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Title: Brown leaves and other verses

Author: Ella Stevens Harris

Release date: September 16, 2023 [eBook #71665]

Language: English

Original publication: Montclair: Altavista, 1912

Credits: Charlene Taylor, Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)


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Brown Leaves


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From time to time, for many years, some of these verses have appeared in newspapers and periodicals. They are here collected at the request of friends.

E. S. H.

TO E. P. H.

The language of the human heart,
Nor tongue nor pen may tell;
But other eyes look into ours,
And understand us well.
No gift is worthy, my Beloved,
Of what thou art to me;
But these frail children of my love,
I would bestow on thee.
The years will come, the years will go,
As poets oft have sung;
But Love is Life, and Life is Love,
And Love, is ever young!


Brown Leaves3
To the Daisies5
To Florence9
Nature’s Influence11
A Valentine13
A Spring Reverie15
To Her Dolly19
My Prayer21
Anniversary Ode23
Our Heroes25
A Call To Spring27
Upper Air29
The Old Year and the New33
Lost Days37
Mother’s Prayer39
The Silence of the Rosebud43
Seed-time and Harvest45
To a Blue-Fringed Gentian47
A Fragment49
My Christmas Wish51
To a Rosebud53




From the pipes of old Winter, has come a shrill blast,
And upon the gray earth a pure mantle is cast.
’Tis a garment of snow-flakes come down from the skies
And beneath it, in silence, the patient earth lies.
The moaning and rustling of dead leaves is past—
The comforter came, they are sheltered at last.
O, brown leaves of autumn! ’Tis a wise hand that leads,
And he sends what is best, who best knoweth our needs.
He gives and he takes, and in taking he gives:
From life cometh death, and in dying we live.
From mists of the river, the brooklet and sea
This beautiful shroud has been woven, and ye
Of its coming wist not, for from out the still air
It as silently fell as an answer to prayer.
O, could ye but creep from your coverlet white
And visit your home, a most wonderful sight
Would gladden your hearts, for the sun met the snow,
And the frost followed on with his cold breath, and lo!
Your home is a palace of crystal more bright
Than Aladdin beheld with his magical light.{4}
Ye glow and ye fade—but as wondrous to me
Is the leaf on the ground as the leaf on the tree:
For links in time’s chain clasp eternity fast
And the chain becomes endless. Ever the past
Pays its debt to the future, leaf-life, or man’s,
So perfect the system that surely no hands
But of Infinite wisdom and love could be
The author of such an unerring decree.
Who knoweth the end? Little leaflets, not we!
Enough for ourselves, as we hang on life’s tree,
To gather the sunshine and freely bestow
Our shade to the weary and faint ones below.
And when we grow brown, as, surely we must,
The end will be glorious can we but trust
That the Infinite love, which careth for all,
Forgets not the little brown leaves when they fall.


O Daisies, with your golden hearts
And petals white as snow,
Ye are, indeed, fond Summer’s eyes
O speak! for I would know
The secrets of this month of June
Of all months of the year,
And not one June of all my life
Was ever half so dear.
The secrets of this month of June
With your soft eyes declare:
What is it makes the roses bloom,
And beauty everywhere?
Is it the longing in the seed
That speaketh in the flower;
And is this longing satisfied
To breathe for one short hour,
And vanish? Nay: the hidden power,
In seed-life unto me
Seems deathless, as the human-soul,
Was, and will always be—
And what though on the silent air,
The perfume dies away
Of the June roses, and they fade—
Behold! shall any say,
However wise, that this is loss:
Alas! shall any deign
Deny, that Nature’s wondrous laws
May not restore again?
The waves roll in upon the shore,
Recede, and come again{6}
And thirsty clouds drink in the floods,
To give them back, in rain.
O Daisies, when bright June is past,
And all your beauty fled;
If in my memory ye but live,
I dare not call ye dead,
For ye have led me to the fount
From whence all beauty springs,
Your silence filled my soul with awe,
And gave my spirit wings.
The self-same tint in morning’s glow
And in the crimson flush
Of the June roses, I behold
In timid maidens’ blush.
O Daisies, listen unto me,
My secret I impart—
Love’s sweetest flowers are all ablow;
’Tis June-time in my heart!
Go tell my secret to some bird,
The bob-o-link were best—
Tell him to ask his patient wife
To sit upon the nest;
And him unto my lover go,
And, as my minstrel sent,
Ask him to sing that song he sang
When he a-wooing went.
Thou think’st he might not find him?
It might be well to say,
My love, like light, will go before
To ’luminate the way.


