Wild Garden

by Bliss Carman


 

A STRANGER IN HEAVEN


 

Listen, angels! Just a moment, ere your praise begins anew!
As you harped, I had a vision and I know that it is true.

What is music but the rhythm to set free the prisoned soul,
And transport the quickened senses home to harmony’s control?

As you harped, even so I hearing, touched in a fancy, dreamed a dream,—

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Caught the meaning of your music, saw the substance of your theme,—

Knew from many a haunting measure, turn and interlude the same,
That the world you would interpret was the earth, from which I came.

As you plucked the perfect phrases, suddenly one silver call
Sliding from dissolving discords rang—and I remembered all.

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I could see the first faint wash of color tinting swamp the grove,
As the spring comes sweeping northward in a tide of green and mauve.

And the orchards are in blossom over all New England now,
With the blue flag by the brookside and the flamebird on the bough.

Roadside gardens with old-fashioned bleeding-heart and peonies,

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And the honeysuckle’s bounty spread for velvet-coated bees.

Grassy lanes and stone-walled pastures, meadows where bright rivers wind
Singing through the scented evening airs of the enchanted mind.

Hush your lonely harps and listen! Don’t you hear a wondrous note
Ringing through the soft green twilight from a sure unanxious throat?

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That’s the music used to lure me through the woods where I would roam,
When I was in love with beauty and New England was my home.

All the burden of the ages, all the rapture, all the calm,
Uttered by that twilight singer in a single earth-born psalm.

Open your dark-shadowed portal, Shining Ones, and let me go!

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I am homesick for the glory and the good I used to know.

No mere Heaven can detain me when I hear a wood-thrush sing…
It is May, and God is walking through Connecticut with Spring.