Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IN THE MAY, by KATHARINE TYNAN

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IN THE MAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Oh, my swallows! Hasten up from the south
Last Line: The wheel and whir of our swallows, our dear latecomers.
Alternate Author Name(s): Hinkson, Katharine Tynan

OH, my swallows! hasten up from the South,
For young May walks knee-deep in the Irish meadows,
And living gold is her hair, and the breath of her mouth
Is delight, and her eyes are starring the happy shadows;
The honey heart o' the cowslip lies at her feet,
The faint-flushed buds of the hawthorn trail o'er her bosom,
And the floating gown that covers her, fragrant and sweet,
Is the drifted rose and snow of the apple-blossom.

Fair are the passionate skies of the southern land,
Blue beyond dreams, and a great sun hangeth all golden;
Fair are the hills that are sceptred kings, as they stand
With the gold on their brows and their ermine mantles unfolden,
And the purple robe to their feet, and the death on their eyes;
And fair the vales where the sunny rivers are singing:
There are the vines, and the olives silver of guise,
And overhead are the white doves wheeling and winging.

Oh, but our Irish woods are lovely to-day!
The trees are young knights, in whose helms the proud plumes quiver;
Singing lustily goeth the wind on his way;
The voice of a naiad chants in the reeds by the river;
A young wind bloweth the dancing grasses aside;
On baby leaves at their play is a white sun streaming;
And down from the hills the rain comes veiled as a bride,
With dripping feet, and her silver mantle all gleaming.

Surely the nightingale, under a southern moon,
Singeth the deathless tale of her passion divinely;
But oh, the innocent joy of the blackbird's tune,
And the liquid trill of the thrush as she carols finely!
Whistle, my blackbird, out in the orchard croft;
Whistle, my gold-throat, clear as the viols of heaven;
Answer, my thrush, with your silver fluting and soft
Make faint the pale translucent air of the even!

Long of coming! our king-cup meadows are gold,
And the daisies dance in the balmy wind that is blowing;
I hear the bleating of young lambs free from the fold;
The shadows fly where the spears of the wheat ear showing;
Soon will the lilac open, waxen and sweet,
And laburnum's torch flare out in the golden weather;
And oh, the joy of our summer were incomplete
Wanting the flash and gleam of the swallow's feather.

Hasten, hasten! over the leagues of foam;
Flee over yeasty seas, over low land and high land,
And answer, swallows, answer true when ye come --
In all the lands is a land as lovely as my land?
Up from the southward floats with the breast of a dove
A silver cloud to our misty skies that are summer's,
And lo! the flash of the happy wings that we love,
The wheel and whir of our swallows, our dear latecomers.

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