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Fire Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Fire by Emily Dickinson
  2. The Consignment by Hannah Flagg Gould
  3. The End of Wood Cutting by William Francis Barnard
  4. A Fireside Vision by Bliss Carman
  5. XVIII. The Fireside by Christopher Pearse Cranch
  6. The Bonfire by Ruby Archer
  7. The Camp-Fire by Ruby Archer
  8. Wood Smoke by Herbert Jones
  9. The Fire of Driftwood by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  10. Fire and Ice by Robert Frost
  11. The Old Fire-Place by John S. Mohler
  12. At the Fireside by John Davis Long
  13. The Old-Time Fire by Samuel Harden
  14. The Old Hickory Wood by Evander A. Crewson
  15. The Man With the Axe by Horace Dumont Herr
  16. Firewood by Raymond Holden
  17. Firelight by J. R. Eastwood
  18. The Smoke of Cottage Chimneys by Arthur Goodenough
  19. Give Me An Ax by Douglas Malloch
  20. The Forest Fire by Douglas Malloch
  21. Forest Fire by Edith Franklin Wyatt
  22. Before The Fire by James Edwin Campbell

  1. Fire

    by Emily Dickinson

    Ashes denote that fire was;
    Respect the grayest pile
    For the departed creature's sake
    That hovered there awhile.

    Fire exists the first in light,
    And then consolidates, —
    Only the chemist can disclose
    Into what carbonates.

  2. The Consignment

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Fire, my hand is on the key,
    And the cabinet must ope!
    I shall now consign to thee,
    Things of grief, of joy, of hope.
    Treasured secrets of the heart
    To thy care I hence entrust:
    Not a word must thou impart,
    But reduce them all to dust.

    This—in childhood's rosy morn,
    This was gaily filled and sent.
    Childhood is for ever gone;
    Here—devouring element.
    This was friendship's cherished pledge;
    Friendship took a colder form:
    Creeping on its gilded edge,
    May the blaze be bright and warm!

    These—the letter and the token,
    Never more shall meet my view!
    When the faith has once been broken,
    Let the memory perish too!
    This—'t was penned while purest joy
    Warmed the heart and lit the eye:
    Fate that peace did soon destroy;
    And its transcript now will I!

    This must go! for, on the seal
    When I broke the solemn yew,
    Keener was the pang than steel;
    'T was a heart-string breaking too!
    Here comes up the blotted leaf,
    Blistered o'er by many a tear.
    Hence! thou waking shade of grief!
    Go, for ever disappear!

    This is his, who seemed to be
    High as heaven, and fair as light;
    But the visor rose, and he—
    Spare, O memory! spare the sight
    Of the face that frowned beneath,
    While I take it, hand and name,
    And entwine it with a wreath
    Of the purifying flame!

    These—the hand is in the grave,
    And the soul is in the skies,
    Whence they came! 'T is pain to save
    Cold remains of sundered ties!
    Go together, all, and burn,
    Once the treasures of my heart!
    Still, my breast shall be an urn
    To preserve your better part!

  3. The End of Wood Cutting

    by William Francis Barnard

    Red leaf and yellow leaf
    Are flaunting through the air;
    The paths are rustling underfoot,
    The sun is everywhere.
    Bright creepers clasp the rugged wood
    Of many a hardy tree;
    The squirrel stores his winter nuts
    And chatters in his glee.
    The ripened year is done at last;
    The fuel is at home.
    One song for joyous seasons past
    And happy days to come,
    My friends,
    And happy days to come!

    Come build a fire upon the ground,
    And let the wine flow free;
    Make smooth a place where we may sit
    And raise our revelry.
    The sun will hasten to the west,
    But we have naught to care:
    With meat and drink we need no more,
    Save that the night be fair.
    Beach wood and chestnut wood;
    Make a cheerful blaze.
    Forget the bad and praise the good.
    Here's joy and many days,
    My friends,
    Here's joy and many days!