Thou art away and I am here.
The one that’s left is lonesome, dear.
I long to look into your face.
I long to-night for your embrace.
Like hopeless grief, the wind and rain
Beats at my darkened window pane.
There’ll come a time, my love, I know,
When one of us must surely go.
Beyond the call of voice or tear—
Which shall it be? I question, dear.
O, coward heart, find hope and rest—
Whatever comes to thee is best!


(On Her Tenth Birthday.)

I am very sad and lonely, dear,
Do you care for what I say?
I once had a beautiful baby—
But now she has gone away.
To-day I went up to the garret,
And there in a chest I found
Little shirts, little shoes and stockings
And a dainty little gown.
Scarcely large enough for your dolly
Are the things she used to wear,—
Do you know where has gone my baby,
My baby—with soft, brown hair?
She was such a beautiful baby—
I had thought to keep her so,
But she slipped away with each passing day
And I did not see her go.
* * * * * * *
Then I had a child, as lovely
As my babe had seemed to me;
But she is gone and I gaze through tears
But her face I may not see.
I remember her childish prattle,
The wonderful things she’d say,
Her winsome smile and her merry laugh—
Now, why did she go away?{10}
Her hair was soft as the thistle’s down,
But the sunshine lingered there
And wreathed such glory about her brow
As I never have seen elsewhere.
In the garret we put her high-chair,
And saved her rattle and ball,
But she never came back to claim them
And all in vain was my call.
* * * * * * *
“I will not go and leave you
As the others went away.”
Yes, I hear what you are saying, dear,
That you will be sure to stay.
* * * * * * *
It must be that I was dreaming
Of days that have passed away—
What is it, my own little daughter,
You are ten years old, to-day?
Yes, nestle up closer, my darling,
You have banished all my care,—
For you are my beautiful baby
And my child with the sunlit hair.
As I look in your soft, brown eyes, dear,
My baby’s face I see,
And I know not what to call you, now
Save my blessed trinity.


O, is there aught in this wide world more strange,
Or aught more wonderful in spheres unknown,
Than nature’s influence on human life?
We go into the open field or wood,
And she is there, and we are thrilled, and feel
An ecstacy which words cannot define—
A touch too delicate for human speech.
The robin’s song comes floating on the air,
And all his soul is in it—it is more
To me than grandest opera, for by it
Is ushered in the sweet arbutus bloom
And tulips gay and yellow daffodils.
I stray amid a field of daisy bloom—
That all-pervading Presence seems most nigh,
The atmosphere they breathe is full of cheer.
Who that has wandered with them, has not felt
His burdens lightened and his sorrows healed?
I know not why, but common flowers declare
Truth unto me when hot-house-cultured fail,
And yet, however reared, no bud could ope
But felt the Awakener’s touch of magic.{12}
This do they teach. The same warm rays of sun
Fall on the nettle-plant, as fall upon
The sweet briar-rose, and the rain-laden cloud
Passes not by the meanest weed that grows.
And do not wayside flowers invite alike
The rich and humble? To possess is more
Than ownership. Who takes from harvest-field
Food for the inner life may richer be
Than he who fills his granary to the brim.
Jesus, who spake strong words for human needs
But spake what every soul has felt and known—
That life and body are of greater worth,
Than food and raiment.
Red’ning in the Spring
Each maple tree reveals that wondrous care
Which never slumbers. Throbbed our human hearts
In harmony with Nature’s, should we feel
It less, when dead leaves rustle ’neath our feet,
And winds of Autumn sing funereal dirge?
Why do men question of a future life?
The tiniest grass blades, springing from the sod,
Are bridges, whereupon with trusting feet
I can in safety cross the stream of doubt—
Wing of bird and cloud which floats above me,
Pebble and sea shell which the tide brings in,
Op’ning bud and tinted leaf of autumn,
Ye all are messengers unto my soul.
For ye are typical, and the revealers
Of the All-Beautiful, whom I adore!


