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Poem by Archibald Lampman


Among the Timothy


    Long hours ago, while yet the morn was blithe,
      Nor sharp athirst had drunk the beaded dew,
    A reaper came, and swung his cradled scythe
      Around this stump, and, shearing slowly, drew
      Far round among the clover, ripe for hay,
        A circle clean and grey;
    And here among the scented swathes that gleam,
      Mixed with dead daisies, it is sweet to lie
      And watch the grass and the few-clouded sky,
        Nor think but only dream.

    For when the noon was turning, and the heat
      Fell down most heavily on field and wood,
    I too came hither, borne on restless feet,
      Seeking some comfort for an aching mood.
      Ah, I was weary of the drifting hours,
        The echoing city towers,
    The blind grey streets, the jingle of the throng,
      Weary of hope that like a shape of stone
      Sat near at hand without a smile or moan,
        And weary most of song.

    And those high moods of mine that sometime made
      My heart a heaven, opening like a flower,
    A sweeter world where I in wonder strayed,
      Begirt with shapes of beauty and the power
      Of dreams that moved through that enchanted clime
        With changing breaths of rhyme,
    Were all gone lifeless now like those white leaves,
      That hang all winter, shivering dead and blind
      Among the sinewy beeches in the wind,
        That vainly calls and grieves.

    Ah! I will set no more mine overtaskèd brain
      To barren search and toil that beareth nought,
    Forever following with sorefooted pain
      The crossing pathways of unbournèd thought;
      But let it go, as one that hath no skill,
        To take what shape it will,
    An ant slow-burrowing in the earthy gloom,
      A spider bathing in the dew at morn,
      Or a brown bee in wayward fancy borne
        From hidden bloom to bloom.

    Hither and thither o'er the rocking grass
      The little breezes, blithe as they are blind,
    Teasing the slender blossoms pass and pass,
      Soft-footed children of the gipsy wind,
      To taste of every purple-fringèd head
        Before the bloom is dead;
    And scarcely heed the daisies that, endowed
      With stems so short they cannot see, up-bear
      Their innocent sweet eyes distressed, and stare
        Like children in a crowd.

    Not far to fieldward in the central heat,
      Shadowing the clover, a pale poplar stands
    With glimmering leaves that, when the wind comes, beat
      Together like innumerable small hands,
      And with the calm, as in vague dreams astray,
        Hang wan and silver-grey;
    Like sleepy mænads, who in pale surprise,
      Half-wakened by a prowling beast, have crept
      Out of the hidden covert, where they slept,
        At noon with languid eyes.

    The crickets creak, and through the noonday glow,
      That crazy fiddler of the hot mid-year,
    The dry cicada plies his wiry bow
      In long-spun cadence, thin and dusty sere:
      From the green grass the small grasshoppers' din
        Spreads soft and silvery thin:
    And ever and anon a murmur steals
      Into mine ears of toil that moves alway,
      The crackling rustle of the pitch-forked hay
        And lazy jerk of wheels.

    As so I lie and feel the soft hours wane,
      To wind and sun and peaceful sound laid bare,
    That aching dim discomfort of the brain
      Fades off unseen, and shadowy-footed care
      Into some hidden corner creeps at last
        To slumber deep and fast;
    And gliding on, quite fashioned to forget,
      From dream to dream I bid my spirit pass
      Out into the pale green ever-swaying grass
        To brood, but no more fret.

    And hour by hour among all shapes that grow
      Of purple mints and daisies gemmed with gold
    In sweet unrest my visions come and go;
      I feel and hear and with quiet eyes behold;
      And hour by hour, the ever-journeying sun,
        In gold and shadow spun,
    Into mine eyes and blood, and through the dim
      Green glimmering forest of the grass shines down,
      Till flower and blade, and every cranny brown,
        And I are soaked with him.



Archibald Lampman


Archibald Lampman's other poems:
  1. Freedom
  2. An Impression
  3. Why Do Ye Call the Poet Lonely
  4. Heat
  5. An Autumn Landscape


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