Three Island Songs

AFTER the wind in the wood,
Peace, and the night.
After the bond and the brood,
After the height and the hush
Where the wild hawk swings,
Heart of the earth-loving thrush
Shaken with wings.

After the bloom and the leaf
Rain on the nest.
After the splendour and grief,
After the hills and the far
Glories and gleams,
Cloud, and the dawn of a star,
And dreams.


O, THE gray rocks of the islands and the hemlock green above them,
The foam beneath the wild rose bloom, the star above the shoal.
When I am old and weary I'll wake my heart to love them,
For the blue ways of the islands are wound about my soul.
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Here in the early even when the young gray dew is falling,
And the king-heron seeks his mate beyond the loneliest wild,
Still your heart in the twilight, and you'll hear the river calling
Through all her outmost islands to seek her lastborn child.


I SAT among the green leaves, and heard the nuts falling,
The broad red butterflies were gold against the sun,
But in between the silence and the sweet birds calling
The nuts fell one by one.

Why should they fall and the year but half over ?
Why should sorrow seek me and I so young and kind ?
The leaf is on the bough and the dew is on the clover,
But the green nuts are falling in the wind.

O, I gave my lips away and all my soul behind them.
Why should trouble follow and the quick tears start ?
The little birds may love and fly with only God to mind them,
But the green nuts are falling on my heart.

by Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall

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