Later Poems

by Bliss Carman


 

Winter Twilight


 

ALONG the wintry skyline,
Crowning the rocky crest,
Stands the bare screen of hardwood trees
Against the saffron west,—
Its gray and purple network
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Of branching tracery
Outspread upon the lucent air,
Like weed within the sea.

The scarlet robe of autumn
Renounced and put away,

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The mystic Earth is fairer still,—
A Puritan in gray.
The spirit of the winter,
How tender, how austere!
Yet all the ardor of the spring
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And summer’s dream are here.

Fear not, O timid lover,
The touch of frost and rime!
This is the virtue that sustained
The roses in their prime.

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The anthem of the northwind
Shall hallow thy despair,
The benediction of the snow
Be answer to thy prayer.

And now the star of evening

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That is the pilgrim’s sign,
Is lighted in the primrose dusk,—
A lamp before a shrine.
Peace fills the mighty minister,
Tranquil and gray and old,
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And all the chancel of the west
Is bright with paling gold.

A little wind goes sifting
Along the meadow floor,—
Like steps of lovely penitents

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Who sighingly adore.
Then falls the twilight curtain,
And fades the eerie light,
And frost and silence turn the keys
In the great doors of night.
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