Bliss Carman

The Vagabonds

We are the vagabonds of time, 
And rove the yellow autumn days, 
When all the roads are gray with rime 
And all the valleys blue with haze. 
We came unlooked for as the wind 
Trooping across the April hills, 
When the brown waking earth had dreams 
Of summer in the Wander Kills. 
How far afield we joyed to fare, 
With June in every blade and tree! 
Now with the sea-wind in our hair 
We turn our faces to the sea. 

We go unheeded as the stream 
That wanders by the hill-wood side, 
Till the great marshes take his hand 
And lead him to the roving tide. 

The roving tide, the sleeping hills, 
These are the borders of that zone 
Where they may fare as fancy wills 
Whom wisdom smiles and calls her own. 

It is a country of the sun, 
Full of forgotten yesterdays, 
When Time takes Summer in his care, 
And fills the distance of her gaze. 

It stretches from the open sea 
To the blue mountains and beyond; 
The world is Vagabondia 
To him who is a vagabond. 

In the beginning God made man 
Out of the wandering dust, men say; 
And in the end his life shall be 
A wandering wind and blown away. 

We are the vagabonds of time, 
Willing to let the world go by, 
With joy supreme, with heart sublime, 
And valor in the kindling eye. 

We have forgotten where we slept, 
And guess not where we sleep to-night, 
Whether among the lonely hills 
In the pale streamersí ghostly light 

We shall lie down and hear the frost 
Walk in the dead leaves restlessly, 
Or somewhere on the iron coast 
Learn the oblivion of the sea. 

It matters not. And yet I dream 
Of dreams fulfilled and rest somewhere 
Before this restless heart is stilled 
And all its fancies blown to air. 

Had I my will! . . . The sun burns down 
And something plucks my garmentís hem: 
The robins in their faded brown 
Would lure me to the south with them. 

íTis time for vagabonds to make 
The nearest inn. Far on I hear 
The voices of the Northern hills 
Gather the vagrants of the year. 

Brave heart, my soul! Let longings be! 
We have another day to wend. 
For dark or waylay what care we 
Who have the lords of time to friend? 

And if we tarry or make haste, 
The wayside sleep can hold no fear. 
Shall fate unpoise, or whim perturb, 
The calm-begirt in dawn austere? 

There is a tavern, I have heard, 
Not far, and frugal, kept by One 
Who knows the children of the Word, 
And welcomes each when day is done. 

Some say the house is lonely set 
In Northern night, and snowdrifts keep 
The silent door; the hearth is cold, 
And all my fellows gone to sleep.... 

Had I my will! I hear the sea 
Thunder a welcome on the shore; 
I know where lies the hostelry 
And who should open me the door.

English Poetry - E-mail