(To E. P. H.)

A Valentine—Now if I might
But somehow tempt her to alight—
I mean my Muse—I’d try to say
Some word to cheer thy heart, to-day.
I know the meaning they attach
To Valentines: but then I’ll scratch
That off, and write, as to a friend—
’Tis fair, if so we comprehend.
How strange, that certain days and hours,
That certain trees and certain flowers,
Alone possess, as ’twere, a key
To certain rooms in memory.
When but a child, they used to say
That birds, like lovers, went away
In search of mates: and even now
I dimly can remember how
Their words I doubted, till one day
Our purple pigeon flew away,
Returned at night, and by his side
Fluttered his little snow-white bride.
And ne’er this day comes ’round to me
But flutters in my memory
The purple and the snow-white dove
Cooing their tender notes of love.{14}
Some word to cheer thee, did I say?
Words—what are words? As helpless they
As blinded eyes to lead the feet
O’er tangled pathways, did they meet
Not some felt need, or if they be
Not warm with loving sympathy.
If magic were my art, and I
Could banish from thine inner sky
All clouds of sorrow and of pain,
I would not do it. Following rain
Is brighter sky; at sorrow’s fire
Our joys are tempered. Mounting higher
Than human wish is human need,
And wrapped beneath the husks of creed
Is what we think, and feel, and know,
Of the deep things of God. And so
My best and only wish shall be
That thou mayst solve life’s mystery.


Winter has at last unlocked the portals of his icy castle and ushered into our presence the very queen of all the seasons. Let us fling open the doorways of our hearts and give a generous welcome. How silently she moves among us, and yet our finer ear may hear her in the springing grass and opening blossoms. We feel her magic touch in everything about us. She whispers, and the slumbering earth awakes to new life and beauty. Would we might sing her praises with hearts as full as the happy, joyous birds.

I wonder, if we would, we could not make our daily lives fuller of praises and thanksgiving-songs; clothe wearying, unlovely care, with beauty? And I wonder, too, if we are not ourselves to blame, if in the pleasant walks of life we gather not enough of sunshine up to last through cloudy weather? And yet, we must dream our own dreams and live our own lives.

The hearts of little children drink in the spring sunshine as freely, even, as the birds and flowers. And are not their voices sweeter than the song of birds and their lives dearer than all the blossoms?

A maiden sits and dreams, and in her fancy she weaves the golden meshes of a nest that will one day be her own, and if her morning and evening carol shall be sweeter than the bird’s it is not strange, for is not her nest dearer and her love deeper?

In the spring sunshine a mother muses, and her thoughts have flown backward. She sits ’mid blasted buds and voiceless birds, in a springtime of long ago; and though her whole pathway is strewn with flowers,{16} it is not so much to her as to know that on those little graves the violets are come again. She tends them with a loving care, for they speak precious promises unto her soul.

The aged couple number over and over again the many springtimes their lives have known in light and shadow. They drink not in the full sunshine of these delicious days, for their nest and nestlings are all gone, and they are waiting for a more glorious springtime yet to come—waiting for eternal sunshine and perpetual blossoms.

Upon the faces of men of great crime, through all the scars of sin, may be found traces of happy days of innocence and pleasure. Doubtless, as the springtime sun streams faintly into the cell of many a criminal, memory is quickened to life by its soft rays, and flowers of tenderness which have long slumbered bloom again, in the garden of his heart. Perhaps he may remember days all sunshine, days of loving—when a dear face and the light of glad eyes transfigured everything into a world of glory. But temptation, like sorrow, overtakes us when we are least prepared, and on the stream of life we either drift with its current, or with strength of will and determined purpose, pull our fragile bark against it.

