Ballads and Lyrics

by Bliss Carman




FIELDS by Massachusetts Bay,
Where is he who yesterday

Called you Home, and loved to go
Where the cherry spreads her snow,

Through the purple misty woods

Of your soft spring solitudes,

Listening for the first fine gush
Of his fellow, the shy thrush—

Hearkening some diviner tone
Than our ears have ever known?


Woodland-mussing by the hour
When the locust comes in flower,

He would watch by hill and swamp
Every sign of her green pomp

Where your matchless June once more

Leads her pageant up the shore.

Slopes of bayberry and fern,
While you wait for his return,

Can it be that he would test
Some far region of the West,


At evening through the open door
With the cool scents of the shore,

While across our spirits sweep
Sea-turns from a vaster deep.

Sunlit fields, how gently now

Your white daises nod and bow,

Where soft wind and the sun
Grieve not for a mortal one!

Only the old sea the more
Seems to whisper and deplore,


Murmuring like a childish crone
With her sorrow left alone—

The eternal human cry
To the heedless passer by.

Marshes, while your channels fill

And the June birds have their will,

While the elms along your edge
Wave above the rusty sedge,

And the bobolinks day long
Ply their juggleries of song,


While the sailing ships go by
To their ports below the sky,

Still the old Thalassian blue
Bounds this lovely world for you,

And the lost horizon lies

Past your wonder or surmise.

Fields by Massachusetts Bay,
When your questioner shall say,

“Where is he who should have been
Poet of your lovely mien.


And your soul’s interpreter?”
Answer, every larch and fir,

“He was here, but he is gone.
Some high purpose not his own

Summoned his unwasted powers

From our common woods and flowers.

All too soon from our abode
Back he wended to the road,

Rich in love, if not in fame.
Philip Savage was his name.”