Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SUMMONS, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET

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THE SUMMONS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: To-day the dreamy distances / of grape-stained, purple hills
Last Line: Oh, vagabond am I!
Subject(s): Love; Singing & Singers; Songs


To-day the dreamy distances
Of grape-stained, purple hills
Spun out thin, hazy mists that ran
To greet far plains where streams began
World-faring from their rills.

And, oh, my heart was singing, dear!
The wood, the wind, the sun
With age-old scents my nostrils thrilled,
With fierce, young strength my being filled,
The hills and I were one!
For, follow—follow—follow!
The sweet wind calls to me.
Hill-rim to misty hollow
'Tis follow—follow—follow!
And oh, the far hill crest that hails
The first gust of the sea!


To-day a pagan wreath wear I
Of goldenrod and corn.
To-day the russet world is clad
In Bacchic mirth to make me glad,
The joy of souls reborn.

Oh, glad my heart is faring, dear,
Through wood and wind and sun!
The oils that flame you western sky
Are not more brave—more brave than I.
The hills and I are one!
For, follow—follow—follow!
The leaf-crisp highway calls.
Hill-rim to misty hollow
'Tis follow—follow—follow!
The drunken wind's mad vagrant I
Beyond the city's walls!


To-day to cloud-blown sky above
My reckless gage is flung.
To-day a creaking highroad tree,
A bonfire's blaze shall frantic me
To ecstasies unsung.

For, oh, my heart is singing, dear,
With wood and sun and wind!
Ho, bark-brown dryads of the trees—
Ho, nereids of the cresting seas!
The world is left behind.
'Tis follow—follow—follow
The sword-flame of the sky!
Hill-rim to misty hollow
The cry goes, Follow—follow!
And vagabond—thrice vagabond—
Oh, vagabond am I!

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