Mid-August (Poem by Duncan Campbell Scott)

Suggested Poem


Mid-August
By Duncan Campbell Scott


From the upland hidden,
    Where the hill is sunny
    Tawny like pure honey
    In the August heat,
Memories float unbidden
    Where the thicket serries
    Fragrant with ripe berries
    And the milk-weed sweet.

Like a prayer-mat holy
    Are the patterned mosses
    Which the twin-flower crosses
    With her flowerless vine;
In fragile melancholy
    The pallid ghost flowers hover
    As if to guard and cover
    The shadow of a shrine.

Where the pine-linnet lingered
    The pale water searches,
    The roots of gleaming birches
    Draw silver from the lake;
The ripples, liquid-fingered,
    Plucking the root-layers,
    Fairy like lute players
    Lulling music make.

O to lie here brooding
    Where the pine-tree column
    Rises dark and solemn
    To the airy lair,
Where, the day eluding,
    Night is couched dream laden,
    Like a deep witch-maiden
    Hidden in her hair.

In filmy evanescence
    Wraithlike scents assemble,
    Then dissolve and tremble
    A little until they die;
Spirits of the florescence
    Where the bees searched and tarried
    Till the blossoms all were married
    In the days before July.

Light has lost its splendour,
    Light refined and sifted,
    Cool light and dream drifted
    Ventures even where,
(Seeping silver tender)
    In the dim recesses,
    Trembling mid her tresses,
    Hides the maiden hair.

Covered with the shy-light,
    Filling in the hushes,
    Slide the tawny thrushes
    Calling to their broods,
Hoarding till the twilight
    The song that made for noon-days
    Of the amorous June days
    Preludes and interludes.

The joy that I am feeling
    Is there something in it
    Unlike the warble the linnet
    Phrases and intones?
Or is a like thought stealing
    With a rapture fine, free
    Through the happy pine tree
    Ripening her cones?

In some high existence
    In another planet
    Where their poets cannot
    Know our birds and flowers,
Does the same persistence
    Give the dreams they issue
    Something like the tissue
    Of these dreams of ours?

O to lie athinking — 
    Moods and whims! I fancy
    Only necromancy
    Could the web unroll,
Only somehow linking
    Beauties that meet and mingle
    In this quiet dingle
    With the beauty of the whole.

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