Later Poems

by Bliss Carman


 

Resurgam


 

LO, now comes the April pageant
And the Easter of the year.
Now the tulip lifts her chalice,
And the hyacinth his spear;
All the daffodils and jonquils
5
With their hearts of gold are here.
Child of the immortal vision,
What hast thou to do with fear?

When the summons wakes the impulse,
And the blood beats in the vein,

10
Let no grief thy dream encumber,
No regret thy thought detain.
Through the scented bloom-hung valleys,
Over tillage, wood and plain,
Comes the soothing south wind laden
15
With the sweet impartial rain.

All along the roofs and pavements
Pass the volleying silver showers,
To unfold the hearts of humans
And frail unanxious flowers.
20
Breeding fast in sunlit places,
Teeming life puts forth her powers,
And the migrant wings come northward
On the trail of golden hours.

Over intervale and upland

25
Sounds the robin’s interlude
From his tree-top spire at evening
Where no unbeliefs intrude.
Every follower of beauty
Finds in the spring solitude
30
Sanctuary and persuasion
Where the mysteries still brood.

Now the bluebird in the orchard,
A warm sighing at the door,
And the soft haze on the hillside,

35
Lure the houseling to explore
The perennial enchanted
Lovely world and all its lore;
While the early tender twilight
Breathes of those who come no more.
40

By full brimming river margins
Where the scents of brush fires blow,
Through the faint green mist of springtime,
Dreaming glad-eyed lovers go,
Touched with such immortal madness
45
Not a thing they care to know
More than those who caught life’s secret
Countless centuries ago.

In old Egypt for Osiris,
Putting on the green attire,

50
With soft hymns and choric dancing
They went forth to greet the fire
Of the vernal sun, whose ardour
His earth children could inspire;
And the ivory flutes would lead them
55
To the slake of their desire.

In remembrance of Adonis
Did the Dorian maidens sing
Linus songs of joy and sorrow
For the coming back of spring,—

60
Sorrow for the wintry death
Of each irrevocable thing,
Joy for all the pangs of beauty
The returning year could bring.

Now the priests and holy women

65
With sweet incense, chant and prayer,
Keep His death and resurrection
Whose new love bade all men share
Immortality of kindness,
Living to make life more fair.
70
Wakened to such wealth of being,
Who would not arise and dare?

Seeing how each new fulfillment
Issues at her call of need
From infinitudes of purpose

75
In the core of soul and seed,
Who shall set the bounds of puissance
Or the formulas of creed?
Truth awaits the test of beauty,
Good is proven in the deed.
80

Therefore, give thy spring renascence,—
Freshened ardour, dreams and mirth,—
To make perfect and replenish
All the sorry fault and dearth
Of the life from whose enrichment
85
Thine aspiring will had birth;
Take thy part in the redemption
Of thy kind from bonds of earth.

So shalt thou, absorbed in beauty,
Even in this mortal clime

90
Share the life that is eternal,
Brother to the lords of time,—
Virgil, Raphael, Gautama,—
Builders of the world sublime.
Yesterday was not earth’s evening
95
Every morning is our prime.

All that can be worth the rescue
From oblivion and decay,—
Joy and loveliness and wisdom,—
In thyself, without dismay

100
Thou shalt save and make enduring
Through each word and act, to sway
The hereafter to a likeness
Of thyself in other clay.

Still remains the peradventure,

105
Soul pursues an orbit here
Like those unreturning comets,
Sweeping on a vast career,
By an infinite directrix,
Focussed to a finite sphere,—
110
Nurtured in an earthly April,
In what realm to reappear?