The Gates of Time and Other Poems

by Frederick George Scott




Winter forests mutely standing
    Naked on your bed of snow,
Wide your knotted arms expanding
    To the biting winds that blow,
Nought ye heed of storm or stress,
Stubborn, silent, passionless.

Buried is each, woodland treasure,
    Gone the leaves and mossy rills,
Gone the birds that filled with pleasure
    All the valleys and the hills;

Ye alone of all that host
Stand like soldiers at your post.

Grand old trees, the words ye mutter,
    Nodding in the frosty wind,
Wake some thoughts I cannot utter,

    But which haunt the heart and mind,
With a meaning, strange and deep,
As of visions seen in sleep.

Something in my inmost thinking
    Tells me I am one with you,

For a subtle bond is linking
    Nature’s offspring through and through,
And your spirit like a flood
Stirs the pulses of my blood.

While I linger here and listen

    To the creaking boughs above,
Hung with icicles that glisten
    As if kindling into love,
Human heart and soul unite
With your majesty and might.

Horizontal, rich with glory,
    Through the boughs the red sun’s rays
Clothe you as some grand life-story
    Robes an aged man with praise,
When, before his setting sun,
Men recount what he has done.

But the light is swiftly fading,
    And the wind is icy cold,
And a mist the moon is shading,
    Pallid in the western gold;

In the night-winds still ye nod,
Sentinels of Nature’s God.

Now with laggard steps returning
    To the world from whence I came,
Leave I all the great West burning

    With the day that died in flame,
And the stars, with silver ray,
Light me on my homeward way.