Sunday, April 30, 2017

VITA NUOVA, a poem

     WHAT miracle is here—
     What vision of forgotten things and dear?
The grass—how green it lies in coverts deep!
The pussy-willows—sentinels of the wood—
How slim, how fair, each 'neath its downy snood,
     They stand, new-waked from sleep!

     And the enchantment cold
     That seemed as death? Could it no longer hold
Against the glow that warmed the breast of Earth?
Hearken! what myriad little lives once more
Come knocking, knocking at the Mother's door,
     Importunate for birth!

     The trees, that look so bare,
     Are conscious that the tender leaves are there—
Folded, yet faintly stirring in the bud;
And upward from each buried rootlet runs,
The golden ichor, gift of vernal suns,
     On-swelling to the flood.

     And, oh! thrice loved of yore—
     Whence comes that note? It was not here before!
The white-throat! By what blest magician's art—
Flung out of silence, comes that clear appeal,
To make the jaded and insensate feel
     New yearnings of the heart?

     A something in the song
     Shall hardly to a later strain belong—
A tremulous and naïve ecstasy
That moves the soul; which, eager then to live,
Petitions life: "Ah, stay awhile, and give
     A little heed to me!

     "I, also, feel the Spring!
     I, also, long to spread my wings and sing,
Unvexed by cares that canker and consume:
To hope, to dream,—ere winter come, to capture
The fleeting thrill, the fragrance and the rapture
     Of beauty in its bloom!"
"Vita Nuova" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

SONG, a poem

THE new-born leaves unfolding fast
     Make nests of green on every bough;
The pilgrim birds, their wanderings past,
With joy return,—but thou, my love,
     Oh, where, my love, art thou?

Soft tumults fill the balmy air,
     Faint breathings of the flowers to be;
Life glows and gladdens everywhere,—
But I am lone for thee, my love,
     Oh, lone, my love, for thee!

Give me the voice of moaning pines,
     The frozen wold, the desert space;
Give me the winter Earth resigns,—
But let me see thy face, my love,
     Oh, let me see thy face!
"Song" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Friday, April 28, 2017

FOR JOY, a poem

FOR each and every joyful thing,
For twilight swallows on the wing,
For all that nest and all that sing,—

For fountains cool that laugh and leap,
For rivers running to the deep,
For happy, care-forgetting sleep,—

For stars that pierce the sombre dark,
For Morn, awaking with the lark,
For life new-stirring 'neath the bark,—

For sunshine and the blessèd rain,
For budding grove and blossomy lane,
For the sweet silence of the plain,—

For bounty springing from the sod,
For every step by beauty trod,—
For each dear gift of joy, thank God!
"For Joy" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1916) Volume I.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

TO THE VICTOR, a poem

YOU have outstripped me in the race,
Your brow shall wear the laurel's grace;
     But though on-speeding in your might
     You pass beyond my straining sight,
My spirit shall with yours keep pace!

For I have dreamed your dream divine,
For I have worshiped at the shrine
     Whose oracles your faith have moved,
     For I have loved what you have loved—
Your victory is also mine!

Shall the grave gods pronounce their choice
And I not lift in praise my voice?
     Or shall another win the goal
     Whose vision hath illumed my soul,
And I, though distant, not rejoice?

Ah, no! Your greater gifts prevail;
But though to reach your side I fail,
     Through you triumphant in defeat,
     Even in death I will repeat,—
Hail to the victor! Hail!...
"To the Victor" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

TENNYSON, a poem

HOW beautiful to live as thou didst live!
     How beautiful to die as thou didst die,—
     In moonlight of the night, without a sigh,
At rest in all the best that love could give!

How excellent to bear into old age
     The poet's ardor and the heart of youth,—
     To keep to the last sleep the vow of truth,
And leave to lands that grieve a glowing page!

How glorious to feel the spirit's power
     Unbroken by the near approach of death,
     To breath blest prophecies with failing breath,
Soul-bound to beauty in that latest hour!

How sweet to greet, in final kinship owned,
     The master-spirit to thy dreams so dear,—
     At last from his immortal lips to hear
The dirge for Imogen, and thee, intoned!

How beautiful to live as thou didst live!
     How beautiful to die as thou didst die,—
     In moonlight of the night, without a sigh,
At rest in all the best that love could give!
"Tennyson" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (April 1893), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

TO-MORROW, a poem

THE robin chants when the thrush is dumb,
     Snow smooths a bed for the clover,
Life flames anew, and days to come
     Are sweet as the days that are over.

The tide that ebbs by the moon flows back,
     Faith builds on the ruins of sorrow,
The halcyon flutters in winter's track,
     And night makes way for the morrow.

And ever a strain, of joys the sum,
     Sings on in the heart of the lover—
In death sings on—that days to come
     Are sweet as the days that are over!
"To-morrow" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Monday, April 24, 2017

INHERITOR, a poem

SAY not the gods are cruel,
     Since man himself is kind—
Man, who could give no tenderness
     If, impotent and blind,
He stretched appealing hands on high
     No tenderness to find,—

Who, wakened to compassion,
     No longer stands apart,
Careless of others' suffering,
     But, rather, shares the smart,
Because of pity drawn from out
     The Universal Heart,—

Who feels within him glowing
     A spark that dares aspire,
Flame-like, unto supernal things,
     With never-quenched desire,
And knows that Heaven bestowed on him
     A spark of its own fire!
"Inheritor" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Outlook (24 April 1909) and Lyrics of Life (1909).

The Creation of Adam
Michelangelo