Selected Writings of Wm Sharp, Vol 1, Poems

 

POEMS

1893-1905

 

FROM OVERSEA

From oversea---
   Violets for memories,
I send to thee;

Let them bear thoughts of me,
  With pleasant memories
To touch the heart of thee,
   Far oversea.

A little way it is for love to flee,
   Love wing'd with memories,
Hither to thither overseas

SONG

Love in my heart : oh, heart of me, heart of me!
   Love is my tyrant, Love is supreme.
What if he passeth, oh, heart of me, heart of me!
   Love is a phantom, and Life is a dream!

What if he changeth, oh, heart of me, heart of me!
   Oh, can the waters be void of the wind?
What if he wendeth afar and apart from me,
   What if he leave me to perish behind ?

What if he passeth, oh, heart of me, heart of me!
   A flame i' the dusk, a breath of Desire?
Nay, my sweet Love is the heart and the soul of me
   And I am the innermost heart of his fire!

Love in my heart : oh, heart of me, heart of me!
   Love is my tyrant, Love is supreme.
What if he passeth, oh, heart of me, heart of me!
   Love is a phantom, and Life is a dream

THE SUN LORD

   Low laughing, blithely scorning---
Beware, beware, of flaming wings,
   Love hunts thee down the morning!

   His white feet dip i' the hillside springs,
He mocks thy flying terror!
   The woodland with his laughter rings!

  
   He'll make thee his slave to follow,
Nor shall he forgive thee, maid, thine error,
   Who spied thee hid in the hollow'.

   Too late, too late the warning!
Behold the flash of flaming wings---
   Love hath thee now i' the morning!

THE SUMMER WOMAN

O wild bee humming in the gorse,
   O wild dove croodling in the woods,
Know ye not she is false as fair,
   A sweet Caprice with bitter moods?

For bitter-sweet her wild kiss is,
   And bitter-sweet her haunting voice
How oft my eyes have filled with tears
   When she hath bid me to rejoice

O loved Caprice, is thine the fault
   Or is the bitterness all mine!
Art thou the quenchless Thirst of joy
   And I the lees of thy spilt wine ?

Oh, greenness, greenness everywhere,
   Oh, whisper of green leaves, green grass,
Surely the glory is not gone,
   Surely the glory shall not pass?

I long for some lost magic thing,
   A voice, a gleam, a joy, a pain
Wild doves, your old-time strain once more,
   Wild bees, wild bees, come back again!

SYCAMORES IN BLOOM

Like flame-wing'd harps the seed blooms lie
   Amid the shadowy sycamores,
The music of each leaflet's sigh
Thrills them continually,
   The small harps of the sycamores.

Small birds innumerable find rest
   And shelter 'midst the sycamores.
Their songs (of love in a warm soft nest)
Are faintly echoed east and west
   By the red harps o' the sycamores.

The dewfall and the starshine make
   Amidst the shadowy sycamores
Sweet delicate strains; the gold beams shake
The leaves at morn, and swift awake
   The small harps of the sycamores.

O sweet Earth's music everywhere,
   Though faint as in the sycamores
Sweet when buds burst, birds pair;
Sweet when as thus there wave in the air
   The red harps of the sycamores.

SPRING'S ADVENT

The Spirit of Spring is in the air;
   The daffodils wave blithe and free
   To the wind's minstrelsy,
      And everywhere
A green rebirth involves each branchlet bare.

Already from the elm-tree boughs
   The jubilant thrush doth cry aloud
   From fallow fields new ploughed
      The plovers rouse;
In hollow holes no more the squirrels drowse.

The blackbird calls his thrilling note;
   And by each field, and copse, and glade
   The leverets race, the rabbits raid
      Where gorse-blooms float
The yellow-yite pipes o'er and o'er by rote.

In the blue arch of sky, cloud-swept,
   The unseen larks are singing;
   The green grass is springing
      While nature slept,
Leaf-crown'd, bird-haunted Spring hath hither leapt.

O joy of winds, and birds, and flowers,
   Of growing grass, of budding leaves,
   Of green and sappy sheaves,
      Of rustling showers,
Sunshine, and plenitude of marvellous hours.

Thrilled Earth beholds her golden prime
   Returned again; her heart beats swift.
   Low-laughing, as the spring winds lift
      Their songs sublime,
Mocking, she dares the circling Shadow of Time.

