Today, through your Easter market
In the lazy Southern sun,
I strolled with hands in pockets
Past the flower-stalls one by one.
Indolent, dreamy, ready
For anything to amuse,
Shyfoot out for a ramble
In his oldest hat and shoes.
Roses creamy and yellow,
Azaleas crimson and white,
And the flaky fresh carnations
My Orient of delight,—
Masses and banks of blossom
That dazzle and summon the eye,
Till the buyers are half bewildered
To know what they want. Not I.
Who would not rather be artist
And slip through the crowd unseen
To gather it all in a picture
And guess what the faces mean?
So down through the chaffering darkies
I pass to the sidewalk’s end,
Through the smiling gingham bonnets
With their small farm-stuff to vend.
When, hello! my dreamer, sudden
As call at the dead of night,
What sets your pulses a-quiver,
What sets your fancy alight?
Sure of it! Mayflowers, mayflowers,
Scent of the North in spring!
Out in the vernal distance,
Heart of me, whither a-wing?
“Give me some!” Clutch the first handful,
Hungering rover of earth!
How I devour and kiss them,
Beauties that brought me to birth,
Away in the great north country,
The land of the lonely sun,
Where God has few for his fellows,
And the wolves of the snowdrift run.
Once more to the frost-bound valley
Comes April with rain in her jar;
I can hear the vesper sparrow
Under the silver star.
And many and dear and gracious
Are the dreams that walk at my side
From the land of the lingering shadows,
As out of the throng I stride.
Oh, well for you, mere onlooker,
Who drift through the world’s great mart!
But we of the human sorrow
Have a joy beyond your art.