Later Poems

by Bliss Carman


 

The Weed's Counsel


 

SAID a traveller by the way
Pausing, "What hast thou to say,
Flower by the dusty road,
That would ease a mortal’s load?"

Traveller, harken unto me!

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I will tell thee how to see
Beauties in the earth and sky
Hidden from the careless eye.
I will tell thee how to hear
Nature’s music wild and clear,—
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Songs of midday and of dark
Such as many never mark,
Lyrics of creation sung
Ever since the world was young.

And thereafter thou shalt know

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Neither weariness nor woe.

Thou shalt see the dawn unfold
Artistries of rose and gold,
And the sunbeams on the sea
Dancing with the wind for glee.

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The red lilies of the moors
Shall be torches on the floors,
Where the field-lark lifts his cry
To rejoice the passer-by,
In a wide world rimmed with blue
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Lovely as when time was new.

And thereafter thou shalt fare
Light of foot and free from care.

I will teach thee how to find
Lost enchantments of the mind

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All about thee, never guessed
By indifferent unrest.
Thy distracted thought shall learn
Patience from the roadside fern,
And a sweet philosophy
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From the flowering locust tree,—
While thy heart shall not disdain
The consolation of the rain.

Not an acre but shall give
Of its strength to help thee live.

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With the many-wintered sun
Shall thy hardy course be run.
And the bright new moon shall be
A lamp to thy felicity.
When green-mantled spring shall come
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Past thy door with flute and drum,
And when over wood and swamp
Autumn trails her scarlet pomp,
No misgiving shalt thou know,
Passing glad to rise and go.
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So thy days shall be unrolled
Like a wondrous cloth of gold.

When gray twilight with her star
Makes a heaven that is not far,
Touched with shadows and with dreams,

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Thou shalt hear the woodland streams
Singing through the starry night
Holy anthems of delight.
So the ecstasy of earth
Shall refresh thee as at birth,
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And thou shalt arise each morn
Radiant with a soul reborn.

And this wisdom of a day
None shall ever take away.

What the secret, what the clew

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The wayfarer must pursue?
Only one thing he must have
Who would share these transports brave.
Love within his heart must dwell
Like a bubbling roadside well,
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For a spring to quicken thought,
Else my counsel comes to naught.
For without that quickening trust
We are less than roadside dust.

This, O traveller, is my creed,—

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All the wisdom of the weed!

Then the traveller set his pack
Once more on his dusty back,
And trudged on for many a mile
Fronting fortune with a smile.

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