Selected Writings of Wm Sharp, Vol. 1, Poems

 

TRANSCRIPTS
FROM NATURE

(FROM "THE HUMAN INHERITANCE"
AND "EARTH'S VOICES")

1882-1886

 

WILD ROSES

Against the dim hot summer blue
    Yon wave of white wild-roses lies,
    Watching with listless golden eyes
The green leaves shutting out their view,
    The tiny leaves whose motions bright
    Are like small wings of emerald light:

White butterflies like snow-flakes fall
And brown bees drone their honey-call.

THE EBBING TIDE

A long low gurgle down the strand,
    The sputtering of the drying wrack
    The tide is slowly ebbing back
With listless murmuring from the land,
    And the small waves reluctant flow
    Where the broad-bosomed currents go.

The sea has fall'n asleep, and lies
Dense blue beneath the dense blue skies.

DAWN AMID SCOTCH FIRS

The furtive lights that herald dawn
    Are shimmering 'mid the steel-blue firs;
    A slow awakening wind half stirs
And the long branches breathe upon;
    The east grows clearer---clearer---lo,
    The day is born! A refluent flow

Of silver waves along each tree
For one brief moment darlingly

A DEAD CALM AND MIST

(Towards evening)

The slow heave of the sleeping sea
    With pulse-like motion swells and falls,
    And drowsily a stray gull calls
The very wail of melancholy;
    All day the moveless mist has slept
    On the same bosom east winds swept:

No breath of change in the grey mist,
Save just a dream of amethyst.

TANGLED SUNRAYS

Aslant from yonder sunlit hill
    The lance-like sunrays stream across
    The meadows where the king-cups toss
I' the wind, and where the beech-leaves thrill
    With flooding light they twist and turn
    And seem to interlace and burn,

Until at last in tangle spun
'Mid the damp grass their race is run.

LOCH CORUISK (SKYE)

The bleak and barren mountains keep
    A never-ending gloom around
    The lonely loch; the winds resound,
The rains beat down, the tempests sweep,
    The days are calm and dark and still,---
    No other changes Coruisk fill.

Scarce living sound is heard, save high
The eagle's scream or wild swan's cry.

SUNRISE ABOVE BROAD 
    
WHEAT- FIELDS

The pale tints of the twilight fields
    Have turnÚd into burnished gold,
    For waves of yellow light have rolled
From the open'd east across the wealds
    While 'mid the wheat spires far behind
    Stirs lazily the awaken'd wind.

A skylark high (a song-made bird)
Sings as though God his singing heard.

PHOSPHORESCENT SEA

The sea scarce heaves in its calm sleep,
    The wind has not awakened yet
    Tho' in its dreams it seems to fret
For, ever and again, the deep
    Hearkens a sigh that steals along
    As might some echo of sad song:

Ah, there the wind stirs! Lo, the dark
Dim sea's on fire around our barque.

A GREEN WAVE

Between the salt sea-send before
    And all the flowing gulfs behind,
    Half lifted by the rising wind,
Half eager for the ungain'd shore,
    A great green wave of shining light
    Sweeps onward crowned with dazzling white:

Above, the east wind shreds the sky
With plumes from the grey clouds that fly.

A CRYSTAL FOREST

The air is blue and keen and cold,
    With snow the roads and fields are white
    But here the forest's clothed with light
And in a shining sheath enrolled.
    Each branch, each twig, each blade of grass,
    Seems clad miraculously with glass:

Above the ice-bound streamlet bends
Each frozen fern with crystal ends.

THE WASP

Where the ripe pears droop heavily
    The yellow wasp hums loud and long
    His hot and drowsy autumn song:
A yellow flame he seems to be,
    When darting suddenly from high
    He lights where fallen peaches lie

Yellow and black, this tiny thing's
A tiger-soul on elfin wings.

AN AUTUMNAL EVENING

Deep black against the dying glow
    The tall elms stand; the rooks are still;
    No windbreath makes the faintest thrill
Amongst the leaves; the fields below
    Are vague and dim in twilight shades---
    Only the bats wheel in their raids

On the grey flies, and silently
Great dusky moths go flitting by.

A WINTER HEDGEROW

The wintry wolds are white; the wind
    Seems frozen; in the shelter'd nooks
    The sparrows shiver; the black rooks
Wheel homeward where the elms behind
    The manor stand; at the field's edge
    The redbreasts in the blackthorn hedge

Sit close and under snowy eaves
The shrewmice sleep 'mid nested leaves.

THE ROOKERY AT SUNRISE

The lofty ehn-trees darkly dream
    Against the steel-blue sky; till far
    I' the twilit east a golden star
O'erbrims the dusk in one vast stream
    Of yellow light, and lo! a cry
    Breaks from the windy nest---the sky

Is filled with wheeling rooks---they sway
In one black phalanx towards the day.

MOONRISE

The first snows of the year lie white
    Upon the branches bending low;
    A surging wind the flakes doth blow
Before the coming feet of Night--
    Half dusk, half day, betwixt the pines
    Green-yellow the full moon reclines

Green-yellow, and now wholly green,
While faint the windy stars are seen.

FIREFLIES

Softly sailing emerald lights
    Above the cornfields come and go,
    Listlessly wandering to and fro
The magic of these July nights
    Has surely even pierced down deep
    Where the earth's jewels unharmed sleep,

And filled with fire the emeralds there
And raised them thus to the outer air.

THE CRESCENT MOON

As though the Power that made the Nautilus
    A living glory o'er seas perilous
    Scathless to roam, had from the utmost deep
Called a vast flawless pearl from out its sleep
    And carv'd it crescent-wise, exceeding fair,---
    So seems the crescent moon that thro' the air

With motionless motion glides from out the West,
And sailing onward ever seems at rest.

THE EAGLE

Between two mighty hills a sheer
    Abyss---far down in the ravine
    A thread-like torrent and a screen
Of oaks like shrubs-and one doth rear
    A dry scarp'd peak above all sound
    Save windy voices wailing round:

At sunrise here, in proud disdain
The eagle scans his vast domain.

 

A VENETIAN SUNSET: BEFORE A
                         CHANGE

(Returning from Torcello)

In violet hues each dome and spire
    Stands outlined against flawless rose;
    O'er this a carmine ocean flows
Streak'd with pure gold and amber fire,
    And through the sea of sundown mist
    Float isles of melted amethyst:

Storm-portents, saffron streamers rise,
Fan-like, from Venice to the skies,

EMPIRE (PERSEPOLIS)

The yellow waste of yellow sands,
    The bronze haze of a scorching sky!
    Lo, what are these that broken lie;
Were these once temples made with hands
    Once towers and palaces that knew
    No hint of that which one day threw

Their greatness to the winds---made this
The memory of Persepolis?

 

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