None need so much human sympathy and divine love and favor as the poor in spirit. The poor in purse may vie in happiness with the rich; but to a life from which the light of hope has all gone out, the journey to the end is drear and desolate. Thus, it is we dream our own dreams and live our own lives, however much we may live for others.{17}

For myself—
To feel that the springtime is coming,
That the wildwood is all full of song;
That the leaves, and the grasses and blossoms,
In beauty are creeping along,
Thrills my soul with a deep song of gladness;
And the depths of my being are stirred,
Till I feel that the Master is tuning
My voice to the voice of the bird.
And what harmony thrills all creation,
From the brooklet’s musical flow
To the wonderful tide of the ocean,
With its ceaseless murmur of woe.
Yet, He who made earth, sky and all things,
Reckons man of Himself, a part—
And what to nature is budding and bloom,
Symbols love in the human heart.
And I look at the world as I see it,
With its mingled sorrow and strife,
And my lips cry out the thought of my heart,
What a wonderful thing is life!
With eyes to behold the glory of God
In the stars or the blossoms of Spring,
And hearts feel a love, that lips may not tell,
Of a glorified Presence, within.


Come here, poor little Dolly,
And sit upon my knee,
I will smooth your tangled tresses,
For I feel in sympathy.
You say your own little mamma
Has gone away, and so
You must be very lonely,
For you always used to go.
I can tell you a secret, Dolly,
I am sorry it is true,
But since your mamma has grown so tall
She cannot play with you.
Yet she’ll never forget you, Dolly,
She told me so to-day,
And said that you, and all your things,
She was going to put away.
And often, very often,
She would come and look at you,
Would take you up, and smooth your hair
And I’m sure that this is true.
For the mother heart never forgets us
Whatever you hear dolls say,
It always loves and forgives us
E’en when we go astray.
Perhaps, dear little Dolly,
In the days that are to be,
Other little pink hands will dress you,
And fondle you tenderly.{20}
It may be her own little daughter
Will fold you to her breast,
And softly whisper, “I love you, dear,
I love you the very best.”
’Twere pleasant to dream of Dolly
As you lie in the dark up there,
Though it n’er come true, ’Twere better to hope,
For it saves us from despair.


How shall I pray to Thee, my God,
Out on the troubled sea;
Where billows rage and tempest roars—
How shall I pray to Thee?
How shall I pray to Thee, my God;
No beacon-light I see;
And I am far, so far, from home—
How shall I pray to Thee?
* * * * * * *
My life, nor wind, nor wave, can harm
Wherever I may be;
For here, or there, I am Thy child,
Through all eternity.
Still, I must pray to Thee, my God,
Whate’er Thy plan may be;
Till thought of Thee shall calm for me
The raging of the sea!


Thoughts Suggested by the Anniversary of the Death of Longfellow.

A year ago to-day and the “Old Bells
Of Boston” told to waiting, anxious hearts,
That all was over. Hushed was human speech—
The busy town forgot its need of toil,
And rich and poor donned holiday attire
And wept together. He did sing for all,
And all did weep for him. E’en children’s tears,
Fell for him, for they loved him and his song.
O, noble King of Song! thy reign ends not
With death.
Thy kingdom is the human heart;
And just so long as sympathy can soothe,
Or words of hope encourage struggling souls,
So long thy kingdom will abide with men.
And as the clouds shed dewdrops on the flowers,
Or violets breathe their fragrance on the air,
E’en so thy poems, on our common lives,
Shed sweet refreshment, and we love thy name.
Surely “There is no death!” Such souls as thine
Make all life seem immortal. The sunshine,
From thy verse, dispels the clouds of doubt
With an effulgent glory. Hid with God
Is all the future; yet enough is shown
To stimulate our trust for all the rest.
And, as the raindrop, tracing back its source,
Finds it in mist of brook or ocean’s spray,
So, from the depth of the Eternal Love,{24}
Springs individual being. Passing time
Is but as links in the unending chain,
Which binds the whole together. Overhead,
Some stars shine brighter than the rest, yet each
Adds glory to the whole; beneath our feet
The spring flowers bloom again, the breath of some
Comes laden with a fragrance, which delights,
Some void of beauty, or of sweet perfume,
Yet in God’s fields no mean weed blooms in vain.
From filthiest pool as pure a drop of rain
May be distilled, as from the crystal river,
And must we not believe that darkened lives
Will, somehow, in God’s time, be glorified?


