Bliss Carman

Easter Eve

If I should tell you I saw Pan lately down by the shallows
      of Silvermine,
Blowing an air on his pipe of willow, just as the moon began
      to shine;
Or say that, coming from town on Wednesday, I met Christ walking
      in Ponus Street;
You might remark, "Our friend is flighty! Visions, for want of
      enough red meat!"

Then let me ask you. Last December, when there was skating
      on Wampanaw,
Among the weeds and sticks and grasses under the hard black
      ice I saw
An old mud-turtle poking about, as if he were putting his house
      to rights,
Stiff with the cold perhaps, yet knowing enough to prepare
      for the winter nights.

And here he is on a log this morning, sunning himself as calm
      as you please.
But I want to know, when the lock of winter was sprung of a sudden,
      who kept the keys?
Who told old nibbler to go to sleep safe and sound with the
      lily roots,
And then in the first warm days of April—out to the sun
      with the greening shoots?

By night a flock of geese went over, honking north on the trails
      of air,
The spring express—but who despatched it, equipped with speed
      and cunning care?
Hark to our bluebird down in the orchard trolling his chant
      of the happy heart,
As full of light as a theme of Mozart's—but where did he learn
      that more than art?

Where the river winds through grassy meadows, as sure as the
      south wind brings the rain,
Sounding his reedy note in the alders, the redwing comes back
      to his nest again.
Are these not miracles? Prompt you answer: "Merely the prose
      of natural fact;
Nothing but instinct plain and patent, born in the creatures,
      that bids them act."

Well, I have an instinct as fine and valid, surely, as that
      of the beasts and birds,
Concerning death and the life immortal, too deep for logic,
      too vague for words.
No trace of beauty can pass or perish, but other beauty
      is somewhere born;
No seed of truth or good be planted, but the yield must grow
      as the growing corn.

Therefore this ardent mind and spirit I give to the glowing days
      of earth.
To be wrought by the Lord of life to something of lasting import
      and lovely worth.
If the toil I give be without self-seeking, bestowed to the limit
      of will and power,
To fashion after some form ideal the instant task and the
      waiting hour,

It matters not though defeat undo me, though faults betray me
      and sorrows scar,
Already I share the life eternal with the April buds and the
      evening star.
The slim new moon is my sister now; the rain, my brother; the
      wind, my friend.
Is it not well with these forever? Can the soul of man fare
      ill in the end?

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