Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > Anthology of Massachusetts Poets
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962).  Anthology of Massachusetts Poets.  1922.
Edward J. O’Brien
To W. S. B.
I RAN into the sunset light
    As hard as I could run:
The treetops bowed in sheer delight
As if they loved the sun:
And all the songs of little birds        5
Who laughed and cried in silver words
Were joined as they were one.
And down the streaming golden sky
A lark came circling with a cry
Of wonder-weaving joy:        10
And all the arch of heaven rang
Where meadowlands of dreaming hang
As when I was a boy.
And through the ringing solitude
In pulsing lovely amplitude        15
A mist hung in a shroud,
As though the light of loneliness
Turned pure delight to holiness,
And bathed it in a cloud.
I stripped my laughing body bare        20
And plunged into that holy air
That washed me like a sea,
And raced against its silver tide
That stroked my eager glancing side
And made my spirit free.        25
Across the limits of the land
The wind and I swept hand and hand
Beyond the golden glow.
We danced across the ocean plain
Like thrushes singing in the rain        30
A song of long ago.
And on into the silver night
We strove to win the race with light
And bring the vision home,
And bring the wonder home again        35
Unto the sleeping eyes of men
Across the singing foam.
And down the river of the world
Our glowing, limbs in glory swirled
As spring within a flower,        40
And stars in music of delight
Streamed gayly down our shoulders white
Like petals in a shower.
And tears of awful wonder ran
Adown my cheeks to hear the clan        45
Of beauty chaunting white
The prayer too deep for living word,
Or sight of man or winging bird,
Or music over forest heard
At falling of the night.        50
And dropping slowly as the dew
On grasses that the winds renew
In urge of flooding fire,
And softly as the hushing boughs
The gentle airs of dawn arouse        55
To cradle morning’s quire.
The murmur of the singing leaves
Around the secret Flame,
Like mating swallows ’neath the eaves
In rustling silence came,        60
And flowing through the silent air
Creation fluttered in a prayer
Descending on a spiral stair,
And calling me by name.
It nestled in my dreaming eyes        65
Like heaven in a lake,
And softened hope into surprise
For very beauty’s sake,
And silence blossomed into morn,
Whose fragrant rosy-breasted dawn        70
Could scarcely bear to break.
I sang into the morning light
As loud as I could sing,
The treetops bowed in sheer delight
Before the slanting wing.        75
And all the songs of little birds
Who laughed and cried in silver words
Adored the Risen Spring.


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