(Written for, and sung at G. A. R. Memorial Celebration.)

What fitter tribute could we bring,
Our Father and our God,
Than spring-time flowers with fragrance sweet,
To deck our heroes’ sod!
With magic word each open’ng flower
Proclaims, that all must die,
And dew drops glisten in each bud,
Like tear drops in the eye.
O, noble patriots! naught of ours,
Is meet for you, our braves,
But rarest gifts of God we bring,
And cast them on your graves.
And He who clothes the tender grass,
And decks the lily fair;
Will twine for you immortal flowers,
With His abiding care.


Where art thou, tardy Spring?
E’en while my song I sing
Thou shouldst be with us.
O, couldst thou only see
What welcome waiteth thee,
In field and forest.
Art held by winter fast,
And hast not power to cast
Off his rude shackles?
Too long has been his reign,
Summon thy fairy train,
Charge him to loose thee.
Come to thy woodland bower,
Green grass and op’ning flower
Will spring to greet thee.
Red-vested troubadour
Hath left a sunny shore,
That he may cheer thee.
Blue-coated minstrelsy
Waiteth impatiently
For thy glad coming.
Sweet are the songs they sing,
As on impatient wing
Gaily they flutter.
Sweet—that a lover’s notes
May burst from feathered throats.
Is there a doubter?
Did ever regal ear,
In ancient ages hear
Music diviner?{28}
Unto each human life
With all its joy and strife,
Come, with renewing.
Breathe o’er each new-made grave,
Till the green grasses wave,
Like victory’s banner.
Come with thy healing balm,
To the sick chamber—calm
All who are restless.
Breathe o’er each buried hope
Till some bright flower shall ope
With its peace message.
Unto each gladsome heart
Come, and thy store impart
Of joy and beauty.
Lovers are walking near
Hast thou no wish to hear
What they are saying?
If magic be thine art,
Unto such lives impart
Strength to be faithful.
Plead with the tempted heart,
That as the green blades start
From the dry grasses,
So from sin’s death and gloom
New life may rise and bloom,
And that forever,
Nobler than warrior’s claim,
Is the undying fame
Of souls victorious.


(To E. P. H.)

The chariot of the dawn rolls in
And, far above all care,
As freely as the gladsome lark
My thought finds upper air.
My thought finds upper air with thee:
O fear thou not, I pray,
That such rare visions of the soul
Unfit us for the way,
Our feet must journey. ’Tis not so:
For look thou—as we soar
Is there not glory in the vale
We never saw before?
Yet was there glory in the vale
And you and I were there—
The same blue sky was over head,
The same fond, brooding care
Was over us: yet we were blind
Till Love, like him of old,
Laid on our eyes his healing hand,
And lo, we now behold
Life as it is. Yet more and more,
As time shall roll away,
I trow new glories will unfold,
We dream not of to-day.
My thought finds upper air, my love,
And thou art with me there—
The glory of the mountain heights
We’ll carry everywhere.


