Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE OUTCAST'S DREAM, by OLIVE BELL



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THE OUTCAST'S DREAM, by            
First Line: From morn till noon the golden glow
Last Line: Some old home song or old love strain?
Subject(s): Dreams; Pennsylvania; Nightmares


FROM morn till noon the golden glow
Of bright September sunlight falls
On dewy glades, where fall flowers hide
Behind the dull, dark lichen walls.
From noon till night the slanting rays
Creep through the tangled winter vine,
Where berries fringe the bending sprays,
Like crimson drops of rare old wine.

From morn till noon, from noon till night,
O'erspreads the earth with jewelled robes,
And fire-flies light the purplish dusk
With countless golden glowing globes;
A woman stalks through dust and heat,
Until the fleece-like mists of night
Enfold her thin and ill-clad form
In trailing robes of bridal white.

Her feet are bruised with jagged stones, --
Her tender feet that years ago
Her mother's hands had fondly wrapped
In infant robes of downy snow;
Her pallid brow, that mother's lips
Had kissed with mother's kisses pure,
Is racked with pain that only they
Who homeless roam the world endure.

The clear, rich notes of wild birds break
The slumberous calm like Sabbath bells,
And from the brakes the thrush's song
In sad, pathetic sweetness swells.
The cool night-air is fragrant with
The scents that rise from dewy flowers,
As by the new moon's waning light
She counts the twilight's fleeting hours.

Her wild, sad eyes with wistful glare
Count all the landmarks, one by one,
Until she stands beyond the ridge
Where blossoms catch the morning sun;
And where the plover builds her nest
In meadow grasses lush and long,
And where in girlhood's happy years
She raked the hay, with mirthful song.

The old white stone beside the spring
Is there, as white and smooth as when
She filled her pail and mocked the caw
Of blackbirds in the reedy glen.
And when the gates of morn unfold,
She knows the sunbeams drifting down
Will steal through casements quaint and old,
And snow-white locks with glory crown.

She wanders on to where the spring
Is lost in countless silvery rills,
Then drops asleep, her silvery head
On pillows fringed with daffodils;
While in her dream her mother comes
And strokes her brow with soothing palms
That wash away the marks of shame,
And fill her soul with restful calms.

She feels warm, quivering kisses on her face
(The dews that heaven kindly sends),
And hears again the dear, brave voice
That gently censures or commends.
The vesper hymns they sang at eve,
The Sabbath chants of humble praise,
Float through her dreams, sweet memories from
The deathless bliss of childhood's days.

Ah! once again she's young and pure;
Ah! once again her sinless brow
Is bound with roses rich and red,
Whose hearts with crimson beauty glow;
She hears again the subtle voice
That taught her love's most bitter pain.
On cheek and lips and wrinkled brow
His kisses fall like summer rain.

She cries aloud, her yearning hands
Outstretched to meet each fond caress,
Then sinks in shame to hide her face
In dripping clumps of watercress.
For what has life for such as her
But tortured thought, undying pain;
And what are dreams but stray chords from
Some old home song or old love strain?





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