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Alexander Anderson

(1845-1909 / Scotland)

Summer Invocation

Come forth, and bring with thee a mind
That rises to the poet's mood;
And leave the village far behind,
And spend an hour within the wood;

For there the flowers begin to peer—
Sweet primroses that ever seem
The glowing eyes of the New Year
Lit up with Summer and her dream.

And violets that scarce are seen
Until you stoop, with patient eye,
And see them in their lowly mien,
Blue droplets shaken from the sky.

Come forth, so that thy soul again
May talk a while with quiet things
That living far apart from men,
Have in them Love's untamper'd springs.

I heard the voice—like one who dreams
I went forth, having in my breast
A stirring quiet, like the streams
When pausing for a little rest.

I reach the wood, and all around
The yearly mystery of birth
Unfolds itself without a sound,
And broadens over all the earth.

The buds in virgin greenness burst
And swell beneath the kindly skies
All pure as when they grew at first,
Upon the boughs in Paradise.

The grass grows up, and in the wind
Waves tiny fingers to and fro,
As if distraught to probe and find
The secret of its life below.

I lay myself within the shade,
I close my eyes, but in my ear
Voices and many sounds invade,
With whispers which I like to hear.

For strange it is that as I lie,
The wind, that leaves no footstep, seems
The spirit of that melody
Which gave my boyhood all its dreams.

And as I listen, like a song
Dear lips have sung in other years,
There comes, with fragrance pure and strong,
From pent-up sources—sweetest tears.

I weep, and yet I know not why,
For joy is hand in hand with pain;
Perchance it is to think how dry
Our hearts remain for all such rain.

Or maybe of that other time,
When youth uprising boldly said,
'I will sow seed in noble prime,'
Alas! and tears have grown instead.

But still, as here I lie to-day,
Seeing the new life quicken all,
The old hard feeling slips away,
And I am under softer thrall,

I look, and from the slightest thing
That God has fashion'd with His hand;
New thoughts and meanings upward spring
That are not hard to understand.

And as I think and slowly slip
Backward to all that early time,
I feel a prayer upon my lip,
And in my heart a holier rhyme,

Until all freshen'd, as with dews
That fall not from the sky above,
But from some angel's eyes, I lose
The old self in a nobler love.

And I can look, as now I view
The buds and grass, and singing birds,
On men, and know their purpose too,
And wed my thoughts to nobler words.

I leave the wood all firm and bold,
And whisper as through fields I pass—
'Dear Heaven, that heart is never old
That takes an interest in the grass—

That hears in every lowly thing
That spring has waken'd with her call
A God-taught melody, that sings,
And gives a key-note unto all.'

Submitted: Wednesday, April 09, 2014

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