Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ars poetica


I. GLOOM
From park and hedgerow leaf-stripped arms arise
To these unanswering heavens in mute appeal
Born of bereavement; clouds, scarce-cleft, reveal
A pale, unsympathetic light that lies
Across the frozen earth and feebly dies
Before the early darkness. All things feel
A touch of nearing death upon them steal
And know the lordship of the sunless skies.
Is it for this those leafy coronals
Were twined? For this, o'er laid with Autumn's gold,
Earth's richest garments spread to deck the year?
And comes no answer from the curtained halls,
No warm smile on these dead leaves lying here,
Toys of all winds, first victims of the cold?

II. BEAUTY
Skies blue as Summer's; clouds as fleecy white;
(Snow-coated icebergs sailing northern seas
In silent majesty and native ease
And calm progression of self-conscious might)
Such hath this winter day to show, and bright,
On hoar-crowned hills and lines of traceried trees,
The sunbeams come with Summer memories
And fill the present with a past delight.
Thou, Winter, hast a beauty all thine own;
These fallen leaves fresh vistas bring to view
And open up the charm, before unknown,
Of deep-bowered homesteads peeping coyly through
Wood-spaces, where a veil had round them grown,
Hiding a loveliness the song-birds knew.

III. Resting In Hope
Asleep, beneath her snowy coverlid,
Our weary Earth accepts the priceless boon
Of rest and silence, while the patient moon
Keeps the night watches--all her beauty hid,
As all her scars--ah! who shall her forbid
The heavy sleep of an unbroken swoon
While change the years? Yet shall the summer noon
Know once again a life that night has slid.
So comes the rest of death to crown the strife
Of weary souls, unconquered, yet, so glad
To creep within the shadow and to lie
Awaiting, while the dark days pass them by
With quiet tread. Sweet is it, and not sad,
This pause between the mighty years of life.


~Richard Francis Towndrow (1845-1937)