Among the Millet

by Archibald Lampman


 

HEAT


 

From plains that reel to southward, dim,
    The road runs by me white and bare;
Up the steep hill it seems to swim
    Beyond, and melt into the glare.
Upward half way, or it may be                                                      5
    Nearer the summit, slowly steals
A hay-cart, moving dustily
    With idly clacking wheels.

By his cartís side the wagoner
    Is slouching slowly at his ease,                                              10
Half-hidden in the windless blur
    Of white dust puffing to his knees.
This wagon on the height above,
    From sky to sky on either hand,
Is the sole thing that seems to move                                         15
    In all the heat-held land.

Beyond me in the fields the sun
    Soaks in the grass and hath his will;
I count the marguerites one by one;
    Even the buttercups are still.                                                  20
On the brook yonder not a breath
    Disturbs the spider at the midge.
The water-bugs draw close beneath
    The cool gloom of the bridge.

Where the far elm-tree shadows flood                                      25
    Dark patches in the burning grass,
The cows, each with her peaceful cud,
    Lie waiting for the heat to pass.
From somewhere on the slope near by
    Into the pale depth of the noon                                               30
A wandering thrush slides leisurely
    His thin revolving tune.

In intervals of dreams I hear
    The cricket from the droughty ground;
The grass-hoppers spin into mine ear                                      35
    A small innumerable sound.
I lift my eyes somewhat to gaze:
    The burning sky-line blinds my sight:
The woods far off are blue with haze:
    The hills are drenched in light.                                               40

And yet to me not this or that
    Is always sharp or always sweet;
In the sloped shadow of my hat
    I lean at rest, and drain the heat;
Nay more, I think some blessed power                                    45
    Hath brought me wandering idly here:
In the full furnace of this hour
    My thoughts grow keen and clear.