Could I but climb a roof above my own,
And greet grave Autumn as he walks the earth
With secret signal that would make me known,
I should not feel my dearth.
Then silver mist or loud triumphant wind
Might come in sad disguise and misery;
I would but ponder in my secret mind
How Autumn answers me.
“I LOVE YOU, BUT A SENSE OF PAIN.”
I love you, but a sense of pain
Is in my heart and in my brain;
Now, when your voice and eyes are kind,
May I reveal my complex mind?
Though I am yours, it is my curse
Some ideal passion to rehearse:
I dream of one that’s not like you,
Never of one that’s half so true.
To quell these yearnings, vague and wild,
I often kneel by our dear child,
In still, dark nights (you are asleep),
And hold his hands, and try to weep.
I cannot weep; I cannot pray—
Why grow so pale, and turn away?
Do you expect to hold me fast
By pretty legends in the past?
It is a woman’s province, then,
To be content with what has been?
To wear the wreath of withered flowers,
That crowned her in the bridal hours?
Still, I am yours: this idle strife
Stirs but the surface of my life:
And if you would but ask once more,
“How goes the heart?” or at the door
Imploring stand, and knock again,
I might forget this sense of pain,
And down oblivion’s sullen stream
Would float the memory of my dream!
I should be happy with my lot:
A wife and mother—is it not
Enough for me to be content?
What other blessing could be sent?
A quiet house, and homely ways,
That make each day like other days;
I only see Time’s shadow now
Darken the hair on baby’s brow!
No world’s work ever comes to me,
No beggar brings his misery;
I have no power, no healing art
With bruised soul or broken heart.
I read the poets of the age,
’Tis lotus-eating in a cage;
I study Art, but Art is dead
To one who clamors to be fed
With milk from Nature’s rugged breast,
Who longs for Labor’s lusty rest.
O foolish wish! I still should pine
If any other lot were mine.
A BABY SONG.
Come, white angels, to baby and me;
Touch his blue eyes with the image of sleep,
In his surprise he will cease to weep;
Hush, child, the angels are coming to thee!
Come, white doves, to baby and me;
Softly whirr in the silent air,
Flutter about his golden hair:
Hark, child, the doves are cooing to thee!
Come, white lilies, to baby and me;
Drowsily nod before his eyes,
So full of wonder, so round and wise:
Hist, child, the lily-bells tinkle for thee!