Far Horizons

by Bliss Carman


 

LADY'S SLIPPER


 

WHO passed this way and left this trace
Of beauty in so wild a place,

To stir our souls with marvelling
At so incredible a thing?

Who sent this living miracle

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In the deep Northern woods to dwell,

Where only hermit thrushes come
And the shy brown bear makes his home?

Whence was the inspiration caught?
Whose was the sudden happy thought?

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Or whose the impulse thus to bless
The rough untrodden wilderness?

Deep in our hearts glad tidings say,
Beauty herself came by this way,

And with a wisdom older far

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Than alphabet or calendar,

Cast off her sandal as she sped
Lest we should miss the way she fled.

And so forever we pursue
The shadowy trail of Beauty’s shoe,

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And for her sake must leave behind
Riches and rest and peace of mind,

To follow on that shining trace,
With beating heart and breathless pace.

By darkling wood and haunted stream,

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Still lured by the enchanting gleam,

Wherever the long way may lead,
To keep the trail is all our need.

On simple fare, in poor attire,
Torn and waylaid by flint and briar,

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With the lone dawn upon the height
Or the great desert stars by night,

Through burning sun and blinding snow
Untiring and content we go,

If only so we may behold

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Dear Beauty’s self ere we are old.