Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

(23 September 1861 – 25 August 1907)

Chillingham


I
Through the sunny garden
The humming bees are still;
The fir climbs the heather,
The heather climbs the hill.

The low clouds have riven
A little rift through.
The hill climbs to heaven,
Far away and blue.

II

O the high valley, the little low hill,
And the cornfield over the sea,
The wind that rages and then lies still,
And the clouds that rest and flee!

O the gray island in the rainbow haze,
And the long thin spits of land,
The roughening pastures and the stony ways,
And the golden flash of the sand!

O the red heather on the moss-wrought rock,
And the fir-tree stiff and straight,
The shaggy old sheep-dog barking at the flock,
And the rotten old five-barred gate!

O the brown bracken, the blackberry bough,
The scent of the gorse in the air!
I shall love them ever as I love them now,
I shall weary in Heaven to be there!


III

Strike, Life, a happy hour, and let me live
But in that grace!
I shall have gathered all the world can give,
Unending Time and Space!

Bring light and air--the thin and shining air
Of the North land,
The light that falls on tower and garden there,
Close to the gold sea-sand.

Bring flowers, the latest colours of the earth,
Ere nun-like frost
Lay her hard hand upon this rainbow mirth,
With twinkling emerald crossed.

The white star of the traveller's joy, the deep
Empurpled rays that hide the smoky stone,
The dahlia rooted in Egyptian sleep,
The last frail rose alone.

Let music whisper from a casement set
By them of old,
Where the light smell of lavender may yet
Rise from the soft loose mould.

Then shall I know, with eyes and ears awake,
Not in bright gleams,
The joy my Heavenly Father joys to make
For men who grieve, in dreams!

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

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