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Poem by Eleanor Farjeon

Vagrant Songs


    But yesterday the winds of March
Bent back the barren branches of the larch ...
        But O! to-day
The bareness from the earth is swept away.

    Deep through my swelling breast I hear
The wild call of the gipsy time o' year
        O, Vagrant Spring,
Brother o' mine, I'm for the gipsying!

    The greening earth I stand upon
Tingles my feet: Brother, we must begone!
        Younger and younger,
All my heart cries aloud with Wander-Hunger


Of troubles know I none,
Of pleasures know I many
I rove beneath the sun
Without a single penny.

A king might envy long
The fare my board adorning
Upon a throstle's song
I broke my fast this morning;

My lunch, a girl's quick smile,
As I'm a living sinner;
She walked with me a mile ...
I kissed her for my dinner.

Of troubles know I none,
Of pleasures know I many
I fare beneath the sun
Without a single penny!


O, how she laughs with me,
Eats with me, quaffs with me,
Smiles to me, sighs to me,
Questions, replies to me,
Answers my every mood,
Finds good what I find good,
    Earth, the green Mother!
Where shall man live and die
Having my treasury
Which never gold could buy
Water and air and sky
And Earth's great sympathy
Save he do live as I?
    Join with me, Brother!

If you be sickening
Here's for your quickening!
Here at the heart of it
You shall be part of it,
And the good smell of rain
Shall make you whole again
    Join with me, Brother!
Here the life-sap runs green,
Here the life-ways are clean,
Here just one bird that sings
Re-starts your sluggish springs,
Here under moon and sun
You, I and She are one,
    Earth, the green Mother!


I lay me on the ground
  Under the dark,
And Heaven's purple arc
Drew its deep curtains round
My weary head and shut away the sound.
The golden star-lights crept
  Over the hill ...
I lay so very still
I heard them as they stepped ...
"Sleep!" breathed the Earth. Upon her breast I slept.


I'll stay one night beneath your roof,
And longer I will stay for no man,
And as for love, I'm loving-proof
    Turn by your eyes, White Woman.

The Wander-fever's in my blood,
I have no time for simple loving
The hot Earth is in roving mood,
    And I too must be roving.

If I should love you ... soon, ah, soon
I'd break your heart to go a-roaming,
And chasing shadows of the moon
    Think never once of homing.

Why will you wring my breast with tears?
Tears will not quench the Wander-fever.
Why will you fill my soul with fears
    When I will go for ever?

I whom the Earth's green passions move
Have put away all passions human ...
I will not love!... I dare not love ...
    Turn by your eyes, White Woman.


I went far and cold
Over upland wold
Where the story of spring's breathing
Scarcely yet was told.
Shifting monotone
Of the pale wind's moan
Through my hair at dusk went wreathing,
And I walked alone.

Far below and far
Where the homesteads are
One small ruddy candle twinkled,
Warmer than a star.
When the day was gone,
Softly one by one
Homing-lights the valley sprinkled ...
And I wandered on.

Eleanor Farjeon

Eleanor Farjeon's other poems:
  1. Sonnets. 1. Man Cannot Be a Sophist to His Heart
  2. Sonnets. 9. Love Needs not Two the Render It Complete
  3. Two Choruses from Merlin in Broceliande
  4. Wild Hyacinth
  5. Sonnets. 10. What is this anguish then that always stands

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