Willa Sibert Cather

(1873-1947 / United States)

Arcadian Winter - Poem by Willa Sibert Cather

WOE is me to tell it thee,
Winter winds in Arcady!
Scattered is thy flock and fled
From the glades where once it fed,
And the snow lies drifted white
In the bower of our delight,
Where the beech threw gracious shade
On the cheek of boy and maid:
And the bitter blasts make roar
Through the fleshless sycamore.

White enchantment holds the spring,
Where thou once wert wont to sing,
And the cold hath cut to death
Reeds melodious of thy breath.
He, the rival of thy lyre,
Nightingale with note of fire,
Sings no more; but far away,
From the windy hill-side gray,
Calls the broken note forlorn
Of an aged shepherd's horn.

Still about the fire they tell
How it long ago befell
That a shepherd maid and lad
Met and trembled and were glad;
When the swift spring waters ran,
And the wind to boy or man
Brought the aching of his sires--
Song and love and all desires.
Ere the starry dogwoods fell
They were lovers, so they tell.

Woe is me to tell it thee,
Winter winds in Arcady!
Broken pipes and vows forgot,
Scattered flocks returning not,
Frozen brook and drifted hill,
Ashen sun and song-birds still;
Songs of summer and desire
Crooned about the winter fire;
Shepherd lads with silver hair,
Shepherd maids no longer fair.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010



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