THE SUMMER WIND

The bugling of the summer wind
   Is sweet upon the hill :
I love to hear its eddies
   The heather-crannies fill.

It plays upon the bracken
   A blithe fanfarronade :
And thro' the moss-cups whistleth
   "The Fairy Raid."

It leaps from birch to rowan,
   And laugheth long and loud,
Then with a spring is vanished,
   And rideth on a cloud!

THE HILL WATER

There is a little brook,
I love it well:
It hath so sweet a sound
That even in dreams my ears could tell
Its music anywhere.
Often I wander there,
And leave my book
Unread upon the ground,
Eager to quell
In the hush'd air
That haunts its flowing forehead fair
All that about my heart hath wound
A trouble of care:
Or, it may be, idly to spell
Its runic music rare
And with its singing soul to share
Its ancient lore profound :
For sweet it is to be the echoing shell
That lists and inly keeps that murmurous miracle.
About it all day long
In this June-tide
There is a myriad song,
From every side
There comes a breath, a hum, a voice
The hill-wind fans it with a pleasant noise
As of sweet rustling things
That move on unseen wings,
And from the pinewood near
A floating whisper oftentimes I hear,
As when, o'er pastoral meadows wide;
Stealeth the drowsy music of a weir.
The green reeds bend above it,
The soft green grasses stoop and trail therein :
The minnows dart and spin:
The purple-gleaming swallows love it:
And, hush, its innermost depth within,
The vague prophetic murmur of the linn.

But not in summer-tide alone
I love to look
Upon this rippling water in my glen
Most sweet, most dear, my brook,
And most my own,
When the grey mists shroud every ben,
And in its quiet place
The stream doth bare her face,
And lets me pore deep down into her eyes,
Her eyes of shadowy grey,
Wherein from day to day
My soul is startled with a new surmise,
Or doth some subtler meaning trace
Reflected from unseen invisible skies.

Dear mountain-solitary, dear lonely brook,
Of hillside rains and dews the vagrant daughter,
Sweet, sweet, thy music when I bend above thee,
When in thy fugitive face I look;
Yet not the less I love thee,
When, far away, and absent from thee long,
I yearn, my dark hill-water,
I yearn, I strain to hear thy song,
Brown, wandering water,
Dear, murmuring water!

RAINBOW-SHIMMER

To-day upon the hillside
   I saw a golden fairy;
Her name is Rainbow-Shimmer,
   But for you and me she's Mary.

For Mary is the mother
   Of all sweet souls that be,
From the angels in heaven
   To the best fish in the sea.

And of all sweet souls that are,
   Fairies are the rarest,
And Mary was a star
   Among the fairest.

She had a golden kingcup
   Her little golden head,
For dress she had a daisy white
   Just tipped with red.

She danced upon a clover leaf
   Still ashine with dew
And the blue sky above was not
   As her blue eyes so blue.

Her partner was a sunbeam,
   A partner wild and wary,
Whose reel might even tire
   The patience of a fairy.

Ah, how the two went dancing
   Among the dewy clover;
I would that you were Mary
   And I your sunbeam lover!

"Stop, Mary, stop," I whispered,
   "Be not so wild and wary,
I know a little lassie
Who'd dearly love a fairy!"

But in a twink she vanished,
   The dewshine dance was over!
Ah, her twinkling laughter
   With her sunbeam lover!

But, hush! Her hiding-place
   Is not so far apart :
I'll tell you where it is, dear,
   It's deep in Mother's heart.

THE YELLOWHAMMER'S SONG

Out on the waste, a little lonely bird, I flit and I sing;
My breast is yellow as sunshine, and light as the wind my wing.

The golden gorse me shelters, in the tufted grass is my nest,
And Sweet, sweet, sweet the world, though the wind blow east or west.

The harebells chime their music, the canna floats white in the breeze :
But as for me, I flit to and fro and I sing at my ease.

When the thyme is dripping with dew, and the hill-wind beareth along
The pungent scent of the gale, loudly I sing my morning song.

When the sun beats on the gorse, the broom, and the budding heather,
I flit from spray to spray, and my song is of the golden weather.

When the moor-fowl sink to their rest, and the sky is soft rose-red,
I sing of the crescent moon and the single star overhead.

Out on the waste, out on the waste, I flit all day as I sing,
Sweet, sweet, sweet is the woyld---dear world---how beautiful everything!

