From the Green Book of the Bards

by Bliss Carman


 

POPPIES


 

I who walk among the poppies
In the burning hour of noon,
Brother to their scarlet beauty,
Feel their fervour and their swoon.

In this little wayside garden,

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Under the sheer tent of blue,
The dark kindred in forgetting,
We are of one dust and dew.

They, the summer-loving gipsies,
Who frequent the Northern year;

10

From an older land than Egypt,
I, too, but a nomad here.

All day long the purple mountains,
Those mysterious conjurors,
Send, in silent premonition,

15

Their still shadows by our doors.

And we listen through the silence
For a far-off sound, which seems
Like the long reverberant echo
Of a sea-shell blown in dreams.

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Is it the foreboded summons
From the fabled Towers of Sleep,
Bidding home the wandered children
From the shore of the great deep?

All day long the sun-filled valley,

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Teeming with its ghostly thought,
Glad in the mere lapse of being,
Muses and is not distraught.

Then suffused with earth's contentment,
The slow patience of the sun,

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As our heads are bowed to slumber
In the shadows one by one,

Sweet and passionless, the starlight
Talks to us of things to be;
And we stir a little, shaken

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In the cool breath of the sea.