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Among the Millet and Other Poems

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AMONG THE MILLET. The dew is gleaming in the grass,The morning hours are seven,And I am fain to watch you pass,Ye soft white clouds of heaven. Ye stray and gather, part and fold;The wind alone can tame you;I think of what in time of oldThe poets loved to name you. They called you sheep, the sky your sward,A field without a reaper;They called the shining sun your lord,The shepherd wind your keeper. Your sweetest poets I will deemThe men of old for mouldingIn simple beauty such a dream,And I could lie beholding, Where daisies in the meadow toss,The wind from morn till even,Forever shepherd you acrossThe shining field of heaven.

APRIL. Pale season, watcher in unvexed suspense,Still priestess of the patient middle day,Betwixt wild March's humored petulenceAnd the warm wooing of green kirtled May,Maid month of sunny peace and sober grey,Weaver of flowers in sunward glades that ringWith murmur of libation to the spring: As memory of pain, all past, is peace,And joy, dream-tasted, hath the deepest cheer,So art thou sweetest of all months that leaseThe twelve short spaces of the flying year.The bloomless days are dead, and frozen fearNo more for many moons shall vex the earth,Dreaming of summer and fruit laden mirth. The grey song-sparrows full of spring have sungTheir clear thin silvery tunes in leafless trees;The robin hops, and whistles, and amongThe silver-tasseled poplars the brown beesMurmur faint dreams of summer harvestries;The creamy sun at even scatters downA gold-green mist across the murmuring town. By the slow streams the frogs all day and nightDream without thought of pain or heed of ill,Watching the long warm silent hours take flight,And ever with soft throats that pulse and thrill,From the pale-weeded shallows trill and trill,Tremulous sweet voices, flute-like, answeringOne to another glorying in the spring. All day across the ever-cloven soil,Strong horses labour, steaming in the sun,Down the long furrows with slow straining toil,Turning the brown clean layers; and one by oneThe crows gloom over them till daylight doneFinds them asleep somewhere in duskèd linesBeyond the wheatlands in the northern pines. The old year's cloaking of brown leaves that bindThe forest floor-ways, plated close and true—The last love's labour of the autumn wind—Is broken with curled flower buds white and blueIn all the matted hollows, and speared throughWith thousand serpent-spotted blades up-sprung,Yet bloomless, of the slender adder-tongue. In the warm noon the south wind creeps and cools,Where the red-budded stems of maples throwStill tangled etchings on the amber pools,Quite silent now, forgetful of the slowDrip of the taps, the troughs, and trampled snow,The keen March mornings, and the silvering rimeAnd mirthful labour of the sugar prime. Ah, I have wandered with unwearied feet,All the long sweetness of an April day,Lulled with cool murmurs and the drowsy beatOf partridge wings in secret thickets grey,The marriage hymns of all the birds at play,The faces of sweet flowers, and easeful dreamsBeside slow reaches of frog-haunted streams; Wandered with happy feet, and quite forgotThe shallow toil, the strife against the grain,Near souls, that hear us call, but answer not,The loneliness, perplexity and pain,And high thoughts cankered with an earthly stainAnd then the long draught emptied to the lees,I turn me homeward in slow pacing ease, Cleaving the cedar shadows and the thinMist of grey gnats that cloud the river shore,Sweet even choruses, that dance and spinSoft tangles in the sunset; and once moreThe city smites me with its dissonant roar....