Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DUMB IN JUNE, by RICHARD EUGENE BURTON



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DUMB IN JUNE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Ah, the thought hurts at my heart
Last Line: Dumb in june!
Subject(s): Death; Earth; Hearts; June; Life; Singing & Singers; Soul; Summer; Dead, The; World; Songs


I

AH, the thought hurts at my heart,
Ah, the thought is death to singing,
Dumb in June! to lack the art,
The divine deep impulse bringing
Power and passion in their train;
To perceive the subtile wane
Of the waters erstwhile springing
Buoyant, brimful on the shore;
Ebb-tide now for evermore!
Song-tide o'er, no mounting moon
With her white lures to the sea
Surging once from depths of me,
Till the earth and sky seemed ringing
With the wild waves' melody,
With their large, unfettered tune;
Dumb in June!

II

Yet by sea and by land,
In the water-wooed marshes or meadows wide-reaching and bland,
The summer is regal and rich, the summer on every hand
Spills largesses splendid to mortals, to women and men.
For when
Is the breeze sweeter fraught with the breath of the hay,
Is the thrush-note more calm or the robin's loud lay
More blithe, or the rose more the queen of the day?
Now say,
What month is more bounteous in beauties, in balms,
In lyrics, in psalms,
In gold-heart fair fancies of sunset, and calms
Of twilight, or after-glows wondrously clear?
One may hear
The booming of bees and the brook's lulled refrain,
The stream's liquid epic, the grasshopper's plain,
The frog's bass reiterant languor at night,
The day-long and dark-long sound-woof, inter-plight,
With dreamings and memories somber or bright.
And yet,
Oh, regret,
Oh, pain that is death doubly keen,
The Goddess of Song will not stead me, al-be she hath seen
My anguish, my voiceless despair in the midst of the green
And glorious season that shimmers and sparkles and blows;
Will not grant me the boon
Of a single brief air that is born as the violet grows
In the woods, shy-withdrawn from the outer world's welter and woes,
To the sound of the treetops' dim croon.
I am dumb, be it morning or noontide or eve;
'Tis a thought that must haunt me and bid me to grieve,
Dumb in June!

III

A very miracle
I saw a moment gone:
A honeysuckle, vine and bloom
Lustrous green and coral red,
I glimpsed above my head
Shedding a rapt perfume.
And then this marvel fell
That I would dwell upon:
A bird -- nay, rather say an airy sprite
Compact of color, light,
And a most ravishing power of flight,
Darted from nowhere, somewhere
And alighted there,
And sat at gaze a moment or twain,
And then was off again.
Not Wordsworth's cuckoo were a dearer guest
Unto my quest,
So insubstantial, spirit small
And fleetsome in his call;
Ah, you know well
It was the humming-bird whereof I tell,
But there I drowsed, nor might with song commune,
Dumb to this visitant frolicsome,
Dumb in June!

IV

This mother-month of Summer holds her place
Not only by the grace
Attending on her many winsome ways --
Her flower-gifts, her bird-lays,
Her bridal form and face, --
But by what went before and cometh after;
April tears, May blooms and laughter,
September's blazonry, and then October
Fruit-ripe and hushed and most imperially sober
With sense of harvest dignity and worth.
Thus, memory and expectation,
Spring-gleams, fruitions of the fall,
Encircle June and give unto her station
A reverend look, a light historical;
Child, maiden, matron, she is each and all;
A poet must do her homage -- but alas!
The good days come and pass,
Therewith the knowledge they are over soon,
Yet from my pipe the vibrancy is fled,
I may not music wed,
But fain must lie grief-stricken in the grass,
Dumb, dumb in June.

V

Now cease the querulous lament
Of weakling discontent!
All things must by their living learn to know
The blight of silence, dearth and snow
That covers up the goodship of the flowers.
Our mortal hours
Are shapen so; perchance when trees are bare
And ice-tipped daggers hurtle through the air
And death is everywhere,
My lips shall be loosened for song, and the lyre
Soft-touched with ethereal fire
Shall quiver, suspire
Sweet harmonies, motions ecstatic and higher
Than any the loftiest pitch of my hope;
Perchance neither snow-time nor rose-time gives scope
To the music pent in me, in each seeking soul;
May be that our goal,
Our altar for singing lies elsewhere, afar,
In a dream, in a star,
And the slow-working leaven
Of years shall make mortal immortally strong
For song,
For full hymning in Heaven!
May it be,
May the summers be strewn
With hints and foretokens for heartening of me
And hosts of my brothers, who yearn for the voice
Wherewith to rejoice,
Yet nathless remain
Year through and life through and ever again
Song numb, song dumb,
Dumb in June!





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