Only a little lonely bird that loveth the moorland waste,
And little perhaps of the joy of the world is that which I taste;

But out on the wild, free moorlands or the gold gorse-boughs I swing;
And Sweet, sweet, sweet the world; oh, sweet! ah, sweet! the song that I sing.

THE SONG OF THE SEA-WIND

King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea,
When thou sweepest abroad thy voice crieth;
Crieth the anguish of living souls
As with the wild storm-rapt soughing of the oaks.

Breath of the world, O bitter breath,
King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea!

King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea,
Hitherward blow, by our doors, through our souls.
Blow, blow, Euroclydon . . . and as dead leaves
Whirl seaward vain hopes and perishing dreams.

Breath of the world, O bitter breath,
King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea!

King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea,
Uplift us, resurge us out with thy waves,
Out on thine infinite heaving breast
Where not a wave breaks but is higher than hope.

Breath of the world, O bitter breath,
King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea!

King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea,
In the sweep and shadow of mighty wings
Whirl far this Dream that is life, afar
To the Shores of joy or the Coasts of Night.

Breath of the world, O bitter breath,
King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea

King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea,
Before thee my heart bows, for it may be that God---
Yea, that it is Thee, O God, who Passeth by,
Voicing Thy Word to our souls out of infinite space---

Eternal Breath, O bitter-sweet Breath,
Lord of all winds, O Wind of the Sea!

SPANISH ROSES

Roses, roses,
Yellow and red;
A rose for the living,
A rose for the dead
Who'll sip their dew?
There are only a few
Of the yellow and red:
Youth sells its roses
Ere youth is sped.

Roses, roses,
All for delight;
What of the night ?
Hark, the tramp, tramp,
The scabbard's clamp,
The flaring lamp!
Where is the morning dew?
Ah, only a few
Drank ere the yellow and red
Lay shrivelled, shrivelled,
Over the dead.

Roses, roses,
Buy, oh buy.
The years fly;
'Tis the time of roses.
Here are posies
For one and all;
For lovers that sigh
And for lovers that die
And for Love's pall
And burial!

Roses, roses, roses, buy, buy, oh buy!
Why delay, why delay, roses also die.
Pink and yellow, blood-red, snow-white,
Roses for dayspring, roses for night!

Buy, buy, oh my roses buy!
A kiss for a kiss, and a sigh for a sigh!

THE SEA-BORN VINE

      (A Dionysiac Legend)

The sun leapt up the rose-flushed sky
   And yellowed all the sea's pale blue
      The Tyrrhene crew
Uprose and hailed the God on high.

But Dionysos made no sign
   The shipmen hailed their Lord again,
      Acclaimed His reign,
Then stared upon their guest divine.

"The deep shall swallow thee, fair sir
   The sea-things shall make thee their prey---
      The God obey
Or meet swift death ere thou canst stir!"

"Ere ye arose, my spirit bowed
  To the Great God unrisen then:---
     Take heed, O men,
  Your clamour grow not overloud."

"A priest of Bacchus thou! Behold:
  On sea-wave here could whelm thy God---
      His mystic rod
  Would float foam-crown'd 'mid this wave-gold."

"Ai EvoŽ! Thy voice might fill
   The waste of sea, the waste of sky,
      Yet thou wouldst die,
Thy god supine on some green hill!"

Ai EvoŽ! The cry thrilled wide
   The startled rowers shrank---they saw
      With trembling awe
The conscious waters surge aside.

Ai EvoŽ! The waves turn green ;
   In tendril masses twist and twine  
      A mighty vine
Uprises and o'erhead doth lean:

Ai EvoŽ! The tendrils cling
   About the shipmen as they swim
      The Bacchic hymn
The waves chant and the wild winds sing.

EvoŽ! Dionysos cries,
   The seamen and the boat no more
      The shingly shore
Shall feel 'neath known or alien skies.

Blue dolphins guide the wave-born vine
   To caves near mystic Ind:
      Only the wind
Murmurs for aye the tale divine.

Ye who deride the gods, beware
   They are with us evermore; they brook
      No scornful look;
Their vengeance fills our mortal air.

Yea, of the jealous gods, take heed:
   One day the earth or sea shall ope
      And vanquish hope
Ai EvoŽ be vain indeed!

VENILIA

Exspirare rosas, decrescere lilia vidi . . .
                                                   CLAUDIAN.

Along the faint shores of the foamless gulf
I see pale lilies droop, wan roses fall,
And Silence stilling the uplifted wave.