  4. A Fireside Vision

    by Bliss Carman

    Once I walked the world enchanted
    Through the scented woods of spring,
    Hand in hand with Love, in rapture
    Just to hear a bluebird sing.

    Now the lonely winds of autumn
    Moan about my gusty eaves,
    As I sit beside the fire
    Listening to the flying leaves.

    As the dying embers settle
    And the twilight falls apace,
    Through the gloom I see a vision
    Full of ardor, full of grace.

    When the Architect of Beauty
    Breathed the lyric soul in man,
    Lo, the being that he fashioned
    Was of such a mould and plan!

    Bravely through the deepening shadows
    Moves that figure half divine,
    With its tenderness of bearing,
    With its dignity of line.

    Eyes more wonderful than evening
    With the new moon on the hill,
    Mouth with traces of God's humor
    In its corners lurking still.

    Ah, she smiles, in recollection;
    Lays a hand upon my brow;
    Rests this head upon Love's bosom!
    Surely it is April now!

  5. XVIII. The Fireside

    by Christopher Pearse Cranch

    With what a live intelligence the flame
    Glows and leaps up in spires of flickering red,
    And turns the coal just now so dull and dead
    To a companion — not like those who came
    To weary me with iteration tame
    Of idle talk in shallow fancies bred.
    From dreary moods the cheerful fire has led
    My thoughts, which now their manlier strength reclaim.
    And like some frozen thing that feels the sun
    Through solitudes of winter penetrate,
    The frolic currents through my senses run;
    While fluttering whispers soft and intimate
    Out of the ruddy firelight of the grate
    Make talk, love, music, poetry in one.

  6. The Bonfire

    by Ruby Archer

    Ho—gather the pine-cones
    And build a great fire,
    And fling all your sorrows
    To burn on the pyre.

    Bethink you of legends
    Of mining or deer,
    And make the night merry
    With idle good cheer.

    These little brown wizards
    Have spells in their bones.
    Their crackle is laughter,
    So pile on the cones.

    But bright eyes are near you
    With sparkle and dart.
    Beware, lest the pine-cones
    Enkindle a heart!

  7. The Camp-Fire

    by Ruby Archer

    In a gulch among the mountains,
    Red and golden creeps the flicker,
    All impatient to be monarch
    Of the quivering pine-tree branches.
    Now the wind between the boulders
    Shrieks incentive to the flame-king,
    And with mighty roar and crackling
    And with flourishing of smoke-flags,
    Leaps the fire to meet the moonlight.—
    Fire of earth and fire of heaven
    Mingle weirdly, mingle wildly,
    As the motives in men's bosoms—
    Heavenly hopes and earthly longings.
    From the shadows on the hillside
    Comes the whinnying of horses,
    Where we left them deep in grasses
    To the quiet peace of roving.
    Gladly crowd we to the circle
    Of the eerie flaming branches.
    Who so joyous or contented
    As our merry little party
    Horseback faring o'er the mountains?
    We are glad with every valley
    Smiling faintly in the moonlight.
    We are full of conquering triumph
    In the pride of every summit.
    But the camp-fire 'mong the boulders,
    Flinging high its burning banner,
    Laughing gleeful to the moonlight,—
    Sings the spirit of our freedom,
    Sings our liberty incarnate,
    All our full warm love of living!

    In the years when recollection
    Fills the senses with contentment,
    And we yearn no more for doing,
    But to memory turn us musing,—
    Surely we that knew the camp-fire
    And that night among the mountains,
    Shall delight in this recalling,
    Shall delight and say that never
    Have we known a scene more wondrous,
    Awe-compelling, joy-commanding,
    Than that moonlight and that midnight
    In the mountains, by the camp-fire.

  8. Wood Smoke

    by Herbert Jones

    One evening as the dusk came softly down,
    Walking along a road outside the town
    I watched the sunset burning low and red,
    And heard the leaves a-rustling, dry and dead,
    Harried by breezes to their wintry bed.

