Ina D. Coolbrith

(1842-1928 / Nauvoo, Illinois (Josephine D. Smith))

A Song Of The Summer Wind


Balmily, balmily, summer wind,
Sigh through the mountain-passes,
Over the sleep of the beautiful deep,
Over the woods’ green masses;
Ripple the grain of the valley and plain,
And the reeds and the river grasses!

How many songs, O summer wind,
How many songs you know,
Of fair, sweet things in your wanderings,
As over the earth you go-
To the Norland bare and bleak, from where
The red south roses blow.

Where the red south blossoms blow, O wind,
(Sing low to me, low and silly!)
And the golden green of the citrons lean
To the white of the saintly lily;
Where the sun-rays drowse in the orange-boughs,
(Sing, sing, for the heart grows chilly!)
And the belted bee hangs heavily
In rose and daffodilly.

I know a song, O summer wind,
A song of a willow-tree:
Soft as the sweep of its fringes deep
In languorous swoons of tropic noons,
But sad as sad can be!
Yet I would you might sing it, summer wind,
I would you might sing it me.

(O, tremulous, musical murmur of leaves!
O mystical melancholy
Of waves that call from the far sea-wall! -
Shall I render your meaning wholly
Ere the day shall wane to the night again,
And the stars come, slowly, slowly?)

I would you might sing me, summer wind,
A song of a little chamber:
Sing soft, sing low, how the roses grow
And the starry jasmines clamber;
Through the emerald rifts how the moonlight drifts,
And the sulight’s wellow amber.

Sing of a hand in the fluttering leaves,
Like a wee white bird in its nest;
Of a white hand twined in the leaves to find
A bloom for the fair young breast.
Sing of my love, my little love,
My snow-white dove in her nest,
As she looks through the fragrant jasmine leaves
Into the wasting west.

Tenderly. Tenderly, summer wind,
With murmurous word-caresses,
O, wind of the south, to her beautiful mouth
Did you cling with your balmy kisses-
Flutter and float o’er the white, white throat,
And ripple the golden tresses?

“The long year growth from green to gold, ”
Saith the song of the willow-tree;
“My tresses cover, my roots enfold.”
O, summer wind, sing it me!
Lorn and dreary, sad and weary,
As lovers that parted be___
But sweet as the grace of a fair young face
I never again may see!

Submitted: Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Edited: Friday, July 11, 2008

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