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ANTHOLOGY OF MASSACHUSETTS POETS (25)

2006-08-28 19:24

    HILL-FANTASY

    SITTETH by the red cairn a brown One, a hoofed One, High upon the mountain, where the grasses fail. Where the ash-trees flourish far their blazing Bunches to the sun, A brown One, a hoofed One, pipes against the gale. Up scrambled I then, furry fingers helping me.

    I was on the mountain, wandering, wandering; No one but the pine trees and the white birch knew. Over rocks I scrambled, looked up and saw that Strange Thing, Peaked ears and sharp horns, pricked against the blue.

    Oh, and, how he piped there! piped upon the high reeds Till the blue air crackled like a frost-film on a pool! Oh, and how he spread himself, like a child whom no one heeds, Tumbled chuckling in the brook, all sleek and kind and cool!

    He had berries 'twixt his horns, crimson-red as cochineal., Bobbing, wagging wantonly they tickled him, and oh, How his deft lips puckered round the reed, seemed to chase and steal Sky-music, earth-music, tree-music low! I said "Good-day, Thou!" He said, "Good-day, Thou!" Wiped his reed against the spotted doe-skin on his back, He said, "Come up here, and I will teach thee piping now. While the earth is singing so, for tunes we shall not Lack."

    Up scrambled I then, furry fingers helping me. Up scrambled I. So we sat beside the cairn. Broad into my face laughed that horned Thing so Naughtily. Oh, it was a rascal of a woodland Satyr's bairn!

    'So blow, and so, Thou! Move thy fingers faster, look! Move them like the little leaves and whirling midges. So! Soon `twill twist like tendrils and out-twinkle like the lost brook. Move thy fingers merrily, and blow! Blow! Blow!"

    Brown One! Hoofed One! Beat time to keep me Straight. Kick it on the red stone, whistle in my ear. Brush thy crimson berries in my face, then hold Thy breath, for-wait! Joy comes bubbling to me lips. I pipe, oh, hear!

    Blue sky, art glad of us? Green wood, art glad of us? Old hard-heart mountain, dost thou hear me, how I blow? Far away the sea-isles swim in sun-haze luminous. Each one has a color like the seven-splendor bow.

    Wind, wind, wind, dost thou mind me how I pipe, Now? Chipmunk chatt'ring in the beech, rabbit in the brake? Furry arm around my neck: "Oh, Thou art a brave one, Thou!" Satyr, little satyr-friend, my heart with joy doth ache !

    Sky-music, earth-music, tree-music tremulous, Water over steaming rocks, water in the shade, Storm-tune and sun-tune, how they flock up unto us, Sitting by the red cairn, gay and unafraid!

    Brown One, Hoofed One, give me nimble hoofs, Thou! Give me furry fingers and a secret furry tail! Pleasant are thy smooth horns: if their like were on my brow Might I not abide here, till the strong sun fail?

    Oh, the sorry brown eyes! Oh, the soft kind hand- touch, Sudden brush of velvet ears across my wind-cool cheek! "Play-mate, Pipe-mate, thou askest one good boon too much. I could never find thee horns, though day-long I seek.

    "Yet, keep the pipe, Thou: I will cut another one. Keep the pipe and play on it for all the world to hear. Ah, but it was good once to sit together in the sun! Though I have but half a soul, it finds thee very dear!

    "Wise Thing, Mortal Thing, yet my half-soul fears thee! Take the pipe and go thy ways,——quick now, for the sun Reels across the hot west and stumbles dazzled to the sea. Take the pipe, and oh-one kiss! then run, run, run! run!"

    Silence on the mountain. Lonely stands the high cairn, All the leaves a-shivering, all the stones dead-gray. O thou cold small pipe, which way is fled that Satyr's bairn? I am lost and all alone, and down drops the day.

    I was on the mountain, wandering, wandering There I got this Pipe o' dreams. Strange, when I blow, Something deep as human love starts a-crying, troubling. Is it only sky-music, earth-music low?

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