Saturday, October 29, 2011

Three Grey Days / Francis Sherman

Three Grey Days

If she would come, now, and say, What will you, Lover? —
She who has the fairest gifts of all the earth to give —
Think you I should ask some tremendous thing to prove her,
Her life, say, and all her love, so long as she might live? . . .
Should I touch her hair? her hands? her garments, even?
Nay! for such rewards the gods their own good time have set!
Once, these were all mine; the least, poor one was heaven:
Now, lest she remember, I pray that she forget.

Merely should I ask — ah! she would not refuse them
Who still seems very kind when I meet with her in dreams —
Only three of our old days, and — should she help to choose
them —
Would the first not be in April, beside the sudden streams? . . .
Once, upon a morning, up the path that we had taken,
We saw Spring come where the willow-buds are gray,
Heard the high hills, as with tread of armies, shaken;
Felt the strong sun — O the glory of that day!

And then — what? one afternoon of quiet summer weather!
O, woodlands and meadow-lands along the blue St. John,
My birch finds a path — though your rafts lie close together —
Then O! what starry miles before the gray o’ the dawn! . . .
I have met the new day, among the misty islands,
Come with whine of saw-mills and whirr of hidden wings,
Gleam of dewy cobwebs, smell of grassy highlands, —
Ah! the blood grows young again thinking of these things.

Then, last and best of all! Though all else were found hollow
Would Time not send a little space, before the Autumn’s close,
And lead us up the road — the old road we used to follow
Among the sunset hills till the Hunter’s Moon arose? . . .
Then, home through the poplar-wood! damp across our faces
The gray leaves that fall, the moths that flutter by:
Yea! this for me, now, of all old hours and places,
To keep when I am dead, Time, until she come to die.

Francis Sherman (1871-1926)
From A Canadian Calendar, 1900

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the European Union]

Francis Sherman biography

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