soul 
spoke 
the green-

greeting pale-
departing irrevocable 
sea 
i knew thee death. 

                                  and when 
i have offered up each fragrant 
night,when all my days 
shall have before a certain 

face become 
white 
perfume 
only, 

         from the ashes 
then 
thou wilt rise and thou 
wilt come to her and brush 

the mischief from her eyes and fold 
her 
mouth the new 
flower with 

thy unimaginable 
wings,where dwells the breath 
of all persisting stars