From the Green Book of the Bards

by Bliss Carman




Ah, brother, it is bitter cold in here
This time of year!
December is a sorry month indeed
For your frail August breed.

I find you numb this morning on the pane,


Searching in vain
A little warmth to thaw those airy vans,
Arrested in their plans.

I breathe on you; and lo, with lurking might
Those members slight


Revive and stir; the little human breath
Dissolves their frosty death.

You trim those quick antennæ as of old,
Forget the cold,
And spread those stiffened sails once more to dare


The elemental air.

Does that thin deep, unmarinered and blue,
Come back to you,
Dreaming of ports whose bearing you have lost,
Where cruised no pirate frost?


Ah, shipmate, there'll be two of us some night,
In ghostly plight,
In cheerless latitudes beyond renown,
When the long frost shuts down.

What if that day, in unexpected guise,


Strong, kind, and wise,
Above me should the great Befriender bow,
As I above you now,—

Reset the ruined time-lock of the heart,
And bid it start,

And every frost-bound joint and valve restore
To supple play once more!