Poetry, VOLUME 3

Poem: “Spring Rivulet” Liberty Hyde Bailey [Vol. 3, #8]

“Spring Rivulet”
Liberty Hyde Bailey

Doulos Christou Press, 2008 edition)

When the March suns come
And meadows are free
And the waters start
A-way to the sea,
Far back in the fields
When the keen winds blow
I follow a rill
From a bank of snow.
There the last drift lies
In a fence-row hedge
And an inch-wide thread
Drops out of its edge;
And the, day-old pools
Ice-rimmed on the grass
Seep into the stream
As its waters pass.
Sparkle and sparkle the streamlets roam,
Grasses and twigs are pointing from home.

Oh winter, my winter, you have left me again;
The snow’s gone from the hillsides and meadows are bare,
The orchards are vacant and all stark is the glen,
The highways are drying and the woodlands are spare.

Through the pastures high
Now free of their snows
On gray matted sod
The rivulet grows,—
Dips under a root
Falls over a stone
Slips under a bank
With a muffled tone,
Shines out in the sun
Then sweeps round a knoll
And spreads clear and still
In a weed-edged bowl.
It drains the mud slews
In the fields of wheat
And lays down the silt
Where the currents meet.

Bubble and bubble tumbles the foam,
Grasses and twigs will find a new home.

Oh robin, my robin, you are with me again;
The sap’s in the maple and the wood-twigs are bright,
The fence-rows are waking and afield are the men,
The March-winds are roaming and the willows are white.

It follows a groove
Turned out by the share
Then digs to the rocks
And washes them bare;
Then into high swales
’Mongst the cat-tail reeds
Where the bushes dip
With burden of weeds;
And over a cliff
It splinters and falls
And dashes its spray
On the frost-work walls;
Then on to the flats
Where the frogs will peep
And the pebbles shine
In its bottoms deep.
Silent and silent under the loam,
Grasses and twigs at last are at home.

Oh willow, my willow, you have come once again;
The sun’s on the marshes and the brooksides are green,
The lowlands are warming and astir is the fen,
The red-wing is calling and the marsh-pools are clean.

When the June days come
And the growths have spread
I pick out the course
Of the dry stream bed;—
A pathway of stones
A dip in the land
A basin of silt
A handful of sand;
A wisp of dry grass
Hung over the brim
A log-jam of sticks
Where the stream was slim;—
Its life was as full
For a week or day
As rivers that roll
To the sea always.
Babble and babble next spring ’twill roam,
Grasses and twigs will again sail home.

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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  1. Chiropodist Glossop

    Thanks for posting this, lifted my day.