Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO CHILDREN: 5. DAME HOLIDAY, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET



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TO CHILDREN: 5. DAME HOLIDAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: No such a name as holiday I thought me to have found
Last Line: Tell her I found her fond and fair, and that I loved her face!
Subject(s): Children; Holidays; Childhood


No such a name as Holiday I thought me to have found
Till I went forth this holy day beyond the city's round
Of milling wheels and clanging bells
Where smoke is dark and clamor swells,
And wandered to the ground
Of Holiday, Dame Holiday,
Dressed in her best Dame Holiday,
And in a fair compound!
For grasses green and grasses blue
Made o'er her dancing plat for new
And arching skies of lovelier hue
Walled round her dancing ground!
No such a name as Holiday? She hath her acres yet!
In cramosie and taffeta; and pranked with blooms, to laugh at a
Poor grown-up dullard blinking small, she foots her dewy-wet
And sun-warm pastures, curtsying sweet, with budding lips and twinkling feet!

She whirled me through a merry dance -- Dame Holiday her clown!
The fields reeled round our whirling waltz, the sun shook, laughing down;
And odors out of Araby and gems and blooms of dream
Swirled from her vivid, gracious gown with glow and glint and gleam!

I crowned myself of holiday
With sesame and rue.
The world oped gates that holy day
And nature passed me through!
Old grandsire mountains leant their knees, and I was companied by trees
To gaze upon the wrestling seas
And look beyond the view!

At Acre and Byzantium were wonders shown of old
From looms, from mines, from vats, from vines rich spoils and manifold,
But Holiday had wand for more
Than ever man had seen before
If that the truth were told!

The little gnomes that work in mines, the folk of glades and trees,
And butterflies like valentines, and boist'rous birds and bees
We gathered for our retinue to dance and prance the hours through
With mystery and history and worlds beyond the view!

This rhyme be just for holiday. The world was colored then.
The clouds went marching up the blue like hosts of fighting men.
I carol out of tune and time
O child, for you a failing rhyme --
Let fall my futile pen --
And reach my arms to Holiday, Dame Holiday, Dame Holiday --
Through walls to float to Holiday from moil and toil and men!

No such a name as Holiday? This let my rhyme be worth:
Go search for Mistress Holiday the ends of all the earth!
Then, an' you find her dancing there
In her wide countryside,
And such rare sun and green and air as did to me betide,
Then, an' you find her warm and rare
In God's great garden-place --
Tell her I found her fond and fair, and that I loved her face!





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