Songs of the Common Day, and Ave!

An Ode for the Shelley Centenary

by Charles G.D. Roberts




I SEE the harsh, wind-ridden, eastward hill,
     By the red cattle pastured, blanched with dew;
     The small, mossed hillocks where the clay gets through;
The grey webs woven on milkweed tops at will.
The sparse, pale grasses flicker, and are still.
     The empty flats yearn seaward. All the view
     Is naked to the horizon's utmost blue;
And the bleak spaces stir me with strange thrill.

Not in perfection dwells the subtler power
     To pierce our mean content, but rather works
     Through incompletion, and the need that irks,—
Not in the flower, but effort toward the flower.
     When the want stirs, when the soul's cravings urge,
     The strong earth strengthens, and the clean heavens purge.