The Wanderer

I wander among the hills of alien lands
   Where Nature her prerogative resigns
To Man; where Comfort in her shack reclines
   And all the arts and sciences commands.
      But in my soul
      The eastern billows roll—
I hear the voices of my native strands.

My lingering eyes, a lonely hemlock fills
   With grace and splendor rising manifold;
Beneath her boughs the maples spread their gold
   And at her feet, the silver of rills.
      But in my heart
      A peasant void of art
Echoes the voices of my native hills.

On every height a studied art confines
   All human joy in social pulchritude;
The boxwood frowns where beckoning birches stood,
   And where the thrushes caroled Fashion dines.
      But through the spreading cheer
      The shepherd's reed I hear
Beneath my Lebanon terebinths and pines.

And though no voices here are heard of toil,
   Nor accents least of sorrow, nor the din
Of multitudes, nor even at the Inn
   The City is permitted aught to spoil,
      Yet in my breast,
       A shack at best,
Laments the mother of my native soil.

Even where the sumptuous solitudes deny
   A shelter to a bird or butterfly,
As in the humblest dwelling of the dale
   A gracious welcome's shown the passer-by;
       But evermore clear
       Allwhere I hear
The calling of my native hut and sky.

Land of my birth! a handful of thy sod
   Resuscitates the flower of my faith;
For whatsoever the seer of science sayth,
   Thou art the cradle and the tomb of God;
      And forever I behold
      A vision old
Of Beauty weeping where He once hath trod.

From A Chant of Mystics (James T. White & Co., 1921) by Ameen Rihani. This poem is in the public domain.