Rattlesnake Mountain Fable II

August sauntered down the mountain-side,
Dropping mottled, turbid wraiths of decay.
The air was like an old priest
Disrobing without embarrassment
Before the dark and candid gaze of night.
But these things brought no pause
To the saucily determined squirrel.
His eyes were hungrily upturned
To where the stars hung—icily clustered nuts
Dotting trees of solitude.
He saw the stars just over the horizon,
And they seemed to grow 
On trees that he could reach.
So he scampered on, from branch to branch,
Wondering why the fairy nut-trees
Ran away from him.
But, looking down, he spied
A softly wild cheeked mountain pool,
And there a handful of fairy nuts
Bit into the indigo cupping them.
With a squeal of weary happiness
The squirrel plunged into the mountain pool,
And as he drowned within its soundless heart
The fairy nuts were jigging over him,
Like the unheard stirring of a poem.

To One Dead

I walked upon a hill
And the wind, made solemnly drunk with your presence,
Reeled against me.
I stooped to question a flower,
And you floated between my fingers and the petals,
Tying them together.
I severed a leaf from its tree
And a water-drop in the green flagon
Cupped a hunted bit of your smile.
All things about me were steeped in your remembrance
And shivering as they tried to tell me of it.

Advice to a Blue-Bird

Who can make a delicate adventure
Of walking on the ground?
Who can make grass-blades
Arcades for pertly careless straying?
You alone, who skim against these leaves,
Turning all desire into light whips
Moulded by your deep blue wing-tips,
You who shrill your unconcern
Into the sternly antique sky.
You to whom all things
Hold an equal kiss of touch.

Mincing, wanton blue-bird,
Grimace at the hoofs of passing men.
You alone can lose yourself
Within a sky, and rob it of its blue!
 

Thoughts While Walking

A steel hush freezes the trees.
It is my mind stretched to stiff lace,
And draped on high wide thoughts.

My soul is a large sallow park
And people walk on it, as they do on the park before me.
They numb my levelness with dumb feet,
Yet I cannot even hate them.
 

Related Poems

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate 
    When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
    The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
    Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
    Had sought their household fires. 

The land's sharp features seemed to be
    The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
    The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
    Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
    Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
    The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
    Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
    In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
    Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
    Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
    Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
    His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
    And I was unaware.