William Dean Howells

(1837-1920 / United States)

Earliest Spring

Poem by William Dean Howells

TOSSING his mane of snows in wildest eddies and tangles,
   Lion-like March cometh in, hoarse, with tempestuous breath,
Through all the moaning chimneys, and 'thwart all the hollows and
   Round the shuddering house, threating of winter and death.

But in my heart I feel the life of the wood and the meadow
   Thrilling the pulses that own kindred with fibres that lift
Bud and blade to the sunward, within the inscrutable shadow,
   Deep in the oak's chill core, under the gathering drift.

Nay, to earth's life in mine some prescience, or dream, or desire
   (How shall I name it aright?) comes for a moment and goes--
Rapture of life ineffable, perfect--as if in the brier,
   Leafless there by my door, trembled a sense of the rose.

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Read poems about / on: winter, rose, house, dream, death, spring, life, heart

Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 4, 2003