Trumbull Stickney

Here you will find the Long Poem In a City Garden of poet Trumbull Stickney

In a City Garden

How strange that here is nothing as it was! 
The sward is young and new, 
The sod there shapes a different mass, 
The random trees stand other than I knew. 
No, here the Past has left no residue, 
No aftermath! 
By a new path 
The workmen homeward in the city twilight pass. 

Yet was this willow here. 
It hung as now its olive skeins aloft 
Into the sky, then blue and clear,-- 
And yonder pair of poplar trees 

Rose also, soft 
And sibilant in the glory of the breeze. 
It's early dark. One scarce distinguishes 
Their sullen feathering in the autumn sky. 
'Tis warm and still. 
Dull o'er the town the vapours lie. 
And dodging the uncertain stare, 
The small, shrewd lampions dot the air. 

Many like me 
Loiter perhaps as I in after years, 
As looking here to see 
Some vestige of the living that was theirs, 
Some trace of yesterday, 
Somae hint or remnant, echo, clue--some thing, 
Some very little thing of what was they. 
Sure such are near! Else were it not so still 
This evening, 
So human-still and warm and kind. 
'Tis as of many moved 
In unison of will and mind to sing 
Low litanies to that which they had wholly loved. 
How sweet it is 
Under the perishable trees 
To hear the wings of the one human soul 
Fluttering up 
In Time's dark branches to the lucid stars. 
More than Despair is Hope, 
And more than Hope is the Hope that despairs, 
And more than all 
Is Love that disbelieves the real years. 

Here in this place 
One August morning--when the earlier crowd, 
Showmen or populace, 
From many a region and of curious face, 
Abroad the holiday 
Quaint in the sun with garb and gesture glowed, 
And, speaking grave or gay 
The various accent of their lonely race, 
Between the shadowy gold bazars idled away-- 
She, as a cloud 
All sunrise-coloured and alone, 
Thro' the blue summer tremblin came to me. 
I dried her tears and here we sat us down. 
Little by little, as tripping oversea 
On flame-tipped waves the daylight's long surprise 
Sweeps world and heaven in one, 
So love across our eyes 
Broke with the sun. 
Happy we walked away. The fairy sight 
Untangling shook a thousand chequered fires. 
Low under scarlet awnings rung on rung, 
Copper and bronze and azurite, 
Ranged on the sagging wires 
The trifles clinked in the red light. 
From beam and niche vendors in strange attires, 
Slipping dark hands along, 
Unhooked the quiet wool, the gaudy chintz, 
Or, precious where it hung, 
Long fluid jewels of auroral silk: 
And dryly to the sense 
Their attars old and dusty powders clung. 
Still passed the weavers and the dyers 
Many a jar, a bowl 
Turned as of water or of milk-- 
Glazen and jade and porcelain-- 
Far down the shadows colouring stole. 
As one had shook a jungle after rain 
And basketing the drops at random spilled 
Their red and green, their topaz and sapphires, 
All were here piled.-- 
And wandering out we smiled 
To see across the glowing noon so high, 
So high and far, 
The incandescent minarets and domes and spires 
Lifting the fusion of the coloured choirs 
To the sky 
Softly--save only where 
A flag or pennant fallen slack 
Shotted the dazzling air. 
I came to-day to find her, I came back 
Humble with sweet desires 
Across this dun September atmosphere 
To her. 
I came, I knew she was not here: 
Now let me go. 
I came, I come because I love her so. 

Not in the acres of the Soul 
Does Nature drive the ploughshare of her change. 
It is not strange 
That here in part and whole 
The faithful eye sees all things as before. 
For past the newer flowers, 
Above the recent trees and clouds come o'er, 
Love finds the other hours 
Once more.