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Title: Wayside Gleams

Date of first publication: 1925

Author: Laura Goodman Salverson (1890-1970)

Date first posted: Sep. 6, 2022

Date last updated: Sep. 6, 2022

Faded Page eBook #20220917

This eBook was produced by: Al Haines, Cindy Beyer & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net

This file was produced from images generously made available by Internet Archive/Lending Library.

Wayside  Gleams




Laura Goodman Salverson

Author of “The Viking Heart”





McClelland & Stewart

Publishers   -      -   Toronto

Copyright, Canada, 1925

by McClelland & Stewart, Limited, Toronto





Printed in Canada

These simple verses,

Like the humble flowers

That spring in gladness

From the Prairie’s breast,

    I dedicate—

In love and honest fervor,

To mine own land,

The Open-Hearted West.

            —L. G. S.

Creation of the Birds9
To a Wild Canary10
Somewhere in Fields of France11
Merry Spring12
For Canada13
Asphodel Fields15
The Comforter16
Hymn of Night17
The Meadow18
And This My Love20
Arboreal Homily22
The Disinherited Conqueror24
Would the Night were Fleeting26
Calla Lily28
Cui Bono?29
Little Pilgrims of the Deep30
Where Madonna Lilies Grow31
On Demeter’s Breast32
Love’s Way33
In the Garden of My Heart35
To the Canadian Nature Poet, Bliss Carman37
Pastoral Romance38
In the Glade39
In the Mist41
Morning Call43
In a Grove44
On Wishes48
The Inner Light51
Halls of Dreams52
Voices of the Sea54
Sea Song55
Baby’s Dream56
Love’s Path58
To One Departed59
In Loving Memory of Haldora Olson60
If a Maid be Fair61
Baby’s Eyes62
Childhood’s Friend63
The Courtship of the Sun65
Windows of Mystery67
We Thank Thee Lord68
Chant of the Deep69
Consider the Sun70
To the Evening Star71
Ad Finem72
Stray Thoughts75
This is the Age of Reason76
The Dying Norseman79
The Question80
Ode Dolorous81
Heart’s Ease82
The Gift85
The Gift Acceptable87
Brothers All88
Slumber Song90
My Plea91
Sleep, O Shining Love92
April Rain93
Whither and Away?94
Song of Seasons95
Where Wind the Roads of Arcady?96
Little One and Dearest97

Creation of the Birds

WHEN brooding o’er the earth, newly created—

Where in her pristine splendor fair she lay,

A beryl beauteous, ’mid encircling waters—

The Lord grew lonely through the dragging day.


So, from the sun He took a spark of glory,

And from the clouds their lovely summer hue,

And from the winds the breath of dreaming ages,

And from the fern the ever sparkling dew—


With all these things, in love and exultation,

The little birds He formed with deep delight,

And cast them forth from out His holy bosom,

To make Him glad with song from morn till night.

To a Wild Canary

LITTLE flash of yellow,

Swinging on a bough,

With your voice so mellow,

    Oft I wonder how

Such a wealth of music,

From so small a frame,

Pours and swells and rises.

Trills and soars again.


Little flash of yellow,

Swinging on a bough,

With your voice so mellow—

    This I fancy now—

In your tiny bosom,

Even while you nod,

Burns the love eternal,

Of a joyous God.

Somewhere in Fields of France

SOMEWHERE alone, in fields of France,

    In hallowed ground they lie;

Somewhere the Hovering Shadow vast,

O’er them his quickening quiet cast,

    Somewhere in fields of France.


Somewhere they lie in fields of France,

    Where fondly smiles the sun;

Somewhere in reverence were they laid,

In graves that men or angels made,

    Somewhere in fields of France.


Somewhere they sleep in fields of France,

    The servants of the cross;

Somewhere the night-wind stirs the grass

On lowly mounds where God will pass,

    Somewhere in fields of France.


Somewhere at rest in fields of France,

    Perchance where thrushes sing;

Somewhere the lilies lean above

The blood-stained shrine of holy love,

    Somewhere in fields of France.

Merry Spring

O, THE golden-sandaled spring

Now comes tripping up the vale,

        Bringing gladness!

        Bringing gladness!

In her step the grasses quiver,

With delight the breezes shiver;

        What a madness!

        What a madness!


To the heavens tresses tossing,

To the patient earth her smile,

        Fragrance making!

        Fragrance making!

In her breath the buds are rocking,

To her arms the birds are flocking,

        Music waking!

        Music waking!


By the rivers lying lowly,

Over ribboned beds she bows;

        Fetters break!

        Fetters break!

Calling to the drowsy summer,

Starry-eyed with recent slumber,

        Love, Awake!

        Love, Awake!

For Canada

GRANT us, O Lord, within the coming year,

Some vision of our noble destiny . . .


*        *        *        *


Give unto us the strength to face anew

Adversity and sorrows . . . or again

Good fortune, with that valiant humbleness

Which ever marks a depth of inward grace;

Grant us, we pray, sincere, courageous hearts,

Wide sympathies, with minds that seek to see

In giving, joy, and pride in honest toil,

In beauty, truth, and good in all mankind;

For every race, for every land, we pray;

Lift them, O God, from out enthralling thought

And prejudice, that they, discerning, find

Thy presence manifest on land and sea.

But last, O Lord, for this our Canada

We crave Thy blessing and eternal aid;

Keep her beneath Thy everlasting hand

And guide her in the path she ought to go.

Keep her fair soul unflinching, aye, and true,

That she, among the nations, may arise,

Made strong with greatness from the fount within,

Imbued with love that knows not any death.

This gracious land, so young, so little tried,

O’er-shadow her with Thy own righteousness,

That she may stand a New Jerusalem

Where man, by giving much, may gather more;

Where Thy sane speech and creed of kindliness

At last take root to flourish far and wide,

Till she thereon in very truth become

Thy citadel of justice on the earth.


*        *        *        *


Grant us, O Lord, within the coming year,

The vision of our final destiny—

A nation worthy of her ancient dead—

A fabric perfected from deathless dreams.

Asphodel Fields

GRAY lie the fields and pale are the flowers,

Fragile and wraith-like, and studded in dew;

Steel-gray the river encircling the bowers,

Bearing the barges, deep purple in hue.


As clouds after sunset, deep tinted and solemn,

They glide o’er the river so gray and so chill;

Through fields of Remembrance where Life’s tear has fallen,

’Mid asphodel flowers so pale and so still.


Thus Hope, the great pilot, and Love, the good captain,

With patience eternal press on through the gloom;

Somewhere living waters from God’s gleaming fountain,

Refresh the glad hills where the white lilies bloom.

The Comforter

O WIND, that ridest in rage the wave,

Yet croons so softly o’er the grave,

That rocks the eagle in his nest,

As fondly as a mother’s breast

        Her solace gives.


Thy breath has cooled the prophet’s brow

In far-off tribal times, and now

Thy fairy footfall charms mine ear,

As, trailing thee, again I hear

        The brooding past.


Those ages gone abide in thee,

Their hopes and tears and mystery;

What follies and what sins combine

To swell that mighty voice of thine,

        Thou ageless one!


And once, amid the gleaming hills

Beside the Galilean rills,

Thine oracle was sought by Him,

Who, mid the rabble and its din,

        Heard God in thee.