And in the movement of the uplifted wave,
And ere the rose fall, or the lily breathe,
Silence becomes a lonely voice, like hers,
Venilia's, who when love was given wings
And far off flight, mourned ceaseless as a dove,
Till bitter Circe made her but a voice
Still lingering as a fragrance in dim woods
When on the gay wind swims the yellow leaf.

ON A NIGHTINGALE IN APRIL

The yellow moon is a dancing phantom
   Down secret ways of the flowing shade
And the waveless stream has a murmuring whisper
      Where the alders wave.

Not a breath, not a sigh, save the slow stream's whisper:
   Only the moon is a dancing blade
That leads a host of the Crescent warriors
       To a phantom raid.

Out of the Lands of Faerie a summons,
   A long, strange cry that thrills through the glade :---
The grey-green glooms of the elm are stirring,
       Newly afraid.

Last heard, white music, under the olives
   Where once Theocritus sang and played---

Thy Thracian song is the old new wonder
      O moon-white maid!

THE DIRGE OF THE REPUBLIC

(In Memoriam.---E. Z.)

In the great days men heard afar the clarions
   of Hope rejoice :
The hearts of men were shaken as reeds by
   the wind of a Voice.
But now the roll of muffled drums drowns
   'mid the last Retreat
The wild fanfare of perishing hopes, the
   tramp of passing feet.

The winds of heaven are banners lost, are
   pennons of dismay;
The innumerous legion of the sun toils on
   in disarray ;
The moon that carries freight of gold to
   ransom forth the morn
Sails desolate beneath a myriad starry eyes
   of scorn.

Wild rhetoric, yes: but who shall say what
   metaphors of pain
Are fit for the funeral dirge of a Republic slain?
High hopes, faiths, dreams, great passions,
   aspirations,
Prove but the trodden, useless, bitter dust of
   weary nations!

That which was great is fallen, that which
   was high is low:
The rising star has sunk again, but in a
   blood-red glow:
The hundred thousand souls that died before
   the golden prime
Did well, for it is well to miss the Ironies of
  Time.

Faith, Honour, Love, the Noble and the
   True,
These lofty words are pawns of an ignoble
   crew
How better far to light the Torch with
   flames of cheap desire
Than thus to mock the eyes of man with  
   stolen fire!

There is no State broad-based enough upon
   the People's heart
That some day may not hunted be by the
   people's dart :
The rebel nerves, the rebel lusts, the rebel
   hounds of life---
If these be loosened from the whip they
   turn to fratricidal strife.

Is this the end of all high dreams above
   thrones trampled under?
Is this the tinsel chorus left after the noble
   thunder?
'Twere better, then, than thus to live, thus
   forfeit high renown,
To be true men, and free, "beneath the
   shadow of a Crown"!

INTO THE SILENCE

      (A Death in the West Highlands)

Ungather'd lie the peats upon the moss;
   No more is heard the shaggy pony's hoof;
   The thin smoke curls no more above the roof;
Unused the brown-sailed boat doth idly toss
At anchor in the Kyle ; and all across
   The strath the collie scours without reproof;
   The gather'd sheep stand wonderingly aloof;
And everywhere there is a sense of loss.
"Has Sheumais left for over sea? Nay, sir,
  A se'nnight since a gloom came over him;
  He sicken'd, and his gaze grew vague and dim;
Three days ago we found he did not stir.
He has gone into the Silence. 'Neath yon fir
   He lies, and waits the Lord in darkness grim."

THE HILL-ROAD TO ARDMORE

There's the hill-road to Ardmore, Mary,
   Here's the glen-road to Ardstrae:
Your home is younder, Mary,
   And mine lies this way.

Will you come by the glen, Mary,
   Or go the hill-road to Ardmore?
It is now and as you will, Mary,
   For I will ask no more.

'Tis but a score years, Mary;
   Since I bade you to Ardstrae;
And now you are not there, Mary
   Nor walk the hill-side way.

Is it only a score years, Mary,
   Since we parted by the shore,
And I watched you go, Mary,
   By the hill-road to Ardmore?

WHITE ROSE

Far in the inland valleys,
   The Spring her secret tells;
The roses lift on the bushes,
   The lilies shake their bells.

To a lily of the valley
   A white rose leans from above
"Little white flower o'the valley,
   Come up and be my love."

To the lily of the valley
   A speedwell whispers, "No!
Where the roses live are thorns,
   'Tis safe below."

