Harriet Monroe

(23 December 1860 – 26 September 1936 / Chicago, Illinois)

A Letter To One Far Away


Dear Wanderer—
The sky is gray,
With flecks of blue
The clouds rush over.
A bird is singing
Far away,
And butterflies
Taste of the clover.
Under the trees
My hammock swings,
And a brave breeze—
The restless rover—
Flutters the leaves
And stirs the grasses
And, whispering riddles,
Lightly passes.
Day after day
My friend and I
Climb up the hills
And search the valleys;
Dip in the brook
That ripples by
And through clear pools
Serenely dallies.
All green and gold,
All song and sweetness,
The old earth is
For summer's pleasure;
Who kisses and goes,
Whose love is fleetness,
Who gives but a season
But gives without measure.
Away with time!—
His wand I capture,
He rules no more
For this brief minute.
The years are gone—
Once more the rapture,
The night of stars
With the secret in it.
Ah, if you were here
Should I grant, I wonder,
The whole round truth
For a birthday token—
How today, tomorrow,
Together, asunder,
We are—no, hush!—
It is best unspoken.
Oh, the truest truth—
No words dare say it!
It hides in the heart
From the poor tongue's treason;
And the deepest joy—
We may never pray it.
It comes and goes
With nor rule nor reason.
Look up!—the sun
Through the clouds' gray portal!
And see—white plumes
In the blue below it!
Behold the dream,
Wide-winged, immortal!
Did I hear your voice?
You are here—I know it!

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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