Thus, ev’n as then, thy voice hath power

Abundantly to bless this hour;

We gather what another gave,

For God decreed that Thought should brave

        Time and Eternity.

Hymn of Night

OH, follower of the feverish day,

    Thou calm, majestic night!

Thy sable-sandaled feet may pass

Among the trees, and o’er the grass,

    And all will welcome Thee.


Thou handmaid of the Hidden Force,

    Who loves, and lendeth love;

In thy deep heart our hopes lie blest.

Beneath thy wings the world’s at rest;

    Calm Night, we welcome thee!


Upon thy brow the galaxy

    In grandeur gleams anew;

And on thy breast the crescent’s beam

Appears of thine own heart a gleam;

    Fair Night, we welcome thee!


Pass o’er the deep, O tranquil Night!

    And spread thy virtues there;

Then, confident, the vessels ride

Upon the undulating tide,

    And all will welcome thee.


Thou comforter of age and ill,

    Of pain and grim despair;

In thy embrace lies strength anew,

Upon thy lips our life’s own dew,

    Oh, Night, we welcome thee!

The Meadow

HOW lovely lies the meadow

Now open to my view,

With pulsing emerald bosom,

All glistening in dew;

With here a flaming lily,

And there a daisy, too,

And, yonder, shrubs of willow,

That wave against the blue.


How lovely rolls the meadow

In undulations green,

To meet the archèd heavens

O’erspread in amber sheen;

How lovely ’neath the sunrise

Her bosom swells and heaves

With swaying prairie grasses,

And dancing summer leaves.


A SOUL in slumber

And dreams that creep;

A heart awakened

And eyes that weep—

And the morning of life is past.


A silver pool,

A sailing swan,

A shaft of light

And the day is gone—

And the long, lone night appears.


A darkened stream,

A sparkling star,

A sighing wind

And a call afar—

And death, sweet death, draws near.

And This My Love....

DEEP as the sea

And higher than the hills

Which clap their hands

Beneath an ambered sky,

When in the hush

Of his enchanted hour,

Tinting the clouds

The god of light goes by.


Soft as the wind

Which to the sighing rose

Breathes secrets sweet

Of distant bowers bright;

Strong as the gale

That bears the lonely barge

O’er darkling seas

Toward the harbor light.


Clean as the waters

Of sequestered pools

That dream content

Upon the mountain’s breast;

Calm as the chant

Of slowly gliding streams

Through green arcades

Which bid the wayworn rest.


Even as these—

So deep, unutterable,

Given of God

To atoms such as me—

Hold I some part

Reflected graciously

In this—the love

I give, dear one, to thee.

Arboreal Homily

WITHIN the quiet of this calm old wood,

Where faintly falls the river’s sobbing sound,

Where, like the filigree of some quaint shrine,

The shades of sun-kissed leaves play on the sward—


      There broods a spirit

      Benignant and wise,

      Deep-souled, great-hearted,

      But with grief-stained eyes.


There in the shadow of the hawthorn copse,

Where flits the oriole and the tanager,

How lightly youth has rested, ere she sped

With shout and laughter on her new-found path.


      Where ruby lips were pressed,

      Do roses bloom?

      And daisies—

      Where the light feet danced at noon?


Where gleams the river ’twixt her emerald banks,

And onward flows impatient of the sea.

Has age not calmed her over-burdened heart,

And hailed the music of the passing throng?


      Does love endure,

      Though love’s own gift be dead?

      In clouds the gold

      Of rays that long since fled?


Bathed in the silver of the rising moon,

Fond Mem’ry’s shrine still seems the silent wood;

And oak and aspen, Druids, that compel

A tithe of tears for every season given.


      There broods a spirit

      With a love-lit face,

      Among the shadows

      Of each lonely place.

The Disinherited Conqueror

(Suggested by the cartoon in Labor.)

I STAND alone with empty toil-scarred hands,

Upon the mountain of my life’s endeavor;

Below me lie the paths of pleasant wealth,

That I, the conqueror, realizèd never.


With patient care the stubborn soil I’ve nursed,

That stores of food the Nation might possess;

Yet of this bounty, when it was dispersed,

No share was mine to ease mine own distress.


My strength has wrested from the bowels of earth,

Her wealth of minerals to swell her dower;

And yet I shivered by my lonely hearth—

My portion penury—the slave of power.


My tired hands have reared the palace wall,

My ceaseless labors paved the Nation’s ways;

In times of war responded to her call,

And toiled, in peace, to build for better days.


Because of me, the earth and sea and air,

Have bent their power to the yoke of man;

And yet I stand alone in my despair—

By wealth despised since first the world began.


My weary back has borne the cross of toil,

That others might to peace and plenty fly;

To me no crowns, no share of kingly spoil—

A Conqueror disowned, I live and die.


WHEN in the burning ardor of the day,

The virgin freshness of the morn is lost,

While at our feet the roses droop and sigh,

And, flying low, the bees go droning by,

      On pillage bent;

Then, in our hearts, there dawns a nameless fear,

As when asleep we toss in troubled dreams,

Yet waking, know not why the pain, nor what

      The vision meant.


Then, as we sink beside the thorny road,

Nor care again the mystic goal to view,

The balmy Twilight furls her banners high,

And fleet the Winds of Night go trooping by

      With fife and lay;

While on the weary ear the songs of Night

Fall sweet and softly, as the crystal dew

That crowns the roses; and the eyes grow bright

      With dreams of day.

Would the Night Were Fleeting

SPRING has decked the earth with flowers,

  Angry winds are hushed;

Birds are nesting in the bowers,

  Dreaming day is flushed.

Tree and shrub are gayly flinging

  Heavenward their leaves,

Through the meadow lightly springing

  Silvered water weaves.


    Star-eyed babes upon the breast

      Smile content;

    Mad with love and mad with laughter.

      Morn is spent.


Faded autumn, faint and weary,

  Lingers in the dell;

Feathered folk that sang so cheery,

  Hasten south to dwell;

One by one the leaves are falling,

  Crying doleful song;

Through the vale, a phantom calling,

  Speeds the brook along.


    Agèd seers with brows all wrinkled,

      Sigh in vain—

    Would the night were soon a-fleeting—

      Day again.


DAINTY little butterfly,

With your wings so airy,

Floating o’er the fragrant field,

Like a winsome fairy.


Little butterfly, away!

Sport amid the flowers,

Like a dream of yesterday,

Sifting golden hours.


Dainty little friend, away!

Linger mid the roses;

In some velvet bosom lie,

When the long day closes.

Calla Lily

WHAT dream’st thou of, O spirit frail and fair?

  What magic grace is borne upon the air

      To light thy face?


Wrapt close within thy silken raiment sweet,

  Thy stamen’s sceptres seem full meet

      For queen or king.


Dost dream, perchance, of some far distant sun,

  Or silver star, when restless day is done,

      And zephyrs rise?


Or dost thou dream, O “Lily of the Nile,”,

  Of purple waters under skies that smile

      Thine image on?


Or, in thine heart dost guard and fast enfold

  Diviner things than mortals know . . . the gold

      Of patient holiness?

Cui Bono?

DAWN, and the sun’s first beam

  Glides o’er the lea;

Out from the azure deep

  Love comes to me.


Noon, and the torrid rays

  Beat on the sands;

Withered, love’s flowers fall

  Out of our hands.


Dusk, and the setting sun

  Glows in adieu;

Night, and the shadows fall

  O’er love and you.

