Lizette Woodworth Reese
To A Town Poet - Poem by Lizette Woodworth Reese
Snatch the departing mood;
Make yours its emptying reed, and pipe us still
Faith in the time, faith in our common blood,
Faith in the least of good:
Song cannot fail if these its spirits fill!
What if your heritage be
The huddled trees along the smoky ways;
At a street’s end the stretch of lilac sea;
The vender, swart but free,
Crying his yellow wares across the haze?
Your verse awaits you there;
For Love is Love though Latin swords be rust,
The keen Greek driven from gossipping mall and square;
And Care is still but Care
Though Homer and his seven towns are dust.
Thus Beauty lasts, and, lo!
Now Proserpine is barred from Enna’s hills,
The flower she plucked yet makes an April show,
Sets some town still a-glow,
And yours the Vision of the Daffodils.
The Old-World folk knew not
More surge-like sounds than urban winters bring
Up from the wharves at dusk to every spot;
And no Sicilian plot
More fire than heaps our tulips in the spring.
Strait is the road of Song,
And they that be the last are oft the first;
Fret not for fame; the years are kind though long;
You, in the teasing throng,
May take all time with one shrewd lyric burst.
Be reverend and know
Ill shall not last, or waste the ploughëd land;
Or creeds sting timid souls; and naught at all,
Whatever else befall,
Can keep us from the hollow of God’s hand.
Let trick of words be past;
Strict with the thought, unfearful of the form,
So shall you find the way and hold it fast,
The world hear, at the last,
The horns of morning sound above the storm.
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