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Springfield, IL, USA
I NEVER saw that land before, And now can never see it again Yet, as if by acquaintance hoar Endeared, by gladness and by pain, Great was the affection that I bore To the valley and the river small, The cattle, the grass, the bare ash trees, The chickens from the farmsteads, all Elm-hidden, and the tributaries Descending at equal interval The blackthorns down along the brook With wounds yellow as crocuses Where yesterday the labourers hook Had sliced them cleanly and the breeze That hinted all and nothing spoke. I neither expected anything Nor yet remembered but some goal I touched then and if I could sing What would not even whisper my sul As I went on my journeying, I should use, as the trees and birds did, A language not to be betrayed And what was hid should still be hid Excepting from those like me made Who answer when such whispers bid. DARK is the forest and deep, and overhead Hang stars like seeds of light In vain, though not since they were sown was bred Anything more bright. And evermore mighty multitudes ride About, nor enter in Of the other multitudes that dwell inside Never yet was one seen. The forest foxglove is purple, the- marguerite Outside is gold and white, Nor can those that pluck either blossom greet The others, day or night. CELANDINE THINKING of her had saddened me at first, Until I saw the sun on the celandines lie Redoubled, and she stood up like a flame, A living thing, not what before I nursed, The shadow I was growing to love almost, The phantom, not the creature with bright eye That I had thought, never to see, once lost. She found the celandines of February Always before us all. Her nature and name Were like those flowers, and now immediately For a short swift eternity back she came, Beautiful, happy, simply as when she wore Her brightest bloom among the winter hues Of all the world and I was happy too, Seeing the blossoms and the maiden who Had seen them with me Februarys before, Bending to them as in and out she trod And laughed, with locks sweeping the mossy sod. But this was a dream the flowers were not true, Until I stooped to pluck from the grass there One of five petals and I smelt the juice Which made me sigh, remembering she was no more, Gone like a never perfectly recalled air...