Little Pilgrims of the Deep

VOYAGER with pearly crest,

Speeding to thy island nest,

Where the reeds and rushes sleep,

Close beside the rocking deep.


High betwixt the sea and sky,

Screaming loud exultant cry;

Safer there than near the shore,

Haunts of men thou fearest more.


Lone, thou dreamest mid the blue,

God and Time are one with you;

Man may wreck thy body’s grace,

But thy soul soars on in space.

Where Madonna Lilies Grow

IN the valley, in the valley

  Where Madonna lilies grow;

And the breezes, warm and gentle,

  Fair as memory, glide and go;

Half revealing, half concealing,

  Where the fragrant flowers blow.


In the valley, in the valley

  Lies a bower that I know;

Wherein Love, with heart enraptured,

  Chants a choral sweet and low;

Mother lowly, pure and holy,

  ’Mid Madonna lilies glow.

On Demeter’s Breast

OH, when I come to rest

Upon Demeter’s breast,

Would it were by the sea,

Where waves might croon for me;

And young gulls, wheeling fast,

Capricious shadows cast.


And let the crickets pass—

All singing ’mid the grass.


Or, let my bed be made

’Neath verdant cypress shade;

Where, in pale Luna’s ray,

A plaintive, tender lay,

The nightingales refrain,

May sound for me again.


Where on Demeter’s breast

I dream and smile, at rest.

Love’s Way

LOVE came one day

  On wingèd feet,

Alas! a being bright,

  And laid his hand

Upon my heart,

  Within my eyes a light;

And all the world

    Took on anew

The hues of dawn,

  And crystal dew.


Love went one day

  On silent wing,

Alas! a heart should trust,

  Should ever hope

In Love’s light way,

  To find a measure just;

For now, in vain

    The morning-light

Doth shed his ray

  To break the night.


BESIDE the stream we wandered,

  Joy led our feet;

Upon our love we pondered—

  No love more sweet;

The gentle night lay dreaming

  Mid starry fields a-gleaming,

While Luna glory squandered

    In glad display.


  The zephyrs breathed a blessing,

Nor aught there seemed distressing

    In life—impatient pressing

      To live its day.


To-night the moon is hidden

  In shroud so cold,

The thrush’s anthem chidden—

  Her love grown old;

A sad, lone vigil keeping,

  The night in grief lies weeping,

While winds, all sorrow laden.

    Complaining go.


  Upon Thy breast a flower

That blushed in Love’s warm bower,

    Bequeathed to Death, in dower,

      Who laid thee low.

In the Garden of My Heart

(A Song)

      HIGH ’mid blue hills

      A little garden lies,

      Bathed in strange dews,

      Where never daylight dies;

      And song-birds charm

      Away all strife and care,

      Where Joy and Grief

      Have knelt in common prayer.


Cho:  High ’mid the hills

      Where Mem’ry holds her sway,

      Where you and I again may live our day,

      May laugh and sing,

      And list the thrush’s call,

      In Mem’ry’s garden where no shadows fall.


      In my own heart

      This little garden lies,

      The dews are tears

      That trembled in your eyes;

      The songs I hear

      Are only love’s refrain,

      Where you, belov’d,

      Forever live the same.


FOR every soul there is a guiding star,

  For every heart a fount of tenderness;

And thou art mine, O mother; near or far

  Thy counsels rise to fortify and bless.


For every soul who ever served just cause,

  Was led by Love’s firm hand upon the way;

But men grow dull, and mad with world applause,

  Heedless of pain which ushered in their day.


And it is well a sacrifice supreme

  Lives but with God, who fully counts the cost;

In our mean souls we capture faint the gleam—

  To Him who measures life no ray is lost.


In loving thee, my mother, love I God;

  From thy deep bosom drew I strength and life.

And from thy counsel formed my Aaron’s Rod,

  Which leads me still thro’ fields of weary strife.

To the Canadian Nature Poet,
Bliss Carman

(On the occasion of his visit to Regina.)

THE holy hush of star-crowned night,

  The sun upon the sea,

The drowsy murmur mid the pines,

  The tide-bound, lone levee—


The pearly mists of dawning day,

  The bird upon the wing,

The laughter of the leaping brook

  The glades where violets spring—


The Master’s love in these to trace,

  With voice so sweet, so clear,

Proclaims the priest at Beauty’s shrine,

  Where gleams of God appear.


Though glories pass and laurels fade,

  Still may the bard rejoice;

God walks a comrade through the night

  With him that heard His voice.

Pastoral Romance

        WINDING down the valley

          Flows the brook;

        There I love to dally

        With a book;

And Benjamin, the haughty thing,

Though so blind, must hear me sing.


        Beyond the brook he loiters

          With his sheep;

        Here I sit so coyly,

          But I peep

At the silly creature, standing there

Scowling like an ogre, grim old bear.


        Mercy! what’s this splashing

          That I hear?

        Gracious! he is crossing,

          Coming here!

Foolish heart, don’t flutter, he must never know,

That with all this shyness, I had planned just so.

In the Glade

    THE fairest maid

    I met in the glade,

To gaze on her was madness;

    Demurely gay

    She went her way,

And with her went all gladness;

Ah me, the world of sadness!

The bitter world of sadness!


    Another day,

    Another way,

No more of maids the morrow,

    But I shall sigh

    Till the wells run dry,

That feed this tender sorrow;

Alas, for joy to borrow!

For love and joy to borrow!


    But stay, my friend,

    ’Tis not the end,

More wit the maiden had;

    She sped, though late,

    To the old toll-gate,

And thither, too, the lad;

O, sweet, so coy, so glad!

So wise, this maid and lad!


LIFT up your eyes, O Canada!

To that exalted place,

The God-lit hills of memory,

Where dwells the vanished race.


Those stalwart sons, O Canada!

That bravely fought and fell,

And with their bodies paved the way

Where Truth and Honor dwell.


Those daughters too, O Canada!

With calm courageous eyes,

That lead the little stumbling feet

To paths where wisdom lies.


They beckon still, O Canada!

To paths that span the blue,

With patient and eternal faith

In Justice and in You.

In the Mist

I SAW a mansion gleaming,

Gleaming in the night;

Melodious echoes falling,

Sobbing, rising, calling,

Calling all the night.


Maids adorned as flowers,

Fragile blossoms bright,

Round about were stealing,

Preening, whirling, wheeling,

Wheeling through the night.


Men as moths that flutter,

Near the candle light;

Or as hunters stalking,

Silent, ruthless, mocking,

Mocking all the night.


I saw two spirits leaving,

Swift on wings of might,

Faith and Love appearing

Saddened, shocked and grieving,

Fleeing through the night.


POOR semblances, grotesque and curious

Of things, perhaps more stable than are they;

A reflex of activities which make

In one, true life, but of the other, shade—

Yet, without one the other were not made.


Poor shadows, ye have ever seemèd so

Strangely imbued with will and eagerness;

Ye walk, ye run, and blithely leap ahead

With true intent, nor pantomime alone,

Some quest, perhaps, of substance which had flown.


As runes upon a wall ye are to me,

Concealing more, me thinks, than ye reveal;

Yet this I read: Ye were not here at all

Were not Reality between ye and the light,

Frail, fleeing symbols, fading into night.


