Grace Hazard Conkling

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Grace Hazard Conkling Poems

THE nightingales of Flanders,
They had not gone to war;
A soldier heard them singing

I have an understanding with the hills
At evening when the slanted radiance fills
Their hollows, and the great winds let them be,
And they are quiet and look down at me.

And did thy sapphire shallop slip
Its moorings suddenly, to dip

Adown the clear, ethereal sea

ENOUGH has been said about roses
To fill thirty thick volumes;
There are as many songs about roses
As there are roses in the world

(Killed in action July 31, 1917)

Nevermore singing
Will you go now,

Dark on the gold west,
Mexico hung inscrutable like a curtain of heavy velvet
Before a lighted shrine.
Black on the west

I will not give thee all my heart
For that I need a place apart
To dream my dreams in, and I know

Oh, cut me reeds to blow upon,
   Or gather me a star,
But leave the sultry passion-flowers
   Growing where they are.

The little rose is dust, my dear;
The elfin wind is gone
That sang a song of silver words
And cooled our hearts with dawn.

The cretonne in your willow chair
Shows through a zone of rosy air,
A tree of parrots, agate-eyed,
With blue-green crests and plumes of pride

A wingèd death has smitten dumb thy bells,
And poured them molten from thy tragic towers:
Now are the windows dust that were thy flowers

MOTHER, the poplars cross the moon;
The road runs on, so white and far,
We shall not reach the city soon:
Oh, tell me where we are!”

Over the ridge at last
There stood the sea, like a far blue tower
That held the sun, a great bell swung aloft
Under the hollow sky.

I dip my hands in April among your faces tender,
O woven of blue air and ecstasies of light!

Grace Hazard Conkling Biography

Grace Hazard was born on February 7, 1878 in New York to Christopher Grant Hazard and Frances Post Hazard. Having cultivated a skill and love for music from a young age, Conkling dreamed of devoting her life to music. After receiving a B.L. from Smith College in 1899, she spent a year teaching at the Graham School in New York before traveling to Europe where she studied music and languages in Germany and France, studying the organ with the illustrious Charles-Marie Widor. However, in her second year she fell ill from overwork and was forced to abandon the idea of music as a profession. She returned to the United States where she married Roscoe Platt Conkling in 1905 and moved to a remote ranch near Tampico, Mexico. Conkling cherished the time she spent there and Mexico is referred to in many of her poems. After the birth of her second child, her husband deserted her and the children, and in 1914 she sued for divorce and accepted a teaching position at Smith College. During her lifetime, Conkling published numerous collections of poetry, including Afternoons of April (1915), Wilderness Songs (1920), Ships Log and Other Poems (1924), Flying Fish: A Book of Songs and Sonnets (1926), and Witch and Other Poems (1928). In addition to poetry, Conkling also wrote essays, including the monograph “Imagination and Children's Reading” (1921). She also transcribed her daughter Hilda’s early childhood poems, which were published as the collection Poems by a Little Girl (1920). She was also a member of the Poetry Society of America, the N.E. Poetry Society, the Author's Club of Boston, and the Women's University Club of New York. In 1930, Conkling was awarded an honorary MA from Smith College. She died on November 15, 1958 and was survived by her two daughters and three grandchildren. Smith College awards a poetry residency in her name, and a selection of her papers is housed in the archives of their library.)

The Best Poem Of Grace Hazard Conkling

The Nightingale Of Flanders

'Le rossignol n'est pas mobilise.'
--A French Soldier

THE nightingales of Flanders,
They had not gone to war;
A soldier heard them singing
Where they had sung before.

The earth was torn and quaking,
The sky about to fall;
The nightingales of Flanders,
They minded not at all.

At intervals we heard them
Between the guns, he said,
Making a thrilling music
Above the listening dead.

Of woodland and of orchard
And roadside tree bereft,
The nightingales of Flanders
Were singing 'France is left!'

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