Poetry – Fallen Leaves

Beneath the frost-stripped forest boughs, the drifted leaves are spread,
Vanished all summer’s green delight, all autumn’s glory fled.

Yet, gathering strength from that dead host, the tree in some far spring
Shall toward the skies a denser growth, a darker foliage fling.

Ah, if some power from us, long dead, should strengthen life to be,
We need not grieve to lie forgot, like sere leaves ’neath the tree!

— Effie Smith

Poetry – Preparation

“I have no time for those things now,” we say;
“But in the future just a little way,
No longer by this ceaseless toil oppressed,
I shall have leisure then for thought and rest.
When I the debts upon my land have paid,
Or on foundations firm my business laid,
I shall take time for discourse long and sweet
With those beloved who round my hearthstone meet;
I shall take time on mornings still and cool
To seek the freshness dim of wood and pool,
Where, calmed and hallowed by great Nature’s peace,
My life from its hot cares shall find release;
I shall take time to think on destiny,
Of what I was and am and yet shall be,
Till in the hush my soul may nearer prove
To that great Soul in whom we live and move.
All this I shall do sometime but not now—
The press of business cares will not allow.”
And thus our life glides on year after year;
The promised leisure never comes more near.
Perhaps the aim on which we placed our mind
Is high, and its attainment slow to find;
Or if we reach the mark that we have set,
We still would seek another, farther yet.
Thus all our youth, our strength, our time go past
Till death upon the threshold stands at last,
And back unto our Maker we must give
The life we spent preparing well to live.

— Effie Smith

Poetry – To A Silver Dollar

Pale coin, what various hands have you passed through
Ere you to-day within my hand were laid?
Perchance a laborer’s well-earned hire you made;
Some miser may have gloated long on you;
Perhaps some pitying hand to Want outthrew;
And, lost and won through devious tricks of trade,
You may have been, alas! the full price paid
For some poor soul that loved you past your due.

No doubt ’tis well, O imaged Liberty,
You see not where your placid face is thrust,
Nor know how far man is from being free,
Bound as he is by money’s fateful lust,
While to his anxious soul like mockery
Seem those fair, graven words: “In God we trust.”

— Effie Smith

Poetry – Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

— William Wordsworth

Poetry – Hampton Holidays

LAST comes December with his ruffian wind
Whirled from the maelstrom of the polar sea
To sweep our mighty hill in mockery
Of such enshrouding snows as would be kind
And wrap their frozen mother. Stiffly lined
Through thin and crackling ice the leaves lie stark
As hoar Caina’s ice-locked souls, and dark
In the dark air the branches toss and grind.

Then dawns another day when winds are still;
From our frost-flashing village on the hill
We greet the laggard sun, and far below
All down the valley see the silver spread,
Save where the dim fir-forest’s pungent bed
Lies thatched by tufted pine-plumes bright with snow.

— George Allan England

Poetry – The Trestle And The Buck-Saw

The Trestle and the Buck-Saw
Went out a-walking once,
And staid away and staid away
For days and weeks and months:
And when they got back home again,
Of all that had occurred,
The neighbors said the gossips said
They never said a word.

— James Whitcomb Riley

Poetry – November In Cambridge

EVEN in her mourning is the College fair,
With burial robes of scarlet leaves and gold
That flicker down in misty morning cold
Or fall reluctant through gray evening air.
The Gothic elms rise desolately bare;
A clinging flame the twisted ivy crawls
Its blood-red course athwart the time-worn walls
And spreads its crimson arras everywhere.

High noon brings some wan ghost of summer, still;
Fresh stand the rose-trees yet, the lawns show green
With leaves inlaid, and still the pigeons fly
Round sun-warm gables where they court and preen;
But evenfall comes shuddering down, a-chill,
And bare black branches fret the leaden sky

— George Allan England

Poetry – We Defer Things

We say and we say and we say,
We promise, engage, and declare,
Till a year from to-morrow is yesterday,
And yesterday is—Where?

— James Whitcomb Riley

Poetry – IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

— Rudyard Kipling

Poetry – August Rain

DEAD is the day, and through the list’ning leaves
The wind-dirge sighs. Sad at my dim-lit pane
I darkling sit to hear the pattering rain
And pebbly drip that plashes from the eaves.
Far in the misty fields loll sodden sheaves,
Whilst every wheel-mark in the rutty lane
Leads down its trickling rivulet to drain
Marsh-meadows where the knotted willow grieves.

Gray afternoon to dusk hath given place,
And dusk to silent darkness falls again.
Listless, to see the sad earth veil her face,
I watch the miry fields, the swollen rills,
And, farther, through my glimmering windowpane,
The rain-swept valley and the fading hills…

— George Allan England