Poor shadows of the Perishable Dust,

Ye less than phantoms, are of comfort still;

For e’en as ye, mayhap my blinded self

Of mine own soul is but the feeble shade—

The shapen clay whence life alone is made.

Morning Call

WHEN the thrush’s song is heard,

Ere the rose her dew hath shed,

While the silver-wingèd clouds

Veil the glory of the sun,

Lovely nymphs, with lithesome grace,

Dance upon the verdant hill.


Whirling free, with flying hair,

Singing gayly everywhere.


Calling, “Hearts, awake and sing,

To the winds repentance fling!


To the winds your gloom and grief,

Spring and happiness are brief!”


Calling, “Love, thy dreams forsake

Ere the golden bawble break!


Life awaits thee, calling, crying,

Hasten, Love, the hours are flying!”

In a Grove

I LAY alone within a quiet grove,

The silence of the place was sweet and sad,

Yet on the air were borne the subtle sounds

Which speak of life; here at my feet

A creature timid-eyed, gazed in dismay

At such a giant shape, while hugging close

Unto his breast an acorn; I did marvel

At so bold a spirit; yet dared say naught

For that as great a fear was mine, full knowing

I must lose that fairest sight if I but move.

And here were songsters, trained in God’s own choir,

That sung His praises in the balmy air;

While round my head the butterflies would flutter,

Then wing their way to gladden other haunts.

I thought, How fair is life! How fair and fleeting!

A moth with tender wings about a flame!

A moment’s joy, a dream of light and beauty,

Then, the great darkness, unexplained of men.

Thus every beauty trails a thought of sadness,

And every grief its hope of gladness, too.

While musing thus, I glanced, and in the distance

Beheld where, on the ground in dread decay,

Lay a huge form that once had reared to heaven,

With calm, majestic pride, each bud and leaf;

Whose branches welcomed birds, and cast with gladness

A gracious shade for good of weary man;

Yet o’er it now grew creepers and soft mosses,

And from the hollow trunk a serpent came

And glided off, like some lone evil thought.

But over all a little bush was springing

That loudly cried a message of good cheer—

The evergreen, in its young tender beauty

Made merry over death and dark decay.

Thus I perceived the miracle eternal,

The common law, and final fate of all;

Upon the grave the roses blush in beauty,

And over both the rays of heaven fall.


WISDOM were folly had it no dream

Of aspects greater than objects seem,

    Devoid of grace and inward fire

    To purge its impulse and desire;

Wisdom, then, no more would be

Wisdom, but its travesty.


Wisdom were folly had it no light

That moved ahead, sublime and bright;

    Bereft of vision, clean and true,

    To guide its barque deep waters through.

Wisdom were not wisdom when

Wisdom’s cause retarded men.


THE wind has taken living breath

To soar above the lea;

Or nod upon a budding branch

Beside the crystal sea.

The wind has taken feathered flesh

To soar and sing in glee.


The wind has taken all my dreams,

Those dreams beyond compare;

And blown them o’er the barren fields

In flowers sweet and fair.

The wind has garnered every voice

That soothèd weary care.


The wind has taken love as well

And borne it off on high;

And there it gilds the tufted cloud

That sails the evening sky.

The wind has wafted golden love

O’er clouds that hasten by.


The wind has even taken hope

And cast it on the sea;

And there adrift upon the wave,

Bejeweled, it beckons me.

The wind has left the gift of hope

In gleams upon the sea.

On Wishes

DOES the maple ever murmur

  To the violet at his feet,

“Would that I were fair and fragrant,

  Fair as thou art, gracious, sweet?”


And the violet, shy, a-tremble,

  Dewy-eyed return a sigh—

“Oh, for broad and stately branches

  Proudly furled unto the sky?”


Does the brook long for the mountain,

  And the mountain for the deeps?

And does each grow more in beauty,

  Through the dream the other keeps?


RUSHING, brook that wakes the gorges—

          Charms the uplands,

          Cheers the lea,

Buoyant, singing songs of gladness,

As in haste thou seek’st the sea—


Would, O brook! that so my madness

          Left my fancy

          Firm and free!

That like thee, with joyful spirit,

I would meet what fates decree.


IF I might stand upon the mountain top,

  And see the valley lying green below,

Nor miss the song of thrush and lilting brook,

  Nor gold of daisy where the rushes blow—


Could I so stand at setting of the sun,

  And view the rivers winding to the sea,

Nor miss the curfew, nor the beacon light,

  Nor browsing cattle on the verdant lee—


Could I remain above the swooping cloud,

  Yet hail the rainbow in a rift of blue,

Nor miss the patter of the silver rain

  On cottage roofs, that once so well I knew—


If I might stand upon the mountain top,

  And hear God’s footfall as He hastens past,

Nor in the starlight miss the warmth of earth,

  Nor earthly voices where my lot was cast—


Could I so dwell, yet were I not content

  That this were heaven, more than that below

Where Grief and Gladness, clasping hand again,

  Stand crowned in beauty ’mid the afterglow.

The Inner Light

THERE is a light within my soul,

That speeds me to an unknown goal;

I know not why, I know not where,

But gladly go, nor fret nor care.


The night is dark, the night is long,

But love is there and hope is strong!


There is a song as of the sea,

That calls and cries aloud to me;

So sweet the sound my eyes are wet—

More I would hear, yet more forget.


So deep the strains that throb afar—

Celestial fair, each distant star!

Hall of Dreams

THERE is a spacious mansion—Hall of Dreams;

It rests upon a base of ivory,

The walls are hung in clouds of gilded sheen;

And over all a purple canopy.


And here are blossoms wondrous fair and sweet;

And here are birds that sing in glad refrain;

And here a couch, ’neath leafy palm retreat,

Where weary memory may the while remain.


Here shimmer too, a shining spring upon

Bejeweled tears that fell in holy grief,

And o’er it glides a silky-plumaged swan,

Like hope eternal bringing glad relief.


When faint of heart, with lagging step I pass

Within these sacred portals on my quest,

I hold, alone, a solemn holy mass,

And find from brooding care abiding rest.


And my weak self that fled before the storm

But rued its flight, stands forth in strength anew;

And my fair dream that vanished with the storm,

Finds home again in airy regions blue.


And soon fair forms the mellow light reveals;

They gather round with kindly smiling eyes:

In their fond glances ancient sorrow heals,

And vain regret before their gladness dies.


The selves of them that living, yet are dead,

Arise in virtues they themselves disowned;

And lovèd selves in death we long have moaned,

Reveal that life has naught of death to dread.


Though thrones may rock and reel as drunken men,

And with their monarchs lie in crumbling dust,

While Glory’s prowess fades from mortal ken,

And Honor’s shield corroded be with rust—


Still, that true self which builds its mansion high

To shelter thus the soul’s serenity,

Doth build full well beneath the evening sky,

The spires that last throughout eternity.

Voices of the Sea

THE veil of night is lifting, and I dream

In the grey dawn, beside the water’s edge,

And wait in awe the day’s first rosy beam,

Renewing once again the sun’s long pledge.


Each morn from out the pearly mists of dawn,

The golden glory breaks o’er land and sea;

So, through the age when you and I are gone,

And naught remains on earth of you or me.


Small cause then, friend, to flaunt our puny pride,

To fawn on wealth, or after power lust;

The sea of time swift bears us on its tide

To our lone harbor in the silent dust.


