Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HAGEN WALDER, by ALICE CARY



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HAGEN WALDER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The day, with a cold, dead color
Last Line: Sitting in a row!
Subject(s): Mills & Millers


THE day, with a cold, dead color
Was rising over the hill,
When little Hagen Walder
Went out to grind in th' mill.

All vainly the light in zigzags
Fell through the frozen leaves,
And like a broidery of gold
Shone on his ragged sleeves.

No mother had he to brighten
His cheek with a kiss, and say,
"'T is cold for my little Hagen
To grind in the mill to-day."

And that was why the north winds
Seemed all in his path to meet,
And why the stones were so cruel
And sharp beneath his feet.

And that was why he hid his face
So oft, despite his will,
Against the necks of the oxen
That turned the wheel of th' mill.

And that was why the tear-drops
So oft did fall and stand
Upon their silken coats that were
As white as a lady's hand.

So little Hagen Walder
Looked at the sea and th' sky,
And wished that he were a salmon,
In the silver waves to lie;

And wished that he were an eagle,
Away through th' air to soar,
Where never the groaning mill-wheel
Might vex him any more:

And wished that he were a pirate,
To burn some cottage down,
And warm himself; or that he were
A market-lad in the town,

With bowls of bright red strawberries
Shining on his stall,
And that some gentle maiden
Would come and buy them all!

So little Hagen Walder
Passed, as the story says,
Through dreams, as through a golden gate,
Into realities.

And when the years changed places,
Like the billows, bright and still,
In th' ocean, Hagen Walder
Was the master of the mill.

And all his bowls of strawberries
Were not so fine a show
As are his boys and girls at church
Sitting in a row!





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