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Peaceful Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Quiet by Madison Cawein
  2. The Song of the Wind in the Cloud by Ellen Rolfe Veblen
  3. On Evening by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott
  4. My Cloud by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  5. A Picture by William Osborn Stoddard
  6. Silent Hours by Ed Blair
  7. Spring Quiet by Christina Rossetti
  8. Twilight by Ruby Archer
  9. The Old Mill by the River by Isaac McLellan
  10. In June by Matilda Hughes
  11. A Quaker Maid by James B. Kenyon
  12. Peace by Georgia Douglas Johnson
  13. "The Mill in the Forest" by Douglas Malloch
  14. A Garden at Dusk by Arthur Wallace Peach

  1. Quiet

    by Madison Cawein

    A log-hut in the solitude,
    A clapboard roof to rest beneath!
    This side, the shadow-haunted wood;
    That side, the sunlight-haunted heath.

    At daybreak Morn shall come to me
    In raiment of the white winds spun;
    Slim in her rosy hand the key
    That opes the gateway of the sun.

    Her smile shall help my heart enough
    With love to labour all the day,
    And cheer the road, whose rocks are rough,
    With her smooth footprints, each a ray.

    At dusk a voice shall call afar,
    A lone voice like the whippoorwill's;
    And, on her shimmering brow one star,
    Night shall descend the western hills.

    She at my door till dawn shall stand,
    With gothic eyes, that, dark and deep,
    Are mirrors of a mystic land,
    Fantastic with the towns of sleep.

  2. The Song of the Wind in the Cloud

    by Ellen Rolfe Veblen

    Rock, rock, my hollow boat!
    Sleepy, sighing, swinging boat!
    Woven from the spray of ocean,
    Swan or seamaid taught thee motion!
    Wistfully earth's children muse
    On thy blithe and wayward cruise,
    All too far remote!

    Float, float, my cradle cloud!
    Moonlit goes my pearly cloud;
    Tossing in the silvery spaces,
    Drifting in the dusky places,
    Smiling earth-children see
    How the night enchanteth thee
    For thy voyage proud.

    Sail, sail, my chiming shell!
    Murmuring flies my curving shell,
    Followed by the laughing star eyes —
    Haste! my cavern home afar lies!
    Dreamily earth-children trace
    'Mong the stars thine airy pace,
    Shiver by thy spell.

  3. On Evening

    by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

    A stillness now pervades the busy world,
    As night approaches with her mantle gray,
    The cricket now begins her evening lay,
    And all to peace, and quiet sleep, are lull'd.

    This is the hour, if bliss is felt below,
    For sweet reflection now to make complete,—
    Her quiet solitude her calm retreat,—
    More of herself, and less of earth to know.

    The hour to contemplate the soul's true worth,
    When noise and busy care are lull'd away;
    The moon comes forth behind her sable gray,
    And all the stars begin to sparkle forth.

    Now sweet composure calms the mind to rest,
    And all is still, save where the distant bell
    Dies on the ear, the watch-men cry "all's well,"
    Then quiet peace responsive fills the breast.

    Here, in an hour of contemplation sweet,
    The soul can sing with unmolested ease,
    Of future joys, where all may find release
    From this vain world, transform'd to joys complete.

    This world's a scene of varied light and shade,
    Where grief and tears successive cross our way;
    But there's a rest where darkness turns to day—
    Where sorrow never shall the soul invade.

  4. My Cloud

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    There's a cloud on my life’s horizon
    wonderful shape and hue,
    Like the feathery down of a snow-drift
    ’Tis dimpled with changeful blue.
    I gaze on its shadowy outline
    And drink in the calm of the skies,
    Till I fancy it floats out of heaven,
    As an angel in disguise.

    No slumbering storm in its bosom,
    No hint of the lightning’s glare,
    Only a feast for the heart and soul
    Is this treasure of the air;
    For I know from its silvery edges,
    And glimpses of hidden gold,
    That a picture of rare tranquility
    Its tender depths enfold.

    Else whence is this mystic feeling
    Of peace that’s stealing o’er me?
    Like the magic of summer moonlight
    Enchanting a restless sea.
    O! heavenly cloud! why are you
    So calm? so angelic you seem,
    My spirit escapes in its longing—
    I am lost in a beautiful dream.

