'Twould rather be begun.
I'd bet my moon against his stars,
And gamble for the sun."
XI. The Spice-tree
This is the song
The spice-tree sings:
"Hunger and fire,
Hunger and fire,
Sky-born Beauty --
Spice of desire,"
Under the spice-tree
Watch and wait,
And lads that mate.
The spice-tree spreads
And its boughs come down
Shadowing village and farm and town.
And none can see
But the pure of heart
The great green leaves
And the boughs descending,
And hear the song that is never ending.
The deep roots whisper,
The branches say: --
And love to-day,
And till Heaven's day,
And till Heaven's day."
The moon is a bird's nest in its branches,
The moon is hung in its topmost spaces.
And there, to-night, two doves play house
While lovers watch with uplifted faces.
Two doves go home
To their nest, the moon.
It is woven of twigs of broken light,
With threads of scarlet and threads of gray
And a lining of down for silk delight.
To their Eden, the moon, fly home our doves,
Up through the boughs of the great spice-tree; --
And one is the kiss I took from you,
And one is the kiss you gave to me.
XII. The Scissors-grinder
(What the Tramp Said)
The old man had his box and wheel
For grinding knives and shears.
No doubt his bell in village streets
Was joy to children's ears.
And I bethought me of my youth
When such men came around,
And times I asked them in, quite sure
The scissors should be ground.
The old man turned and spoke to me,
His face at last in view.
And then I thought those curious eyes
Were eyes that once I knew.
"The moon is but an emery-wheel
To whet the sword of God,"
He said. "And here beside my fire
I stretch upon the sod
Each night, and dream, and watch the stars
And watch the ghost-clouds go.
And see that sword of God in Heaven
A-waving to and fro.
I see that sword each century, friend.
It means the world-war comes
With all its bloody, wicked chiefs
And hate-inflaming drums.
Men talk of peace, but I have seen
That emery-wheel turn round.
The voice of Abel cries again
To God from out the ground.
The ditches must flow red, the plague
Go stark and screaming by
Each time that sword of God takes edge
Within the midnight sky.
And those that scorned their brothers here
And sowed a wind of shame
Will reap the whirlwind as of old
And face relentless flame."
And thus the scissors-grinder spoke,
His face at last in view.
*And there beside the railroad bridge
I saw the wandering Jew*.
XIII. My Lady in her White Silk Shawl
My lady in her white silk shawl
Is like a lily dim,
Within the twilight of the room
Enthroned and kind and prim.
My lady! Pale gold is her hair.
Until she smiles her faceDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>