Winter Leafage

Edith Matilda Thomas

Each year I mark one lone outstanding tree,
Clad in its robings of the summer past,
Dry, wan, and shivering in the wintry blast.
It will not pay the season’s rightful fee,—
It will not set its frost-burnt leafage free;
But like some palsied miser all aghast,
Who hoards his sordid treasure to the last,
It sighs, it moans, it sings in eldritch glee.
A foolish tree, to dote on summers gone;
A faithless tree, that never feels how spring
Creeps up the world to make a leafy dawn,
And recompense for all despoilment bring!
Oh, let me not, heyday and youth withdrawn,
With failing hands to their vain semblance cling!

More by Edith Matilda Thomas

Winter Sleep

I know it must be winter (though I sleep)—  
I know it must be winter, for I dream  
I dip my bare feet in the running stream,  
And flowers are many, and the grass grows deep.  
  
I know I must be old (how age deceives!)
I know I must be old, for, all unseen,  
My heart grows young, as autumn fields grow green  
When late rains patter on the falling sheaves.  
  
I know I must be tired (and tired souls err)—  
I know I must be tired, for all my soul
To deeds of daring beats a glad, faint roll,  
As storms the riven pine to music stir.  
  
I know I must be dying (Death draws near)—  
I know I must be dying, for I crave  
Life—life, strong life, and think not of the grave,
And turf-bound silence, in the frosty year.

The Night Is Still

The night is still, the moon looks kind,
    The dew hangs jewels in the heath,
An ivy climbs across thy blind,
    And throws a light and misty wreath.

The dew hangs jewels in the heath,
    Buds bloom for which the bee has pined;
I haste along, I quicker breathe,
    The night is still, the moon looks kind.

Buds bloom for which the bee has pined,
    The primrose slips its jealous sheath,
As up the flower-watched path I wind
    And come thy window-ledge beneath.

The primrose slips its jealous sheath,—
    Then open wide that churlish blind,
And kiss me through the ivy wreath!
    The night is still, the moon looks kind.
 

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Winter Heavens

Sharp is the night, but stars with frost alive
Leap off the rim of earth across the dome.
It is a night to make the heavens our home
More than the nest whereto apace we strive.
Lengths down our road each fir-tree seems a hive,
In swarms outrushing from the golden comb.
They waken waves of thoughts that burst to foam:
The living throb in me, the dead revive.
Yon mantle clothes us: there, past mortal breath,
Life glistens on the river of the death.
It folds us, flesh and dust; and have we knelt,
Or never knelt, or eyed as kine the springs
Of radiance, the radiance enrings:
And this is the soul's haven to have felt.