Echoes from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman


 

THE URBAN PAN


 

ONCE more the magic days are come
With stronger sun and milder air;
The shops are full of daffodils;
There’s golden leisure everywhere.
I heard my Lou this morning shout:
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“Here comes the hurdy-gurdy man!”
And through the open window caught
The piping of the urban Pan.

I laid my wintry task aside,
And took a day to follow joy:

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The trail of beauty and the call
That lured me when I was a boy.
I looked, and there looked up at me
A smiling, swarthy, hairy man
With kindling eye—and well I knew
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The piping of the urban Pan.

He caught my mood; his hat was off;
I tossed the ungrudged silver down.
The cunning vagrant, every year
He casts his spell upon the town!

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And we must fling him, old and young,
Our dimes or coppers, as we can;
And every heart must leap to hear
The piping of the urban Pan.

The music swells and fades again,

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And I in dreams am far away,
Where a bright river sparkles down
To meet a blue Aegean bay.
There, in the springtime of the world,
Are dancing fauns, and in their van,
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Is one who pipes a deathless tone—
The earth-born and the urban Pan.

And so he follows down the block,
A troop of children in his train,
The light-foot dancers of the street

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Enamored of the reedy strain.
I hear their laughter rise and ring
Above the noise of truck and van,
As down the mellow wind fades out
The piping of the urban Pan.
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