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by Elizabeth Drew Stoddard, 1895

Blind in these stony streets, dumb in their crowds,
What can I do but dream of other days?
Whose is the love I had, and have not now?
If it be Nature's, let her answer me.
It wanders by the blue, monotonous sea,
Where rushes grow, or follows all the sweep
Of shallow summer brooks and umber pools.
Or does it linger in those hidden paths
Where starlike blossoms blow among dead leaves,
And dark groves murmur over darker shrubs,
Birds with their fledgelings sleep, and pale moths flit?
With sunset's crimson flags perhaps it goes,
And reappears with yellow Jupiter,
Riding the West beside the crescent moon.
Comes it with sunrise, when the sunrise floats
From Night's bold towers, vast in the East, and gray
Till tower and wall flash into fiery clouds,
Moving along the verge, stately and slow,
Ordered by the old music of the spheres?
Perchance it trembles in October's oaks;
Or, twining with the brilliant, berried vine,
Would hide the tender, melancholy elm.
Well might it rest within those solemn woods
Where sunlight never falls—whose tops are green
With airs from heaven,—its balmy mists and rains,—
While underneath black, mossy, mammoth rocks
Keep silence with the waste of blighted boughs.
If winter riots with the wreathing snow,
And ocean, tossing all his threatening plumes,
And winds, that tear the hollow, murky sky,
Can this, my love, which dwells no more with me,
Find dwelling there,—like some storm-driven bird,
That knows not whence it flew, nor where to fly,
Between the world of sea and world of cloud,
At last drops dead in the remorseless deep?

Published in Poems

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