Later Poems

by Bliss Carman


Easter Eve


IF I should tell you I saw Pan lately down by the shallows of

Blowing an air on his pipe of willow, just as the moon began to  
Or say that, coming from town on Wednesday, I met Christ  
  walking in Ponus Street;  
You might remark, “Our friend is flighty! Visions, for want of
  enough red meat!"

Then, let me ask you. Last December, when there was skating on
Among the weeds and sticks and grasses under the hard black
  ice I saw  
An old mud-turtle poking about, as if he were putting his house to  
Stiff with the cold perhaps, yet knowing enough to prepare  
  for the winter nights.  

And here he is on a log this morning, sunning himself as calm as
  you please.  
But I want to know, when the lock of winter was sprung of a  
  sudden, who kept the keys?
Who told old nibbler to go to sleep safe and sound with the lily  
And then in the first warm days of April—out to the sun with the
  greening shoots?  

By night a flock of geese went over, honking north on the trails of
The spring express—but who despatched it, equipped with
  speed and cunning care?  
Hark to our bluebird down in the orchard trolling his chant of the  
  happy heart,
As full of light as a theme of Mozart’s—but where did he learn that  
  more than art?  

Where the river winds through grassy meadows, as sure as the
  south wind brings the rain,  
Sounding his reedy note in the alders, the redwing comes back to  
  his nest again.  
Are these not miracles? Prompt you answer: “Merely the prose of  
  natural fact;  
Nothing but instinct plain and patent, born in the creatures, that  
  bids them act.”

Well, I have an instinct as fine and valid, surely, as that of the
  beasts and birds,  
Concerning death and the life immortal, too deep for logic, too  
  vague for words.  
No trace of beauty can pass or perish, but other beauty is
  somewhere born;  
No seed of truth or good be planted, but the yield must grow as  
  the growing corn.  

Therefore this ardent mind and spirit I give to the glowing days of
To be wrought by the Lord of life to something of lasting import  
  lovely and lovely worth.  
If the toil I give be without self-seeking, bestowed to the limit of will  
  and power,  
To fashion after some form ideal the instant task and the waiting  

It matters not though defeat undo me, though faults betray me and
  sorrows scar,  
Already I share the life eternal with the April buds and the evening
The slim new moon is my sister now; the rain, my brother; the
  wind, my friend.  
Is it not well with these forever? Can the soul of man fare ill in the