Sanctuary Sunshine House Sonnets

by Bliss Carman

Illustrations by Whitman Bailey


 

WHITE IRIS


 

I

 

The South wind snows the apple blossoms down
And scatters on the grass the petals white;
The sky turns azure from its faint spring gray,
And all the woods put on their summer green;
Fresh is the air with ecstasy new born;
5
And by the garden wall whose old gray stones
Show purple where the netted sunlight falls,
White Iris now her oriflame unfurls.
Beneath that emblem who would not enroll?
For this is beauty’s banner blown afar
10
To signal how it fares with Earth’s deep heart,
Breeding her fancies to perfection still
And bringing them in loveliness to birth,
According to the ordered thought triune.

 

II

 

This is the artist’s sign that bids him dare—
15
The craftsman’s symbol of supremacy—
The trefoil of perfection, showing forth
How skill and understanding must conspire
With the Lord of Love to bring heart’s wish to pass
In goodliness, in beauty, and in truth,
20
That loving kindness may possess the world,
And joyous wisdom prosper to the end.
As when the Word first moved upon the void
And swung the planets in stupendous poise,
And there was light—and life—to carry on—
25

It moves today to form, inspire, sustain—
Man and his doing on the brink of time,
And this frail flower unanxious in the sun.