Monday, March 11, 2013

Paris at Dawn

From one of Hodges' scrapbooks, with the inscription "after years of World wandering I paste this in my book.  WCH.  1923."  The author of this poem is unknown.

Paris at Dawn

Paris at dawn; Egypt beneath the stars;
And spring in Tuscany!
Where, through ruined temples of old avatars,
The young moon peers,
White with the silver of forgotten tears;
Still, down the years,
New Aprils move eternally,
In rhapsodies of almond bloom.
And poets loved this beauty, too,
Who walked the secret way they knew.
Down to a shadowy tomb.

And other splendors--on the sea,
Set like a jewel--Sicily,
Crown with the light of Etna.  On her breast,
Her ruins like a decoration, rest.
Marbles of Greece, that knew immortal hours;
Gardens of far Japan, steeped in a wine of flowers;
Faint temple bells, the nightingale,
And palace, mosque, and minaret;
The burning stars upon a desert trail--
An ancient symbol--lest our hearts forget.

After all splendors--if the South--
My South, still knows
And gives some word of beauty for a sign;
The waxen marvel of camellias, white and rose;
A wide-winged heron's cloudy flight;
A thrush's mouth,
Brimming with starry music, through a night
Where pine-tree shadows stir,
And lily-troubled waters shine--
I shall return!  Ah, not to call it lovelier--
This land--than all the rest
My pilgrim feet have pressed,
But only that these things are mine--are wholly mine!

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