Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CIPHERS, by ABBIE FARWELL BROWN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CIPHERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Oh, to be a wonder-child
Last Line: Nature's old rosetta stone!
Subject(s): Language; Words; Vocabulary

OH, to be a wonder-child
And read the cipher of the wild!

A starry-splintered alphabet
In the ancient rocks is set,
Spelling, if one held the key,
All creation's history.
Cryptic messages I trace
Etched on many a flower-face;
Graven symbols score the pines,
The birches wear mysterious signs --
Perhaps the wistful diary
Of the Dryad in her tree.

On the open page of snow
Curious hieroglyphics show,
Dots and dashes, twist and thrust,
Carven in the crystal crust;
Marks of furred and feathered things
With furtive feet or startled wings --
Comic secrets of the dark,
Silent tragedy and stark.

Ciphers, ciphers everywhere,
In the sky, the wave, the air!
On the faces that one meets
Adrift upon the eddying streets;
On the near and dear, that change
With lines inscrutable and strange --
Palimpsests that time has wrought
With the signs of hidden thought,
Dreams unguessed and griefs unsaid,
Passionate yearning unbetrayed.

Ah, could Love but find and own
Nature's old Rosetta Stone!

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