The lily clomb to the rose-bush,
   A thorn in her side:
The white rose has wedded a red rose,
   And the lily died.

ECHOES OF JOY

Only a song of joy
   Wind-blown over the heather,
Somewhere two little hearts
   Thrill and throb together.

Ah, far 'mid the nethermost spheres
   Life and Death live together;
And deep is their love, without tears,
For they laugh at the shadowss of years---
And yet there rings in my ears
      Only a song of joy
   Wind-blown over the heather.

WHEN THE GREENNESS IS COME AGAIN

The west wind lifts the plumes of the fir,
   The west wind swings on the pine;
In the sun-and-shadow the cushats stir;
   For the breath of Spring is a wine
      That fills the wood,
      That thrills the blood,
When the glad March sun doth shine.

When the strong May sun is a song, a song,
   A song in the good green world,
Then the little green leaves wax long
   And the little fern-fronds are uncurl'd
   The banners of green are all unfurl'd,
And the wind goes marching along, along,
The wind goes marching along
   The good green world.

IT HAPPENED IN MAY

A maid forsaken
   A white prayer offered
Under the snow of the apple-blossom
   To whom was it proffered?
By whom was it taken?
      Well, I suppose
      Nobody knows.

But somehow, the snows
Of the apple-blossom
   Were changed one day.
A kiss was offered,
      A kiss was taken
   And lo! when the maiden looked shyly away,
      Of bloom of the apple the boughs were forsaken!
But whiter and sweeter grew orange-blossom!
      Now this is quite true, I say,
      And it happened in May.

NIGHTINGALE LANE

Down through the thicket, out of the hedges,
   A ripple of music singeth a tune . . .
      Like water that falls
      From mossy ledges
   With a soft low croon:
         Soon
   It will cease!
   No, it falls but to rise--but to rise---but to rise!
It is over the thickets, it leaps in the trees,
   It swims like a star in the purple-black skies!
      Ah, once again,
      With its rapture and pain,
   The nightingale singeth under the moon!

BLOSSOM OF SNOW

"Sing a song of blossom,"
Said little Marjory Brown:
"Why won't it come down,
Here in the town,
      Please?"
Said little Marjory Brown.

      "Please,
Wind, blow just a breath, for me
         To see
   The great white apple-blossoms blow
   Just like snow---
Just like snow in our garden before we
   Came back to town,"
   Said little Marjory Brown.

All day and all night
   A wind did blow,
   Marjory laughed at the flying snow
      And its whirling riot:
But at dawn she grew wan and white,
      And was quiet .
And the doctor said,,
With his hand on a bowed sobbing head,
   "Too late you came up to town
   With little Marjory Brown."

THE DANDELION

A thousand poets have sung the Rose,
      The daisy white, the heather,
   The green grass we lie on
      In summer weather . . .
Of almost every flower that grows,
   But never of the Dandelion,
That the winds of Spring have scattered
      hither and thither!

Is there any more fair to see
   Than this bright fellow
      Who, also, "takes the winds of March
        with beauty"?
   True his coat in a vulgar yellow,
      And his is a very humble duty . . .
          Merely to be
As joyous as a wave on the sea,
A wave dancing on the great sea,-
Merely to be bright, sunshiny, glad, strong
      and free,
   As free as a beggar, as proud as a king!

And so, quite as good as the Rose,
   The daisy white, the heather,
      The green grass we lie on
   In summer weather,
Is that flame of the feet of Spring,
      The Dandelion?

THE DREAM-WIND

    (Written for Music)

When, like a sleeping child
   Or a bird in the nest,
The day is gathered
   To the earth's breast . . .
Hush! . . . 'tis the Drearn-Wind
      Breathing peace,
      Breathing rest,
   Out of the Gardens of Sleep in the West.

Oh, come to me, wandering
   Wind of the West!
Grey doves of slumber
   Come hither to rest! . . .
Hush ! . . . now the wings cease
      Below the dim trees . . .
   And the White Rose of Rest
   Breathes low in the Gardens of Sleep in the
      West.

TRIAD

From the Silence of Time, Time's Silence borrow.
In the heart of To-day is the word of Tomorrow.
The Builders of joy are the Children of Sorrow.

IN MEMORIAM

He laughed at Life's Sunset Gate
   With vanishing breath:
Glad soul, who went with the Sun
   To the Sunrise of Death.

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