The Poems of Henry Van Dyke eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 235 pages of information about The Poems of Henry Van Dyke.

1898.

VERA

I

  A silent world,—­yet full of vital joy
  Uttered in rhythmic movements manifold,
  And sunbeams flashing on the face of things
  Like sudden smilings of divine delight,—­
  A world of many sorrows too, revealed
  In fading flowers and withering leaves and dark
  Tear-laden clouds, and tearless, clinging mists
  That hung above the earth too sad to weep,—­
  A world of fluent change, and changeless flow,
  And infinite suggestion of new thought,
  Reflected in the crystal of the heart,—­
  A world of many meanings but no words,
  A silent world was Vera’s home. 
                                  For her
  The inner doors of sound were closely sealed
  The outer portals, delicate as shells
  Suffused with faintest rose of far-off morn,
  Like underglow of daybreak in the sea,—­
  The ear-gates of the garden of her soul,
  Shaded by drooping tendrils of brown hair,—­
  Waited in vain for messengers to pass,
  And thread the labyrinth with flying feet,
  And swiftly knock upon the inmost door,
  And enter in, and speak the mystic word. 
  But through those gates no message ever came. 
  Only with eyes did she behold and see,—­
  With eyes as luminous and bright and brown
  As waters of a woodland river,—­eyes
  That questioned so they almost seemed to speak,
  And answered so they almost seemed to hear,—­
  Only with wondering eyes did she behold
  The silent splendour of a living world.

She saw the great wind ranging freely down
Interminable archways of the wood,
While tossing boughs and bending tree-tops hailed
His coming:  but no sea-toned voice of pines,
No roaring of the oaks, no silvery song
Of poplars or of birches, followed him. 
He passed; they waved their arms and clapped their hands;
There was no sound. 
The torrents from the hills
Leaped down their rocky pathways, like wild steeds
Breaking the yoke and shaking manes of foam. 
The lowland brooks coiled smoothly through the fields,
And softly spread themselves in glistening lakes
Whose ripples merrily danced among the reeds. 
The standing waves that ever keep their place
In the swift rapids, curled upon themselves,
And seemed about to break and never broke;
And all the wandering waves that fill the sea
Came buffeting in along the stony shore,
Or plunging in along the level sands,
Or creeping in along the winding creeks
And inlets.  Yet from all the ceaseless flow
And turmoil of the restless element
Came neither song of joy nor sob of grief;
For there were many waters, but no voice.

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Project Gutenberg
The Poems of Henry Van Dyke from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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