Low Tide on Grand Pré: A Book of Lyrics

by Bliss Carman


 

AFOOT


 

THERE'S a garden in the South
     Where the early violets come,
Where they strew the floor of April
     With their purple, bloom by bloom.

There the tender peach-trees blow,

5
     Pink against the red brick wall,
And the hand of twilight hushes
     The rain-children’s least footfall,

Till at midnight I can hear
     The dark Mother croon and lean

10
Close above me. And her whisper
     Bids the vagabonds convene.

Then the glad and wayward heart
     Dreams a dream it must obey;
And the wanderer within me

15
     Stirs a foot and will not stay.

I would journey far and wide
     Through the provinces of spring
Where the gorgeous white azaleas
     Hear the sultry yorlin sing.

20

I would wander all the hills
     Where my fellow-vagrants wend,
Following the trails of shadows
     To the country where they end.

Well I know the gypsy kin,

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     Roving foot and restless hand,
And the eyes in dark elusion
     Dreaming down the summer land.

On the frontier of desire
     I will drink the last regret,

30
And then forth beyond the morrow
     Where I may but half forget.

So another year shall pass,
     Till some noon the gardener Sun
Wanders forth to lay his finger

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     On the peach-buds one by one.

And the Mother there once more
     Will rewhisper her dark word,
That my brothers all may wonder,
     Hearing then as once I heard.

40

There will come the whitethroat’s cry,
     That far lonely silver strain,
Piercing, like a sweet desire,
     The seclusion of the rain.

And though I be far away,

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     When the early violets come
Smiling at the door with April,
     Say, "The vagabonds are home!"