Voices out of the shade that cried,
And long noon in the hot calm places,
And children’s play by the wayside,
And country eyes, and quiet faces—
All these were round my steady paces.
Those that I could have loved went by me;
Cool gardened homes slept in the sun;
I heard the whisper of water nigh me,
Saw hands that beckoned, shone, were gone
In the green and gold. And I went on.
For if my echoing footfall slept,
Soon a far whispering there’d be
Of a little lonely wind that crept
From tree to tree, and distantly
Followed me, followed me. . . .
But the blue vaporous end of day
Brought peace, and pursuit baffled quite,
Where between pine-woods dipped the way.
I turned, slipped in and out of sight.
I trod as quiet as the night.
The pine-boles kept perpetual hush;
And in the boughs wind never swirled.
I found a flowering lowly bush,
And bowed, slid in, and sighed and curled,
Hidden at rest from all the world.
Safe! I was safe, and glad, I knew!
Yet—with cold heart and cold wet brows
I lay. And the dark fell. . . . There grew
Meward a sound of shaken boughs;
And ceased, above my intricate house;
And silence, silence, silence found me. . . .
I felt the unfaltering movement creep
Among the leaves. They shed around me
Calm clouds of scent, that I did weep;
And stroked my face. I fell asleep.