Like beams of light to darkness,
Is fancy, to the real;
Lifting the down-cast spirit
Unto its high ideal.
Dreamers are all about us,
On mountain or by sea,
And had we no such visions,
Less bright this world would be.
The aged man is dreaming
Of merry boyhood days;
Of favorite haunts, and schoolmates,
And of their wonted plays.
His life was then all sunshine,
He roamed about at will;
And years passed on as smoothly,
As glides a laughing rill.
But time has brought her burdens
Of mingled pain and care;
They’ve bent his manly figure,
And silvered o’er his hair.
Stately is now his bearing,
He breathes a freer air;
Then call him not from dreamland,
For he is happy there.
He now beholds the Heavenly,
The dear ones gone before;
No more are they divided,
But with him, as of yore.{32}
O, may such glorious visions
Oft to his spirit come;
For, surely, they are gateways
Unto that “Heavenly Home.”
The future to the youthful
Diffuses brightest beams;
All wants and wishes granted,
In golden future dreams.
O, many fairy castles
The youthful fancy rears!
But when the air dissolves them,
Oft come the bitter tears.
Still, chide them not for building,
Burdens will lighter seem;
And life, with all its shadows,
Be brighter for the dream.
Of what the infant dreameth,
The wisest ne’er may know;
Yet, they must be in dreamland,
When the dimples come and go.
Over a faded blossom,
Or shining curl, we dream,
Till absent forms, through memory,
E’en almost present seem.
Yes, dreams are fraught with blessings,
In love and mercy given;
And oft are golden stairways,
Which draw us nearer heaven.


As at sea the eager voyager
Thoughtfully from shore to shore,
Waves farewell to scenes behind him,
Welcomes scenes that rise before;
So I stand upon Time’s ocean,
And, as from my outer view
Fades the old year’s face in glory,
Dawns the new in roseate hue.
Dear old year, forever loyal,
Listen to my thought of thee,
All thou hast been, all thou now art
Wilt thou be in memory.
Summing up my gain and losses,
Do I find my gain is more,
Wider vision, richer friendships
Have been added to my store.
Some, who walked with me, have vanished;
Yet at memory’s holy shrine
Do we meet in sweet communion;
Theirs am I, and they are mine.
For their influence on my journey
Life is sweeter, lighter care,
As the violet’s bloom is brighter
When the dewdrop sparkles there.{34}
Dear Old Year—Lo! thou art vanished,
And here, standing in thy place,
Is the New Year, full of promise,
With the self-same care-free face
Thou did’st wear, when first I knew thee.
Welcome New Year! Hear my vow:
I will trust in all thy future,
And will do thy bidding, now.
As ye enter with the new year,
Young or old, be brave at heart—
Life hath need of faithful service,
And each soul must bear its part;
Sweeter than a nation’s praises
For high deeds of valor done
Is the simple joy of duty,
Is the peace from victory won.


A Fragment

Brave Columbus! Did the Builder
Show to you his wondrous plan,
And inspire in you the courage
To reveal it unto man?
History shows no braver hero,
Living, or beneath the sod—
Shows no greater self-denial,
Shows no deeper faith in God.


We never can recall a day;
When it is past, it rolls away
Into the lap of time.
We might as well attempt to sow
Our seed amid the falling snow,
And hope for fruitage rare,
As, life’s bright spring of action o’er,
Amid the present’s din and roar
Strive to reclaim the past.
Though we should call, with sobs of pain,
For the old year to come again,
In vain would be our cry.
Full many a fault we would correct,
And many a scrawl we would reject,
Were we to write anew.
But, while we wish the year’s return,
While for the past our spirits yearn,
A cheerful voice exclaims:
“He who would reach sublimest height
Must toil by day, and pray by night,
And struggle with the tide—
Now is the time to carve your fate!
Time never lags, though man be late—
Lost days will ne’er return.”


While my darling child is sleeping
In her little bed,
Mother’s earnest prayer is heaping
Blessings on her head.
First she prays that God will teach her,
How to worthy be
Of so sweet a child to love her;
Then, to clearly see,
Duties of her noble calling—
That, as days go by,
She may help that soul develop
All that’s pure and high.
“Make my little darling happy,”
Fondly mother prays;
Happy as the birds and blossoms
Through the summer days.
May God keep her sweet and loving,
Strong to battle sin,
And, as now she trust in mother,
May she trust in Him!