The greatest gift of life is that good friend

Who points to duty with a smiling face

In spite of grief, and bids us to the end

Be high of hope, and worthy of our place.


For every soul that drew from out the deep,

Must heed the Muezzin’s call at set of sun;

Must go in shame or honor forth, to keep

A solemn tryst with fate when life is done.

Sea Song

A ROLLICKING wind and a rollicking sea,

  And the well-tried crew I love,

      What ho! my friends!

      To the world’s ends,

  To the world’s end go we!


A gleaming sail and a spreading sail,

  As the good ship cleaves the wave,

      Can more be had

      Of venture glad,

  For the lad both brave and hale?


O, the sea’s own breast is a troubled breast,

  And to treachery wedded her might;

      But aye, she’s dear,

      Though oft she leer

  At the lads who love her best.


An ireful wave and a roaring wave,

  And the seamen toiling fast;

      So, ho! my friend,

      Is the sailor’s end,

  As he greets the insatiate grave.

Baby’s Dream

LAST night I had a lovely dream;

  I saw a little fairy,

She rode to earth on a silver leaf,

  From regions bright and airy.


The little leaf had silken cords

  Held fast to butterflies,

And on their wings the starlight played,

  A-beaming from the skies.


The fairy had a golden horn

  Where-on she blew a note,

Then in a trice, on a moonbeam bright,

  Sailed forth a flower boat.


The little boat was full of bells,

  The little bells all rang,

And every flowerlet swayed in glee,

  And every birdie sang.


Then, when the clock was striking twelve,

  And the moonlight was so bright,

From every knoll the elves came forth,

  ’Twas such a pretty sight.


They hung the fireflies ’neath the leaves,

  To fright the dark away;

For elfin folk so love the light,

  But may not sport in day.


And soon I heard an awful noise,

  My heart about stood still,

But it was just a raven black,

  A-flying from the hill.


The ravens are most wondrous wise,

  And every thing they know;

That’s why the little elfin folk

  To them for news oft go.


And I kept just as still the while,

  As though I were quite dead—

But then my mamma called to me,

  And I saw I was in BED.

Love’s Path

A PATH there is, all bathed in sunset glow,

A path of dreams, well loved so long ago;

A path where wanders lone, the long day through,

A dreary ghost that mourns for love and you.


A little bird still sings upon the bough,

Nor questions life with Why, nor Where, nor How—

Enough for him that borne on wings of light,

His silver carols greet descending night.


The gnarled old elms their silent vigil keep

Above the river, running broad and deep;

And swift of flight to earth the shadows fall,

The hill and glen enshrouding in their pall.


On high, against the night’s own dusky breast,

Her gleaming head the Moon doth lightly rest;

While sable robes, adorned with gems, are spread

All round about, where e’er the twain may tread.


While through the dusk, beyond the river’s bend,

Where, in perspective, wood and waters end;

A hallowed sight appears to all that roam—

The thousand burning beacon-lights of home.


But I with bleeding breast have wandered long,

A stricken spirit with a mournful song;

The burden of it, not that love is dead,

But that my king had been a knave, instead.

To One Departed

I SENSE a spirit in the upland glades,

A voice of sweetness hear, along the brook;

Find fellowship of hands within the breeze

As tenderly it rocks the wood-bird’s nest.


As attar of the fairest summer rose,

The essence of your friendship lives with me.


Though Death may gather to himself the shell,

Wherein did echo faint the soul’s refrain;

Yet freely gives to freedom that sweet will,

Which partly slumbered in your mortal self—


And in the silence of the starlit night,

In tides of thought I find your friendship still.

In Loving Memory of Haldora Olson

THE autumn leaves of crimson and of gold,

  Resigned in death, lie scattered o’er the sod;

And thou, beloved, that did their grace discern,

  Art fast asleep within the arms of God.


But we that weep the fading of thy flesh,

  The great heart stilled, the voice forever hushed,

Reflect that night is darkest ere the hour,

  That o’er its brow the gleams of dawn are flushed.


Thus in thy weakness thou wert nearer still

  The strength of God, wherein all life began;

For spring and winter brush each other by,

  And life and death are one in His great plan.


And though we mourn the loss of thy dear self,

  From this, our world, and all its fleeting care,

The Unknown Path affrighteth us the less,

  Since at the end thou wilt be waiting there.

If a Maid be Fair

WHEN a maid is sweet and fair,

    Wondrous fair,

Is there aught in earth or air,

Or of sea will bring her care?

When a maid is young and fair,

    O, so fair?


Love’s a tyrant, maiden fair,

    So beware!

With his trailing grief and care,

Long will haunt thee ev’ry-where;

Pretty maid, be wise, beware,

    O, take care!

Baby’s Eyes

PRETTY maid, my goddess thou,

Love’s bright crown upon thy brow,

Pomegranate lips I see

Curled in kisses all for me.


Pretty maid with dimpled chin,

Where the elves of mischief spin,

Who has made thee wondrous wise,

Planted wisdom in thine eyes?


Two blue pools of limpid light,

Veiling hidden visions bright;

Love and hope of all the ages,

Mirrored in thy living pages.


Little maid, a priestess thou,

’Twixt the Infinite and Now;

Soon thy dreams of long ago

Will be hopes thou long’st to know.

Childhood’s Friend

YES, he was right old, my friend of that day,

When I was so young, I knew naught of Life’s way;

Together we dreamed of the fairies and elves,

And journeyed for raisins among his old shelves.


So loving was he, that friend of gray hair,

So calmly resigned to his invalid’s chair;

The room was my world, my throne was his knee;

Around my dominions I pushed him in glee.


We traveled to Iceland, the land of his love,

And gazed at the mountains that towered above;

We sat by the streams, and inclined a glad ear

To the harp of the fairies we plainly could hear.


We marveled at Geysir, who roared at the sky,

And rushed up in pillars, then fell with a sigh;

O’er mountains we sped, full of wild outlaw caves,

While Troll maids were singing beside the sea waves.


We visited cot, and we visited king,

We talked with the raven and heard the thrush sing;

We went to the knoll where the black elves stay,

And repeated our prayers to drive them away.


We forded swift rivers, our ponies were fleet,

The rock-bedded gorge rang under our feet;

We rolled o’er the ocean and breasted the gale,

The sun, from his splendor, caressed the white sail.


And when in the dusk night’s wing we could hear,

My weary head nestled his kindly heart near;

Then out of the past, with the sheen of its glow,

He crooned me a love song, tender and low.


The room was my world, my throne was his knee,

While all my dominions were dream-clad for me—

But now there remains just the old empty chair

To remind me of him, who my day made so fair.

The Courtship of the Sun

(Norse Mythology)

THE mantled snow—as veils the virgin hide

  From prying eyes that bold in rudeness stare—

The lonely Earth enfolded; and with care

  Smoothed every furrow gained in long despair.


Above her bosom’s matchless white and cold,

  The Sun moved on with rays all passionless;

Yet oft his glances met her fixèd eye,

  O’ershadowed in the clouds of his own sky.


The virgin-beauty, self-enfolding calm,

  Aroused to pique the brilliant Sun above;

And gazing long upon her quiet rest,

  Awakened deathless longing in his breast.


Then long implored he, shedding silver beams;

  But in her gleaming shroud she hid her face.

Thus Gerd disdained, long since, the love of Frey,

  Till Skyrnir wooed her in a bolder way.