    Up, up on the wings of a swallow
    Piercing the heaven’s deep blue,
    O’er meadow and mount I am rising,
    And floating, sweet spirit, to you;
    Onward, in trance I am wafted,
    Now into the cloudlet above;
    And a face smiles out from its drapery,
    And ah! ’tis a face that I love.

  5. A Picture

    by William Osborn Stoddard

    Saturday night: the sun is going down;
    The purple light glows on the river’s breast,
    Far in the east the dull clouds watch and frown,
    Jealous of all the glory in the west;

    The listless trees lean out along the shore
    To watch their shadows lengthen down the tide;
    And, far above us, slowly floating o’er,
    The weary birds on homeward pinions glide.

    The steamer, on the sand-bar fast asleep,
    Tired with the week’s long labor, heavily lies;
    Longer and longer still the shadows creep,
    And evening mists from out the distance rise.

    All things in peace and patience seem to wait,
    As if in faith that, when the morning came,
    The sun would once more light his golden gate
    With all the glory of his entering flame.

  6. Silent Hours

    by Ed Blair

    When I am silent let me rest alone,
    Oh! shut the door twixt me and anxious care;
    For these are hours that I wish for my own—
    The hours of rest that mend the daily wear.

    When I am silent do not come to me
    And ask with anxious look if I am well,
    I'm only striving for an hour that's free—
    In one hour of forgetfulness to dwell.

    Then let me lie beneath a forest tree,
    Or out where rolling prairies stretch away;
    Where gentle breezes whisper there to me,
    And sing their sweet rest songs the livelong day.

    For sad the soul when Nature cannot come
    Into its "deep recesses" for awhile;
    And drive away all care, and start the hum
    Of music in the heart, and leave a smile.

  7. Spring Quiet

    by Christina Rossetti

    Gone were but the Winter,
    Come were but the Spring,
    I would go to a covert
    Where the birds sing;

    Where in the white-thorn
    Singeth a thrush,
    And a robin sings
    In the holly-bush.

    Full of fresh scents
    Are the budding boughs,
    Arching high over
    A cool green house:

    Full of sweet scents,
    And whispering air
    Which sayeth softly:
    "We spread no snare;

    "Here dwell in safety,
    Here dwell alone,
    With a clear stream
    And a mossy stone.

    "Here the sun shineth
    Most shadily;
    Here is heard an echo
    Of the far sea,
    Though far off it be."

  8. Twilight

    by Ruby Archer

    Twilight enters like a spirit
    With a finger on her lip:
    "Done, O Toiler, be thy labor,
    Lethe's cup I bid thee sip.

    "Let me cool thy brow with dreaming,
    Let me glad thine heart with peace,
    And from every care of daytime
    Give thy being full release.

    "Though I cannot thrill thy pulses
    With the ardent glow of noon,
    Yet I bring a tender glamour—
    Evening star and crescent moon.

    "Weary, lean upon me wholly—
    Heavy head and burning breast.
    I will give thee calm for grieving,
    For thy trouble—perfect rest."

  9. The Old Mill by the River

    by Isaac McLellan

    Here in the years when life was bright
    With dewy mornings and sunset light,
    In the pleasant season of leafy June,
    In each idle, holiday afternoon
    I lov'd to wander with willow wand—
    I lov'd on the river border to stand
    And take the trout or the yellow bream
    That leap'd, that glanc'd athwart the stream.

