Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A FLOWER FROM THE CATSKILLS, by E. W.

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First Line: The orchards that climb the hillsides
Last Line: Reach heavenly perfectness.
Subject(s): Trees

THE orchards that climb the hillsides,
That lie in the valley below,
Are white in the soft May sunshine,
And fragrant with May-day snow.
The violets wakened by April
Their watch in the meadow yet keep,
The golden spurs of the columbine
Are hung where the lichens creep.

Still gleams by the sluggish waters
Some loitering marigold,
Where ferns, late greeting the sunshine,
Their downy green plumes unfold.
And just by the wooded waysides
Faint glows the azalea's blush, --
The dawn of the coming summer,
The morning's awakening flush!

But there where the wind-rent rain-clouds
O'ershadow the Catskills' crest,
There blossoms one flower more precious,
Far sweeter than all the rest.
Where scarcely a leaf has opened,
The promise of summer to give,
Where the lingering winds of winter
For the sleet and the snow-drift grieve,

Where the trees grow scant and stunted,
And scarcely a shadow is cast,
There nestles the trailing arbutus
Close, close to the hill's cold breast.
The storm-winds give to it courage,
The skies give it power to bless,
And it giveth to all its loving
In its happy thankfulness.

Now pink as the lip of the sea-shell,
Now white as the breakers' foam,
It spreadeth its stainless treasure
To brighten its rugged home.
Low trailing amid the mosses
Its delicate blossoms lie, --
Giving the earth its beauty,
Its worship giving the sky.

Though bleak be the home that reared it,
And rough be its lullaby,
Gathering strength from the tempest,
And grace from the fair blue sky,
It waiteth with patient longing,
In the snow's embrace held fast,
Still trusting, with faith unbroken,
The sun to welcome at last, --

To welcome with loving greeting
The soft falling step of spring,
Scarce felt on the northern hill-slopes,
Where the lingering snow-drifts cling;
And faint on the winds up-sweeping
Is wafted its perfume rare,
Like the incense of worship ascending, --
The mountains' low, unspoken prayer!

O brave little blossom! still teach us
Through love to be patient and strong,
Though the spring be laggard in coming,
And the days be dark and long.
Like thy bloom by the rude ways scattered,
Each day some life may we bless,
Till our souls, like thy fragrance ascending,
Reach heavenly perfectness.

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