Dollie Radford

(1858-1920 / England)

In April


I
AS lightly as a filmy veil
That folds the April larch,
My tenderest joy drops like a dream
Down from the buds of March,
My dim sweet joy that fills the wood
From delicate arch to arch.
My frailest joy that draws my heart
Out from its prison bar,
Whose step is swifter and more sweet
Than all Spring's blossoms are,
My trembling joy that holds my soul
Up like a ransomed star.
What shall I do to keep my joy,
That has become so dear,
Who dare not stir to hold it close,
My joy that is so near,
That wraps me with a filmy veil
So woven in with fear.


II
IF I should lose these petals you let fall
To my stretched hand,
If through the leaf-buds I should miss them all,
And empty stand,
The April flowers their petals would recall
Throughout the land.
If I should lose these shining clouds of white
Flying like doves,
To some embowered region shut from sight
Their spirit moves,
The glory would drop out of all the light
That April loves.
If I should miss to toss my reckless heart
Up to the sky,
Through every spray your careless fingers part
As you go by,
In every budding place where blossoms start,
April would die.


III
AH, do not let your spirit fail me now,
Now while the winds are sweet,
Now while the sun slips through the willow-bough
In patterns to my feet,
While shadows like mad rivers run,
Over the grass to fly the sun,
Ah, do not fail me now.
Now while the burnished poplars swing and play,
Like sails that would be free
To reach the untravelled azure far away,
And take the aerial sea,
Yet are too joyous in a birth
That binds them to the radiant earth,
Ah, fail me not to-day.
Ah, do not fail me while the unbroken dews
Hang like a captive shower,
In vagrant places that my wanderings choose
To cherish into flower;
Ah, do not let your spirit fail
My spirit, while the hours prevail
That only love can use.


IV
MUST I walk lonely underneath the seas
Of April's blossom, watch the shining drift
Of clustered bloom through all the apple-trees,
With never an azure rift,
Look upward through the glistening cherry-bough,
For ever lonely now.
Must I go empty through sweet lanes of thorn,
And see their wands flowered in fleecy white,
Stretching through all the land now Spring is born,
To fill the fields with light,
Must I stand empty for sweet April's sake
To watch the leaf-buds break.
Now when the primrose beds are palest gold,
And cuckoo-flowers stand sentinel in the grass,
Must I see all the joys of April told,
And through them joyless pass,
In all the love that drops from April's sky,
Must I go loveless by.


V
I CALL you through the sapphire deep
That hides the folded shrouds of sleep,
Along the amethystine way
That stretches in the wake of day.
Through all the pearly lakes that soon
Flow through the skies below the moon,
Through all the heaven's wide sea of light
I call you from the caves of night.
Through all earth's bitter prayers that press
Up from its floods of loneliness,
To find some pity for their pain,
I call you to my heart again.


VI
OH, do you doubt the ways,
The paths of breaking fire,
My chariot wheels shall take these April days
With swift desire,
The road whose delicate shadows are ablaze
With quivering flames that neither drop nor tire.
Oh, do you doubt they strayed
Down from the heavenly hill,
My captive steeds whose passionate feet are made
To be so still,
Whose breath stirs tenderly as wind-flowers laid
In tremulous dreams the April moonlights fill.
Fear not my steeds shall fail
To keep their high estate,
Their foreheads are new-crowned with stars that pale
The moons of fate;
Ah, do not doubt my chariot shall avail
To bring you surely to the Eternal Gate.

Submitted: Thursday, October 07, 2010

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