    With broken window, with hingeless door,
    Thro' which the slanting sunbeams pour;
    With leaning gable, and settling wall,
    O'er which the draperied ivies fall;
    With rafter moldy, worm-eaten beam,
    O'er which the silken cobwebs stream,
    Fast by the river-banks serene
    The old forsaken mill is seen.
    Its roof shows many a chasm and rent,
    Its creaking vane is crack'd and bent,
    In and out the swallows fly
    Under the eaves their dwellings lie.
    The leather-wing'd bats, when day is dim,
    Thro' vacant rooms and granaries skim;
    Its shingles that ages ago were new,
    Splendid with painters' lavish hue,
    Are faded now and swing in the gale,
    Scarce held by the loosen'd rusty nail;
    The clapboards rattle and clank amain
    In gusts of the snow-fall and the rain,
    For the dust of many a lapsing year
    Hath writ its wasteful chronicle here.
    The dam o'er which the waters pour
    Is settling and crumbling by the shore;
    The slippery logs and mossy stone
    Yield to the current one by one;
    And swift thro' many a rent abyss
    The spouting rivulets foam and hiss,
    And soon must the crazy fabric decay,
    And the torrent sweep uncheck'd away.
    The water-wheel so black and vast,
    With beam like a battle-vessel's mast
    That once would churn with mighty sweep
    The boiling waters so dark and deep,
    Lies now a wreck in humbled pride,
    Trembling with each assault of the tide.
    Under the crumbling, blacken'd wheel
    The crystal bubbles circle and reel;
    Over and under the eddies boil
    Round molder'd timber and rotting post;
    In many a circling ripple they coil
    In sudden plunge, in wild turmoil,
    Now seen an instant, then quickly lost.

  10. In June

    by Matilda Hughes

    A quiet hour beneath the trees;
    A little, whispering, lazy breeze;
    A perfect sky,
    Where, now and then, an idle cloud
    Strayed from its mates to wander by,
    And near the border of the wood
    A thrush that sang, serene and strong,
    The flute notes of the perfect song
    We almost understood;
    Then eventide—and in the light
    The mystery that preludes the night.

  11. A Quaker Maid

    by James B. Kenyon

    She sits beneath the trellised vine
    Beside the open door;
    Warm arabesques of sunlight shine
    Along the checkered floor.

    Her busy needles wink and glance
    As still her task she plies;
    By bordered walks the midges dance;
    Above, the swallow flies.

    Her face is calm; her eyes are meek;
    About her smooth young throat,
    And lightly blown o'er either cheek,
    The silken tendrils float.

    Beneath the snow-white kerchief spread
    Across her placid breast,
    Unvexed by change or darkling dread,
    Her spirit lies at rest.

    Peace is her world; no thought of ill,
    Nor breath of sordid strife,
    E'er taints the pure desires that fill
    Her cool hushed round of life.

    Afar the city roars; there sweeps
    The long white way that gleams
    For other feet; she sits and keeps
    Alone her quiet dreams.

  12. Peace

    by Georgia Douglas Johnson

    I rest me deep within the wood,
    Drawn by its silent call,
    Far from the throbbing crowd of men
    On nature's breast I fall.

    My couch is sweet with blossoms fair,
    A bed of fragrant dreams,
    And soft upon my ear there falls
    The lullaby of streams.

    The tumult of my heart is stilled,
    Within this sheltered spot,
    Deep in the bosom of the wood,
    Forgetting, and—forgot!

  13. "The Mill in the Forest"

    by Douglas Malloch

    A rendition in words of the musical idyl by Eilenberg.

    While twittering songsters yet announce the morn
    And all the wood is wondrous calm and still,
    Upon the zephyr tremulous is borne
    The waking rumble of the forest mill.

    The great wheel moves; the foaming waters pour
    On waiting sands in crystal melody;
    The saw's high treble and the pulley's roar
    Are mingled in a song of industry.

    Now through the day the busy millwheel turns;
    And through the day the saw untiring sings,
    Nor rests till red and gold the sunset burns
    And blaze and gilt on all the landscape flings.

    But, as the orb of day slips down the west,
    The waters turn to other ways more still;
    The weary wheel at last subsides to rest
    And peace comes down upon the silent mill.

    A yellow moon arises o'er the trees,
    The little stars, with eyes half-timid, peep;
    Night brings her black and somber tapestries
    And wraps the forest and the mill in sleep.

  14. A Garden at Dusk

    by Arthur Wallace Peach

    Peace like an angel walks
    A garden gray
    When western alters flame,
    With ending day.

    As He on Olive found
    The garden's peace,
    So we may find from care
    A calm release.

    Sky winds with urns of musk
    Go soft along
    Or pause to hear enrapt
    The thrush's song.

    There tumult passes not
    The gateway bars,
    Only the wings of dust,
    The feet of stars.

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