How slowly you creep on—tick faster, clock!
One that I love is nigh; when he is come
You may cease ticking—little will I care
For measurement of time! Then I’ll not peer
Into your face and question, “what’s the hour?”
If you withhold the telling, less my blame,
For in that world of love, where soul meets soul,
Time is not measured by the pendulum’s swing,
But by quick pulse-beats. One that I love is nigh;
What mean those words? Upon the silent air
They fall, and strike upon my listening ear
In echoing tones. “One that I love is nigh!
How strange that world of love, and yet, how fair;
To once have lived there is to catch a glint
Of the Eternal Brightness.
Naught can separate
Two souls that love. If I could fetters forge
To bind his heart to mine, by such slight threads
As spiders spin, I would not do it. Love
Is loftiest in his flight when free of wing.
O, is not love,
In its eternal might, the power that binds
All worlds together?


O lovely rosebud, thou art more to me
Than what men call thee; for a mystery
As fathomless as ocean in thy breast
Is folded with each petal, I, in quest
Of knowledge, do most reverently
Approach thy presence-chamber. Thou shalt be
My teacher: I am weary grown of books
And speech of men. Lo! something in thy looks
Inspires new courage. O reveal to me
The secret of thy being! I may see
Thy beauty, scent thy sweetness; yet thou art
E’en more than these, for thou dost play a part
In life’s grand mystr’y. O is’t given thee,
The power to solve, what is denied to me?
Did’st see, or only feel, that Hand of might
That touched thee at the Spring-dawn, or was light
Denied thee then? Rare gift of light—to me,
Sublimest type of immortality.
At thy first flush of crimson I was nigh
To watch thy coming—what no human eye
Might hope to witness. And lo, silently,
As stars find birth thou didst appear to me
In form perfection, in thy charm of dress
Passing all wonder in thy loveliness.
Still thou art silent to my listening ear,
But deep within my consciousness, I hear
“Lo! beauty, love and truth, are one with Him
Who beams in radiance, hides in shadows dim.”
What though thy birthplace be the humble sod,
Thy life and mine are, surely, one with God!


Shine out, Sun, in all your splendor,
On this dreary Autumn day—
With your warm lips, kiss the cold earth—
One I love is on the way
To my waiting arms—O kiss it
Till the very air shall be
Tempered to the breath of Heaven.
I would have my loved one see,
That the heart of all things pulseth,
As in perfect unison,
Just as we have felt our hearts beat
When the twain seemed heart of one.
Night will drop her sable mantle,
E’er my loved-one comes, I know;
Send out little stars to greet him,
’Fuse them with a wond’rous glow.
One is coming, O my Father,
In the love of whom I see
Thee, the source of all true loving,
And through whom I come to Thee—
Come to Thee with deep thanksgiving,
For Thy more than wond’rous care;
O’er the precious seed we planted
In the genial springtime fair—
“Many seeds fall short of issue.”
Yes, my Father, this I know;
But we’ve somehow felt and trusted,
With our seed, it were not so.
We are longing for the fruitage,
Hopefully, we trust and pray,
Pray with deepest sense of hunger;{46}
Father, turn us not away!
“Can’st not trust a little longer?”
Yes, my Father, long and late—
Till the snow falls on the green-sward
We can trust, and we can wait.


O, beautiful blue-fringed gentian bloom,
Woulds’t know why I care for you?
You were plucked for me by a friendly hand
From the hillside where you grew.
How could you come up from the brown earth
And be such a gorgeous thing?
Did mother nature color your gown,
When she tinted the blue bird’s wing?
Or did the rain drops into your buds,
Bring down the blue of the sky?
Yea, He who painted the rain-bow’s stripes,
E’en the waysides, beautify.
A dearer spot is your woodland home,
Where the pine trees lull to rest;
Where the sweet Spring-blossoms come again,
And the song-birds love to nest.
To drop your seed, in the soft brown earth
With your kindred little flower,
Was that your dream ere you were plucked
To wither in an hour?
“Glad am I to be the messenger
Of tender thoughts,” you say,
“And to cheer the sick and sorrowing ones
Is my dearest wish, alway.”
Then tenderly, little blossom of blue,
I’ll fold you away with care,
You came, a messenger of love,
And found me in dispair.{48}
You brought the sunshine and summer shower,
The bird song and hum of the bee,
The noisy stream and the silent lake,
And the balsam from the tree.
* * * * * * *
And now all seems good, for all seems God,
I, too, have touched the hem
Of the seamless robe of his great love,
For lo! I am well again.


