Echoes from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman




CALL him a son of fantastical fortune,
With songs of elation and sighs of despair;
Say he was careless, impatient, and moody,
Fickle as water and wilful as air;

Say he would idle, procrastinate, dally,

Spend golden days without doing a thing,
Plan while his fellows made much of the present,
Smile as the opportune hour took wing;

Aware of ambition, perfection, and power,
Yet willing to loiter and let the world be;

Say there was never a reed in the river
More ready to bend to the current than he;

Say he could never refuse a companion
Bidding him in from the street to the bar,
Never resist the enchantment of pleasure,—

Joy was his captain and beauty his star;

Call him a ne’er-do-well, harlequin, dreamer,
Flash of the rocket and froth of the sea;
Say his whole life was a waste of endeavor—
Never a moment unloving of thee!


Revel of April, or ravage of winter,
What cares the mountain, broad based as the world?
Are the deeps of the ocean disturbed by the turmoil,
When tempests are loosed and tornadoes unfurled?

Nay, is the mighty sun darkened in heaven

Every time earth must revolve into night?
Do the stars wheel to a faltering measure?
Shall not the morning return to the height?

So, thou dear heart, beyond folly or failure,
Undimmed by distraction, by doubt of undismayed,

The soul of a man with the calm of an angel
Abides in the heaven thy friendship has made.