So, in his anger, from empyrial heights

  Dispensed the Sun the strong-armed mighty Wind,

And bade him with his rage the virgin chide—

  With ruthless hands to rend her veils aside.


So, e’en as Gerd for mercy begged and cried,

  The tortured Earth her promise meekly made;

Yet asked a respite for her fearful breast,

  Then would she wed the Sun at his request.


Then every hour beamed the Sun above,

  And every beam grew warmer with his love;

Till, in remorse, the Earth in torrents wept

  Away all fears, and frost, on his warm breast.


And from this ardor and these idle tears,

  A radiant thing was born, with shining eyes;

Sweet Spring, with tresses where the sunbeams hide,

  And tender heart, where love and hope abide.


  Gerd—     Daughter of Gymir, the Frost Giant.

         Personification of the Northern Lights.

  Frey—     God of the light elves; guardian of the flowers, etc.

  Skyrnir—Messenger sent by Frey.

Windows of Mystery

(On contemplation of the great Coal Sacks adjacent to the Southern Cross.)

GOD wove a garland

Away in the heavens;

Away in the heavens,

Surpassing and fair;

Each bud is a starbeam,

Each blossom a star-gleam,

With dust of their beauty

  Is laden the air.


This garland resplendent,

So vast and so mighty;

So vast and so mighty,

Encircles the deep;

Refulgent, the lanes stray

God’s own mighty causeway,

That wends mid the glory

  The blue heavens keep.


Where splendor meets splendor

In rioting grandeur;

In rioting grandeur

The dim Gaps appear;

The sable-steeped windows,

Beyond which the soul knows

God’s greatness lies mirrored,

  Majestic and clear.

We Thank Thee Lord

WE Thank Thee Lord, for sunshine and for shade,

For every tree and every tender blade

That bows beneath Thy breath; for winds

That cool the cheek in fever flushed,

And gentle sleep that every anguish hushed,

For crystal waters—elixir of life,

And luscious fruits wherein the earth is rife;

    For all we thank Thee.


We thank Thee Lord, for joy and tender dreams,

And every cherished hope, though it but seems

To all the maddest folly; for silent prayers

That rise on Love’s strong wing,

And from above the richest blessings bring;

For holy friendship—comforter of sorrows,

And every soul that gladness gives or borrows;

    For these we thank Thee.


We thank Thee Lord, for life and then for death,

That at Thy bidding comes to claim the breath

That Thou hast lent us; for the good ship

That bears us sure and fast,

With spreading sails that brave the tempest’s blast;

For the Great Pilot, given by Thy grace,

Whom, through Thy mercy, we may hope to face;

    For Him we thank Thee.

Chant of the Deep

MY kingdoms are deep,

Yea, my kingdoms are vast,

Reflecting the wealth of the sky;

With storehouses splendid

Where strange creatures sleep,

And sorrowing wraiths pass by.


My archives are filled

With the records of men,

My aisles with the gleam of their gold;

And purple the current

O’er vestment and shield,

And bones that lie bleaching and cold.


My bosom is flecked

With the fleets of mankind,

The pride of the wise and the strong;

But, deep in my heart

Lie the ships of the dead—

That wait—and have waited so long.

Consider the Sun


He rides on high,

A monarch glorious

Through the sky.

The planets before him

In vanguard go;

About him the stars

In a garland glow.

A coterie splendid

Of matchless grace,

Wheeling and whirling

Through measureless space.


Consider the Sun—

His benignant way,

Breaking the gloom

With his aureate ray.

Crowning the mountain,

Caressing the deep;

Kissing the bud

From its nodding sleep;

Warming the breast

Of the toiling earth,

Blessing her babes

Of incarnate birth.


The mightiest Monarch,

Yet bending so low

To whisper of love

Where the violets grow!

To the Evening Star

O VENUS, most refulgent star,

That from the purpling fields afar

      Doth grace bestow;

When on thy beams my eyes may rest,

A burning flame leaps in my breast,

  A longing for Elysian quest,

      Yet may not go!


O Radiant Orb, from out the deep,

Where mingling light and shadows creep,

      Divine thy way!

To breast the winds from God’s own hand,

And whirl through space at His command,

  While dwelling lowly on the sand

      I breathe my day.


O Star of Evening, beacon bright,

A wanderer in the lonely night

      Looks up to thee;

A fleeting moment—then the dust

Needs yield the spark that lendeth trust;

  Yet He who guides thee, aye, is just,

      And so to me.

Ad Finem

DUSK, and the moon’s fair gleam

  Falls on the sea;

Love and a far-off dream

  Beckon to me.


Night, and the storm clouds ride

  Over the sky;

Anguished in mind and soul,

  Stricken I lie.


Winds, from the gates of Power

  Swift whirling by;

Cleansed is the gloomy bower,

  Stilled every sigh.


Darkness, and gleaming star

  Glows o’er the deep;

Bathed in the Master’s grace,

  Calmly I sleep.


THE wealth of the world

Is courted and sought,

But the wealth of our God

Can never be bought;

It is had for the asking

By you and by me,

It is given in bounty

To them that are free.

There are gardens for pleasure,

And valleys for thought.

Rich kingdoms, all priceless,

That cannot be bought;

They are held for the pilgrim

That searches to know

Whose light crowns the mountain,

In mystical glow.


There is gladness and laughter

With loveliness fraught,

Where all find contentment

That n’er may be bought;

For these are the gifts

That are given and lent,

That grow in the giving

And never are spent.


There are vineyards and orchards,

Where beauty is brought

A handmaid to plenty—

But will not be bought;

This heritage splendid

The Lord gives to all

That pause in the silence

To hear His call.

Stray Thoughts


ONCE, ’mid the lilies of Judean hills,

A little lad in gladness laughed and sang;

While on his hair the sunlight softly played,

And with his joy the gentle echoes rang. . . .

    The young lad, Jesus, playing mid the hills,

    His laughter, like the lilting summer-rills,

    The young lad, Jesus, mid the lily fields.


And there was one that loved the quiet wood,

And in the calm was filled with strength anew;

Whose gentle soul absorbed all things good,

As calla lilies hold the crystal dew.


And some there were that could not bear to see

The depth of wisdom in His eyes, so bright;

And so they bruised and nailed Him to a tree—

But still His eyes are burning through the night.


In all the years of dull and dreary care,

When not a day is cloudless, but is bare

      Of some sweet joy;

Teach me, O Lord, Thy hidden ways to find,

In all the round of dismal heavy strife,

And thus, at last, behold without alloy,

      Celestial skies.

This is the Age of Reason

THERE is a dearth of giving,

A dearth of tender tears;

A petty mode of living

That withers up the years;

No sound of exultation

In glory fairly won,

Nor kind exoneration

Of deeds in blindness done.


So little joy in beauty,

Or tolerance of pain;

Nor striving after duty

Which holds the heart of gain;

So little time for leisure

Within the quiet wood,

For men are mad with pleasure,

Nor cherish patient good.


So little youthful laughter

To lift our leaden care,

That joy may follow after

And dull delusion’s glare;

So lightly cherished friendship

That Love needs hide her face,

Nor many find a kinship

With her immortal grace.