I could not let thee go with Death
It seems to me;
Life never meant what now it means
Since loving thee.
I could not go alone with Death;
But by thy side,
Methinks I could lie down content,
E’en as thy bride.
To fill the measure of thy need
Dare I aspire—
Nor is there longing in my soul
For mission higher.
To fill the measure of thy need—
Dost thou not know,
The measure of my own deep need
Would but o’erflow?


A happy Christmas? Nay, far more shall be
My wish for you. I know how happiness
Flits in and out of our poor human lives,
Even as humming birds flit in and out
The upturned lily’s cup, or April’s sunshine
Pierces through the clouds only to vanish.
I own her magic touch, for she has been
My guest, and she wrought many a miracle.
I mind how she transformed the common things
Of life, and how she flung a glory o’er
The future, till my dreams of paradise
Seemed all fulfilled.
After the storm of battle
Cometh peace. Since I have heard her voice,
And felt the touch of her soft wings upon
My troubled spirit, I have ceased to pray
For happiness’ return, but I await
Her coming—grateful if she rarely come
And briefly stay.
And so my wish for you
Shall be my high’st prayer, that peace, God’s peace,
May enter through the portals of your life,
And there abide, your guest, forevermore.


I pinned thee, Rosebud, on his coat
When thou wert fresh and fair,
And I recall thou did’st exhale
For us a fragrance rare.
With reverent touch, to-night I fold
Thy withered leaves with care
About this lifeless heart of thine,
And breathe a grateful prayer.
O tell me, Rosebud, wert thou deaf
To all we said that night;
Or did’st thou feel those kisses warm
That thrilled us with delight?
Thy lingering breath is sweet to me
Thy beauty is not fled,
And while thou live’st in memory
I will not call thee dead.


How helpful to my life are forest trees!
Their beauty charms me, while their strength sustains
My weakness, and to be a day with them
Is as a sweet communion-day with God.
How, like a strong man, stands the sturdy oak,
Mightier than all his fellows; yet he seems
To boast, not strength inherited, so much
As from fierce battling with the elements,
Relying not on Providence alone,
But on himself—remembering the past,
And how from feebleness he grew to strength.
Was ever king in purple and in gold
So grand as they in autumn’s coloring?
A most inspiring lesson to my life
Their beauty teacher. In it, I behold
A type of what this human life should be
When the end cometh.
Faces, I have seen,
That speak to me, e’en as these autumn leaves,
Of a rich harvest safely garnered in.
Would autumn leaves be just as richly dyed,
Did only sunshine and warm summer showers
Fall on them, and the dreary days come not?
But e’en as glory of the king may fade,
Or he be robbed of all his rich attire,
So fade and pass away their glories all,
While ever and anon the drear winds sigh
A requiem of sadness. Yet, above
The dead leaves rustling, do the days go on,
And spring-time gladness will return again.
O, in their hours of calm, do trees not dream
Of the bright days to come of bud and bloom?{56}
Thus do they speak to me, and seem to teach
The wondrous mystery of life and death.
The first spring dandelion’s bloom is more
To me than all the written word; it speaks
Directly to the soul, and seem to be
The voice of God. It is a thing of life,
And what can better solve the mystery?
It is a proof of promises fulfilled,
And bids us trust, unfalteringly, when
Again the dead leaves rustle ’neath our feet,
And the cold snow-flakes cover all we love.
O God, so many paths lead unto Thee,
’Twere strange if any soul should miss the way!