THE PALLID WREATH
SOMEHOW I cannot let it go yet, funeral though it is,
Let it remain back there on its nail suspended,
pink, blue, yellow, all blanch'd, and the white now gray
One wither'd rose put years ago for
thee, dear friend;
But I do not forget thee. Hast thou then faded?
Is the odor exhaled? Are the colors,
No, while memories subtly play the past vivid as ever;
For but last night I woke, and in
that spectral ring saw
Thy smile, eyes, face, calm, silent, loving as ever;
So let the wreath hang still
awhile within my eye-reach,
It is not yet dead to me, nor even pallid.
AN ENDED DAY
THE soothing sanity and blitheness of completion,
The pomp and hurried contest-glare and rush are
Now triumph! transformation! jubilate!2
ANOTHER NOTE. "He went out with the tide and the sunset," was a phrase I heard from a surgeon
describing an old sailor's death under peculiarly gentle conditions.
During the Secession War, 1863 and '4, visiting the Army Hospitals around Washington, I form'd the
habit, and continued it to the end, whenever the ebb or flood tide began the latter part of the day, of
punctually visiting those at that time populous wards of suffering men. Somehow (or I thought so) the
effect of the hour was palpable. The badly wounded would get some ease, and would like to talk a little,
or be talk'd to. Intellectual and emotional natures would be at their best: Deaths were always easier; medicines
seem'd to have better effect when given then, and a lulling atmosphere would pervade the wards.
Similar influences, similar circumstances and hours, day-close, after great battles, even with all their
horrors. I had more than once the same experience on the fields cover'd with fallen or dead.
OLD AGE'S SHIP & CRAFTY DEATH'S
FROM cast and west across the horizon's edge,
Two mighty masterful vessels sailers steal upon us:
we'll make race a-time upon the seas a battle-contest
yet! bear lively there!
(Our joys of strife and
derring-do to the last!)
Put on the old ship all her power to-day!
Crowd top-sail, top-gallant and royal studding-
Out challenge and defiance flags and flaunting pennants
As we take to the open! take to
the deepest, freest waters.
TO THE PENDING YEAR
HAVE I no weapon-word for thee some message brief and
(Have I fought out and done indeed
the battle?) Is there no
For all thy affectations, lisps, scorns, manifold silliness?
Nor for myself
my own rebellious self in thee?
Down, down, proud gorge! though choking thee;
Thy bearded throat and high-borne forehead to the
Crouch low thy neck to eleemosynary gifts.
I DOUBT it not then more, far more;
In each old song bequeath'd in every noble page or text,
something unreck'd before some unsuspected
In every object , mountain, tree, and star
in every birth and
As part of each evolv'd from each meaning, behind the
cipher waits infolded.