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A Boy's Will

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Into My Own

ONE of my wishes is that those dark trees,So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,Were not, as 'twere, the merest mask of gloom,But stretched away unto the edge of doom.I should not be withheld but that some dayInto their vastness I should steal away,Fearless of ever finding open land,Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.I do not see why I should e'er turn back,Or those should not set forth upon my trackTo overtake me, who should miss me hereAnd long to know if still I held them dear.They would not find me changed from him they knew—Only more sure of all I thought was true.

Ghost House I DWELL in a lonely house I knowThat vanished many a summer ago,And left no trace but the cellar walls,And a cellar in which the daylight falls,And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.O'er ruined fences the grape-vines shieldThe woods come back to the mowing field;The orchard tree has grown one copseOf new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;The footpath down to the well is healed.I dwell with a strangely aching heartIn that vanished abode there far apartOn that disused and forgotten roadThat has no dust-bath now for the toad.Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;The whippoorwill is coming to shoutAnd hush and cluck and flutter about:I hear him begin far enough awayFull many a time to say his sayBefore he arrives to say it out.It is under the small, dim, summer star.I know not who these mute folk areWho share the unlit place with me—Those stones out under the low-limbed treeDoubtless bear names that the mosses mar.They are tireless folk, but slow and sad,Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,—With none among them that ever sings,And yet, in view of how many things,As sweet companions as might be had.

My November Guest MY Sorrow, when she's here with me,Thinks these dark days of autumn rainAre beautiful as days can be;She loves the bare, the withered tree;She walks the sodden pasture lane.Her pleasure will not let me stay.She talks and I am fain to list:She's glad the birds are gone away,She's glad her simple worsted grayIs silver now with clinging mist.The desolate, deserted trees,The faded earth, the heavy sky,The beauties she so truly sees,She thinks I have no eye for these,And vexes me for reason why.Not yesterday I learned to knowThe love of bare November daysBefore the coming of the snow,But it were vain to tell her so,And they are better for her praise.

Love and a Question A STRANGER came to the door at eve,And he spoke the bridegroom fair.He bore a green-white stick in his hand,And, for all burden, care.He asked with the eyes more than the lipsFor a shelter for the night,And he turned and looked at the road afarWithout a window light.The bridegroom came forth into the porchWith, 'Let us look at the sky,And question what of the night to be,Stranger, you and I.'The woodbine leaves littered the yard,The woodbine berries were blue,Autumn, yes, winter was in the wind;'Stranger, I wish I knew.'Within, the bride in the dusk aloneBent over the open fire,Her face rose-red with the glowing coalAnd the thought of the heart's desire....