Green Fields and Running Brooks, and Other Poems eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 5 pages of information about Green Fields and Running Brooks, and Other Poems.


John McKeen, in his rusty dress,
  His loosened collar, and swarthy throat;
His face unshaven, and none the less,
His hearty laugh and his wholesomeness,
  And the wealth of a workman’s vote!

Bring him, O Memory, here once more,
  And tilt him back in his Windsor chair
By the kitchen-stove, when the day is o’er
And the light of the hearth is across the floor,
  And the crickets everywhere!

And let their voices be gladly blent
  With a watery jingle of pans and spoons,
And a motherly chirrup of sweet content,
And neighborly gossip and merriment,
  And old-time fiddle-tunes!

Tick the clock with a wooden sound,
  And fill the hearing with childish glee
Of rhyming riddle, or story found
In the Robinson Crusoe, leather-bound
 Old book of the Used-to-be!

John McKeen of the Past!  Ah, John,
  To have grown ambitious in worldly ways!—­
To have rolled your shirt-sleeves down, to don
A broadcloth suit, and, forgetful, gone
  Out on election days!

John, ah, John! did it prove your worth
  To yield you the office you still maintain? 
To fill your pockets, but leave the dearth
Of all the happier things on earth
  To the hunger of heart and brain?

Under the dusk of your villa trees,
  Edging the drives where your blooded span
Paw the pebbles and wait your ease,—­
Where are the children about your knees,
  And the mirth, and the happy man?

The blinds of your mansion are battened to;
  Your faded wife is a close recluse;
And your “finished” daughters will doubtless do
Dutifully all that is willed of you,
  And marry as you shall choose!—­

But O for the old-home voices, blent
  With the watery jingle of pans and spoons,
And the motherly chirrup of glad content
And neighborly gossip and merriment,
  And the old-time fiddle-tunes!


They meet to say farewell:  Their way
Of saying this is hard to say.—­
  He holds her hand an instant, wholly
  Distressed—­and she unclasps it slowly.

He bends his gaze evasively
Over the printed page that she
  Recurs to, with a new-moon shoulder
  Glimpsed from the lace-mists that enfold her.

The clock, beneath its crystal cup,
Discreetly clicks—­“Quick!  Act!  Speak up!”
  A tension circles both her slender
  Wrists—­and her raised eyes flash in splendor,

Even as he feels his dazzled own.—­
Then, blindingly, round either thrown,
  They feel a stress of arms that ever
  Strain tremblingly—­and “Never!  Never!”

Is whispered brokenly, with half
A sob, like a belated laugh,—­
  While cloyingly their blurred kiss closes,
  Sweet as the dew’s lip to the rose’s.

Project Gutenberg
Green Fields and Running Brooks, and Other Poems from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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