Old Spookses’ Pass, Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems

by Isabella Valancy Crawford


 

MARCH.


 

Shall Thor with his hammer
    Beat on the mountain,
As on an anvil,
    A shackle and fetter?

Shall the lame Vulcan
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    Shout as he swingeth
God-like his hammer,
    And forge thee a fetter?

Shall Jove, the Thunderer,
    Twine his swift lightnings
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With his loud thunders,
    And forge thee a shackle?

“No,” shouts the Titan,
    The young lion-throated;
“Thor, Vulcan, nor Jove
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    Cannot shackle and bind me.”

Tell what will bind thee,
    Thou young world-shaker,
Up vault our oceans,
    Down fall our forests.
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Ship-masts and pillars
    Stagger and tremble,
Like reeds by the margins
    Of swift running waters. [Page 207]

Men’s hearts at thy roaring
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    Quiver like harebells
Smitten by hailstones,
    Smitten and shaken.

“O sages and wise men!
    O bird-hearted tremblers!
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Come, I will show ye
    A shackle to bind me.

I, the lion-throated,
    The shaker of mountains!
I, the invincible,
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    Lasher of oceans!

Past the horizon,
    Its ring of pale azure
Past the horizon,
    Where scurry the white clouds,
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There are buds and small flowers—
    Flowers like snow-flakes,
Blossoms like rain-drops,
    So small and tremulous.

These in a fetter
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    Shall shackle and bind me,
Shall weigh down my shouting
    With their delicate perfume!”

But who this frail fetter
    Shall forge on an anvil,
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With hammer of feather
    And anvil of velvet? [Page 208]

“Past the horizon,
    In the palm of a valley,
Her feet in the grasses,
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    There is a maiden.

She smiles on the flowers,
    They widen and redden;
She weeps on the flowers,
    They grow up and kiss her.
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She breathes in their bosoms,
    They breathe back in odours;
Inarticulate homage,
    Dumb adoration.

She shall wreathe them in shackles,
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    Shall weave them in fetters;
In chains shall she braid them,
    And me shall she fetter.

I, the invincible;
    March, the earth-shaker;
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March, the sea-lifter;
    March, the sky-render;

March, the lion-throated.
    April the weaver
Of delicate blossoms,
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    And moulder of red buds—

Shall, at the horizon,
    Its ring of pale azure,
Its scurry of white clouds,
    Meet in the sunlight.” [Page 209]
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