Later Poems

by Bliss Carman


A Lyric


OH, once I could not understand
The sob within the throat of spring,–
The shrilling of the frogs, nor why
The birds so passionately sing.

That was before your beauty came

And stooped to teach my soul desire,
When on these mortal lips you laid
The magic and immortal fire.

I wondered why the sea should seem
So gray, so lonely, and so old;

The sigh of level-driving snows
In winter so forlornly cold.

I wondered what it was could give
The scarlet autumn pomps their pride,
And paint with colors not of earth

The glory of the mountainside.

I could not tell why youth should dream
And worship at the evening star,
And yet must go with eager feet
Where danger and where splendor are.


I could not guess why men at times,
Beholding beauty, should go mad
With joy or sorrow or despair
Or some unknown delight they had.

I wondered what they had received

From Time’s inexorable hand
So full of loveliness and doom.
But now, ah, now I understand!