There is no time for dreaming

In this progressive age,

And none, alas, for gleaning

The gems from virtue’s page—

This is the age of reason,

Though all men wonder what

Portends the changing season,



AH, little Island, lying in the sea,

By idle wind and wave and billow courted;

In calmness thou hast dreamed full many a dream,

(While age on age with time have gayly sported)

When men, at length, from wisdom file the key

To Glory’s realm of love and unity.


Thy crags and peaks in misty shrouds asleep,

Are lifted to the azure of the sky,

Waiting the joy of summer’s first warm kiss

To wake thy slumbering beauty, then to lie

A jewel chaplet wherein virtues sleep—

A talismanic gem upon God’s deep.


Ah, little Island, resting, on the waves,

In silence brooding on the dreams of yore;

(And all the valiant deeds forgotten now),

When dauntless Norsemen hailed the lonely shore,

And welcomed exile and the vaulted caves,

In lieu of plenty and the yoke of slaves.

The Dying Norseman

(Norse Mythology)

THE wings of my spirit are trailed in the dust,

  And the eyes of my soul cast down.

The good sword of strength lies sheathed in its rust,

  The Valkyrs have tossed me a frown.


The strength of my arm ’s but the strength of a reed,

  My blood slowly trails o’er the mound;

And none have remained save the good trusty steed,

  Who, though patient of heart, paws the ground.


In the glow of the morning forth valiant rode we,

  The sun on the armor flashed bright.

The gloom overtakes us laid low on the lea;

  Pale Helia draws near with the night.


Oh, would that I knew where the bright sword fell,

  And again that my arm had the strength

To vanquish the flesh where the spirit must dwell;

  Again ride a warrior at length.


But hark! is it thunder, this roar that I hear?

  What flashes so fair in the sky?

Oh, can it be gods have inclined a good ear,


Valkyrs—Destiny Inexorable. They appointed those who should

       be slain and carried to Valhalla, Hall of Odin, (Paradise).

Helia—   Goddess of a dismal underworld.

The Question

I KNOW not what there is of life to be;

I only know that all around I see

        Things perish.

The grasses flourish green at break of day,

A blighting breath will bear their life away;

        Then what of me?


The lovely rose that breathes forth fragrance sweet,

The birds that every morn in gladness greet,

        They perish.

The hoary oak at length will fall and lie,

Another raise broad branches to the sky,

        In this retreat.


Am I, who moan and cry and virtues break,

More dear to Him who all these things did make,

        That perish?

Shall I not share the common fate of all,

Or, will not they too hear His gracious call,

        Again awake?

Ode Dolorous

BARREN tree and meadow bleak,

  Faded flower and withered cheek;

Shadows swooping behind the sun,

  Gladness and summer, and youth, are done.


Song of linnet, lay of lark,

  Lost in the breast of the gathering dark;

Lost in the darkness, heard in the dawn—

  Heralds of beauty now faded and gone.


Whither comfort? Whither gain?

  Where the recompense for pain?

What for truth’s elusive glimmer,

  Sought and loved, but captured never?

Heart’s Ease

THE dawn is sweet and fragrant,

  And fair the noon-day sun:

Yet welcome, too, the shadows,

  At length, when day is done.


So dear the hope of springtime,

  So loved the fruits it bore;

Yet fonder far, remembrance

  Of all that went before.


The shaft that lights the mountain,

  But wearies agèd eyes,

While softly glowing embers,

  May light them to the skies.


THOUGH dusk and darkness gather round about,

And storms beset my worn and weary soul,

Yet ever stronger beats that pulse of life

Called Mem’ry, who within her bosom bears

The hopes and fears and dreams of all mankind.

Her magic wafts the shroud of death aside,

And those we loved draw near in garments fair

As gossamer, and clean as summer rain;

With wisdom they are shod, and on their brows

The laurels wear with sweet humility.

And Grief, that milder sister of grim Death,

In silence passes, casting shadows wide;

Before her chastening rod Corruption flees—

Who fain would feed her venom to our veins—

Thus, in the dreams that rise o’er old, dead days

Is born contentment, and a sense of peace.


*        *        *        *


And when we shrink and tremble on our way,

Nor stay the tears that rise o’er vanished hope,

We find, withal, in Solitude that friend

Who points to Mem’ry, with her soft, warm breast;

And there, like children wearied out in play,

Our tears may hide, and care, and all defeat.

Then, from the boundless deeps of universe,

Come sweeping waves that gird us in new strength;

On God’s own breath return the thoughts of men

To their old haunts, and aye, more fertile grow;

New prophets rise, new bards with silver tongue,

Proclaiming new the old eternal truths.


A HOST still serve their Lord with verse and song,

And golden hours spent on Hell discerning,

Protesting loud the follies of the throng

Who harvest death, poor knaves, as pleasures earning.


To read the Holy Book alone, they say—

Nor waste our minds thru wisdom’s mad undoing—

Is “meat” enough for any dreary day,

Unless, perhaps, the Devil is pursuing.


In every worldly pleasure there is sin,

Ah, me, what dismal terrors have been brought

By this old phrase, which has been reveled in

Since first men warred to kill what others thought.


A Christ of Peace was taught at point of sword,

On humble knees we fell before the blade,

A God of War is preached by silvered word,

And loud hosannas echo up the glade.


So, age on age and creed on creed must go

To their own death, intolerant and slow;

Confusions and disasters, these we know—

But God moves on in dim, untrammeled glow.


*        *        *        *


So drink I deep of Nature’s splendid yield,

As He once drew from out the lily field;

And round about, in spite of mad alarm,

Is yet the strength of God’s eternal arm.

The Gift

    SO much of wondrous praise,

    High altars, rich in creeds;

Their priests in robes of splendid weave,

With gracious prayers; what does it leave

        For such as me

        To bring to Thee,

        O Christ above,

    Thou Christ of light and love.


    My trusting heart I bring,

    And all that in it dwells;

The sound of the sea, the song of the bird,

The sigh of my soul, that oft’ Thou has heard,

        The hue of the flower,

        The sheen of the shower,

        To Thee I give,

    That in Thee again they live.


    The smile of the summer sun,

    The breath of the evening breeze,

The might of the mountain, the depth of the deep,

The flash of the lightning, the shadows that creep,

        The dew of the night,

        And the bright starlight,

        I lay at Thy feet,

    O Christ, at Thy shining feet.


    The charm of youthful days,

    The calm of patient age,

The wonder of friendship, the faith of a child,

The sweetness of romance, the hours it beguiled,

        These blossoms of mind,

        Are all I could find,

        To offer and bring,

    To offer my Lord and King.

The Gift Acceptable

THROUGHOUT the world I sought a jewel meet,

To lay in offering at the Saviour’s feet;

In deep recesses where the diamonds sleep;

In coral caves, where darkling waters sweep;

      It was not there!


Mid kingly courts, where every costly gem,

That time and toil had yielded up to men,

Was proudly flaunted in its lambent hue;

Yet in despair I fled, for well I knew

      These were not fit.


I gazed within the ruby’s blood-red heart—

I plucked a rose and pulled its leaves apart;

There, deeply hidden, like a crystal tear

A dewdrop trembled, silver-blue and clear—

      Love woke my heart!


O Lord, I cried, the lustrous stones are cold,

Life’s rarest gems are known to Thee of old;

The tender tears that fall from Mother’s eyes,

Where, ’neath Thy wing, she leads toward the skies

      Her little erring ones.


