GREEN FIELDS AND RUNNING BROOKS
Ho! green fields and running brooks! Knotted strings and fishing-hooks Of the truant, stealing down Weedy backways of the town.
Where the sunshine overlooks, By green fields and running brooks, All intruding guests of chance With a golden tolerance,
Cooing doves, or pensive pair Of picnickers, straying there— By green fields and running brooks, Sylvan shades and mossy nooks!
And—O Dreamer of the Days, Murmurer of roundelays All unsung of words or books, Sing green fields and running brooks!A COUNTRY PATHWAY.
I come upon it suddenly, alone— A little pathway winding in the weeds That fringe the roadside; and with dreams my own, I wander as it leads.
Full wistfully along the slender way, Through summer tan of freckled shade and shine, I take the path that leads me as it may— Its every choice is mine.
A chipmunk, or a sudden-whirring quail, Is startled by my step as on I fare— A garter-snake across the dusty trail Glances and—is not there.
Above the arching jimson-weeds flare twos And twos of sallow-yellow butterflies, Like blooms of lorn primroses blowing loose When autumn winds arise.
The trail dips—dwindles—broadens then, and lifts Itself astride a cross-road dubiously, And, from the fennel marge beyond it, drifts Still onward, beckoning me.
And though it needs must lure me mile on mile Out of the public highway, still I go, My thoughts, far in advance in Indian-file, Allure me even so.
Why, I am as a long-lost boy that went At dusk to bring the cattle to the bars, And was not found again, though Heaven lent His mother ail the stars
With which to seek him through that awful night. O years of nights as vain!—Stars never rise But well might miss their glitter in the light Of tears in mother-eyes!
So—on, with quickened breaths, I follow still— My avant-courier must be obeyed! Thus am I led, and thus the path, at will, Invites me to invade
A meadow's precincts, where my daring guide Clambers the steps of an old-fashioned stile, And stumbles down again, the other side, To gambol there awhile
In pranks of hide-and-seek, as on ahead I see it running, while the clover-stalks Shake rosy fists at me, as though they said— "You dog our country-walks
And mutilate us with your walking-stick!— We will not suffer tamely what you do And warn you at your peril,—for we'll sic Our bumble-bees on you!"
But I smile back, in airy nonchalance,— The more determined on my wayward quest, As some bright memory a moment dawns A morning in my breast—
Sending a thrill that hurries me along In faulty similes of childish skips, Enthused with lithe contortions of a song Performing on my lips....