Far off a wind blew, and I heard
Wild echoes of the woods reply–
The herald of some royal word,
With bannered trumpet, blown on high,
Meseemed then passed me by:
Who summoned marvels there to meet,
With pomp, upon a cloth of gold;
Where berries of the bittersweet,
That, splitting, showed the coals they hold,
Sowed garnets through the wold:
Where, under tents of maples, seeds
Of smooth carnelian, oval red,
The spice-bush spangled: where, like beads,
The dogwood’s rounded rubies–fed
With fire–blazed and bled.
And there I saw amid the rout
Of months, in richness cavalier,
A minnesinger–lips apout;
A gypsy face; straight as a spear;
A rose stuck in his ear:
Eyes, sparkling like old German wine,
All mirth and moonlight; naught to spare
Of slender beard, that lent a line
To his short lip; October there,
With chestnut curling hair.
His brown baretta swept its plume
Red through the leaves; his purple hose,
Puffed at the thighs, made gleam of gloom;
His tawny doublet, slashed with rose,
And laced with crimson bows,
Outshone the wahoo’s scarlet pride,
The haw, in rich vermilion dressed:
A dagger dangling at his side,
A slim lute, banded to his breast,
Whereon his hands were pressed.
I saw him come…. And, lo, to hear
The lilt of his approaching lute,
No wonder that the regnant Year
Bent down her beauty, blushing mute,
Her heart beneath his foot.
Long hosts of sunlight, and the bright wind blows
A tourney trumpet on the listed hill:
Past is the splendor of the royal rose
And duchess daffodil.
Crowned queen of beauty, in the garden’s space,
Strong daughter of a bitter race and bold,
A ragged beggar with a lovely face,
Reigns the sad marigold.
And I have sought June’s butterfly for days,
To find it–like a coreopsis bloom–
Amber and seal, rain-murdered ‘neath the blaze
Of this sunflower’s plume.
Here basks the bee; and there, sky-voyaging wings
Dare God’s blue gulfs of heaven; the last song,
The red-bird flings me as adieu, still rings
Upon yon pear-tree’s prong.
No angry sunset brims with rosier red
The bowl of heaven than the days, indeed,
Pour in each blossom of this salvia-bed,
Where each leaf seems to bleed.
And where the wood-gnats dance, a tiny mist,
Above the efforts of the weedy stream,
The girl, October, tired of the tryst,
Dreams a diviner dream.
One foot just dipping the caressing wave,
One knee at languid angle; locks that drown
Hands nut-stained; hazel-eyed, she lies, and grave,
Watching the leaves drift down.