So, to the Saviour, who all sorrow knows,

I brought my heart, and what within it grows;

The knowledge blest that mothers are the gift

God gave the world, to succor and to lift

      Each soul to grace.

Brothers All

I SAW a structure rearing heavenward,

With beacons blazing, shedding far their light;

About the base were multitudes to guard

The pillars, deeply sunk into the sod.


Long gazing I a motley throng discerned,

Within the orbit of each light revealed;

Here men of state, resplendent, unconcerned

Of mad disaster, rode their sovereign way.


And here were men who chatted loud and long

To trick the fancy of the sluggish slave,

Lest he awake and sense his age-old wrong,

And with his children walk into the light.


And here was Science wrapped in darkened shroud;

And here was Art behind a golden screen;

And here was Justice, heavy-chained, and bowed

With ancient grief, and crying for release.


With fattened purse were merchants large of girth,

That eager of the beggared snatched a coin,

And with their wives were rocked in righteous mirth,

That in return but half the worth was given.


Here, too, were some that would the laws reform,

And wrangling long, grew drowsy o’er the cup.

And while they slept, born on contention’s storm

The weak were whirled, as chaff before the gale.


And men renowned, with care and cautious stealth

Were planning bridges that should span the world,

O’er which should roll the chariots of their wealth,

Where none should pass that built the bridge with toil.


And, as the bird, hypnotic of the snake

Will gaze in anguish, nor to freedom fly,

Mine eye nor sought the tower’s charm to break,

Nor spy the strength wherein the base was set.


Then through the air there shot an awful cry,

And in mine heart it echoed loud and long,

I saw within the temple many die,

And with their bodies keep the tower strong.


How wrong, I cried—O God, why must it be?

And in the dusk an angel I espied,

And he replied—Until all mankind see

That all is theirs, the tower, and the might.—


These bended forms, with gaunt and hollow eyes

And shrunken limbs, are blinded yet that they

Might let the tower fall that to the skies

Now proudly rears its head, nor counts their toil:


That they themselves have raised their masters up,

And madly cheered them in their vanities;

So shall they toil and drain the bitter cup,

Till they awake and claim their human right.


And he who builds with brawn the gleaming barge,

And he who guides it o’er the restless deep,

Shall e’en as one confront their Master’s charge—

His servants both, to aid their fellow-man.

Slumber Song

SLEEP, pretty baby, the daylight is fading,

Rocked in the breezes the blossoms all nod;

Over the heavens a warm glow is spreading—

Gilding each pathway the angels have trod.


Night now is nearing with balm and with blessing,

Weary, each birdling worn wings now may rest;

Comes softly stealing, the care-worn caressing,

Dreamy-eyed sleep of the peace-giving breast.


Sleep, then, my baby, in God’s grace o’ershadowed,

E’en as the lambkin the shepherd holds dear;

O’er silver-browed bridges that span darkened shallows,

Angels come speeding to lull every fear.

My Plea

IF I, from out the universal store,

One thought have gathered to my soul as guest,

      Oh, let it live—

  When I am dead and gone—

To bear a fruitage in some kindly breast.


If I, at last, have dreamed a dream so fair,

That in my barren life its wing bedrooped,

      Oh, let it live—

  When I am dead and gone—

To find a voice and sing as I had hoped.


If I have longed for life abreast the plane,

Ill passion scorning, and above the cloud,

      Oh, give it room—

  When I am dead and gone—

To break in beauty from the clinging shroud.

Sleep, O Shining Love

BLOW, blow, silken wind,

  Softly, sweetly, delicately.

In and out among the trees,

  Round and about, O summer breeze,

In a dancing roundelay.


Sing, sing, silver bird,

  Thrilling, spilling, merrily

Up and down in a ladder of sound,

  From the deep blue sky to the dark green ground,

In a surge of ecstacy.


Flow, flow, river of gold,

  Calmly, strongly, endlessly,

Over and on to the purple sea,

  Restless and hot as the heart of me

In a world of memory.


Sleep, sleep, O shining Love,

  Softly, sweetly, delicately,

In and out and through the years,

  Minding never the falling tears

On your emerald panoply.

April Rain

O APRIL is a month of rain,

  Of softly grey and silver rain

That tinkles down the windowpane

  In elfin ripples flowing.


Come out and hear the merry sound

  Of grasses springing from the ground,

And emerald leaflets all around

  In ecstacy ablowing.


O, while the rain is dropping down,

  In pearl and silver slanting down,

Come out and see the hooded town

  In faerie sheen ashowing.


O April is a month of gold,

  Of lacquered blues and greens and gold,

Of swallow flights and songs ne’er old

  To hearts of April’s knowing.

Whither and Away?

YOUNG Love, dear Love,

Whither and away?

“To the brown and amber hills where the fairies stay.

Brown and tall the grasses, gold the sun between

Where the sable crickets pass, caper and careen.”


Sweet Love, shining Love,

Whither on and why?

“To the birchwood, soft and shining, silver mast against the sky.

Tremulous and shaken by each gust of wind

Dreaming in a witching ring, wondrous to find.”


Kind Love, soft Love,

Whither on so fast?

“To the mountain grey and old, shadowy and vast;

Where the black pines through the day sit and watch the sky,

And on wings of majesty drifts the eagle by.”


Grave Love, kind Love,

Whither now agoing?

“Westward to the shoreless sea where the winds are blowing.

Blowing from the hills of Time incense sweet a-bearing,

And the tides come singing in lotus-buds a-wearing.”

Song of Seasons

THE soft wind runs through the rushes

    And bends the reeds;

And the little withered grasses bow low

And swaying against each other

    Whisper and sing.

And the sound is soft enchantment

Of summer suns and spring,

And the swallows silver sailing

    On swift and tireless wing.


The cold wind sweeps the rushes

    And rattles the reeds;

And the little withered grasses bow low

And swaying against each other

    Shake their beads—

Their globule rosaries

Of rainbow frost and seeds.

And the snowflake stars come drifting

    To sparkle on the reeds.

Where Wind the Roads of Arcady?

WHERE lies the road to Arcady,

Along the hill or to the sea?

Where lies the road to Arcady,

I would away to find it?


Are swallows fledged in Arcady,

And honey-brewing taught the bee?

O, where’s the road to Arcady,

I would away to find it?


Lie moon and stars in Arcady

All white and silver on the sea?

Comes up the sun at Arcady,

In lambent flames a-thunder?


Sing low, sing late in Arcady

The meadowlark and belted bee?

Sail dragonflies at Arcady

On rainbow wings of wonder?


Where wind the roads of Arcady?

Ah, foolish heart, and don’t you see

The West is all one Arcady?

But Love alone can find it.

Little One and Dearest

(A Memory)

O LITTLE one and dearest,

  O little one and best;

Your head upon my shoulder

  Your heart upon my breast—


O little tears and laughter,

  And winsome smiling grace,

All melody and rapture

  Beguiling from your face—


O little feet so eager,

  And little hands so swift

To twine the yellow daisies

  And bring them for a gift.


O little one, and dearest,

  Once more to hold you blest

With dewy sleep, were having

  The Christ-child for a guest.


How shall I not remember

  O little one apart. . . .

With your eternal springtime

  Asleep within my heart.


Misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected. Where multiple spellings occur, majority use has been employed.

Punctuation has been maintained except where obvious printer errors occur.


[The end of Wayside Gleams by Laura Goodman Salverson]