    By chance I passed a fire beside the way,
    With small flames leaping in their impish play.
    Bright in the dimness of the dying day;
    And as the wind blew smoke across my face
    Around me all the Bush rose up apace.

    The great dim forest blotted out the farms
    And close around the red fire flung its arms,
    Canoe and portage, tent and camping place,
    Ghosts in the wood smoke, lingered for a space,
    Then passed, and with them went a comrade's face.

  9. The Fire of Driftwood

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Devereux Farm

    We sat within the farm-house old,
    Whose windows, looking o’er the bay,
    Gave to the sea-breeze, damp and cold,
    An easy entrance, night and day.

    Not far away we saw the port,
    The strange, old-fashioned, silent town,
    The lighthouse, the dismantled fort,
    The wooden houses, quaint and brown.

    We sat and talked until the night,
    Descending, filled the little room;
    Our faces faded from the sight,
    Our voices only broke the gloom.

    We spake of many a vanished scene,
    Of what we once had thought and said,
    Of what had been and might have been,
    And who was changed and who was dead,

    And all that fills the hearts of friends,
    When first they feel, with secret pain,
    Their lives thenceforth have separate ends,
    And never can be one again;

    The first slight swerving of the heart,
    That words are powerless to express,
    And leave it still unsaid in part,
    Or say it in too great excess.

    The very tones in which we spake
    Had something strange, I could but mark;
    The leaves of memory seemed to make
    A mournful rustling in the dark.

    Oft died the words upon our lips,
    As suddenly, from out the fire
    Built of the wreck of stranded ships,
    The flames would leap and then expire.

    And, as their splendor flashed and failed,
    We thought of wrecks upon the main,
    Of ships dismasted, that were hailed
    And sent no answer back again.

    The windows, rattling in their frames,
    The ocean, roaring up the beach,
    The gusty blast, the bickering flames,
    All mingled vaguely in our speech;

    Until they made themselves a part
    Of fancies floating through the brain,
    The long-lost ventures of the heart,
    That send no answers back again.

    O flames that glowed! O hearts that yearned!
    They were indeed too much akin,
    The drift-wood fire without that burned,
    The thoughts that burned and glowed within.

  10. A Boy and His Dad

    by Edgar A. Guest

    I'm sorry for a fellow if he cannot look and see
    In a grate fire's friendly flaming all the joys which used to be.
    If in quiet contemplation of a cheerful ruddy blaze
    He sees nothing there recalling all his happy yesterdays,
    Then his mind is dead to fancy and his life is bleak and bare,
    And he's doomed to walk the highways that are always thick with care.

    When the logs are dry as tinder and they crackle with the heat,
    And the sparks, like merry children, come a-dancing round my feet,
    In the cold, long nights of autumn I can sit before the blaze
    And watch a panorama born of all my yesterdays.
    I can leave the present burdens and that moment's bit of woe,
    And claim once more the gladness of the bygone long ago.

    There are no absent faces in the grate fire's merry throng;
    No hands in death are folded, and no lips are stilled to song.
    All the friends who were are living—like the sparks that fly about;
    They come romping out to greet me with the same old merry shout,
    Till it seems to me I'm playing once again on boyhood's stage,
    Where there's no such thing as sorrow and there's no such thing as age.

    I can be the care-free schoolboy! I can play the lover, too!
    I can walk through Maytime orchards with the old sweetheart I knew;
    I can dream the glad dreams over, greet the old familiar friends
    In a land where there's no parting and the laughter never ends.
    All the gladness life has given from a grate fire I reclaim,
    And I'm sorry for the fellow who can only see the flame.

  11. Fire and Ice

    by Robert Frost

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To say that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

  12. By the Fire-Place

    by Arthur Franklin Fuller

    When the days are getting shorter,
    When the nights are long and chill,
    With my cares and work forgotten,
    And the whole world hushed and still—
    Then I love to make a fire,
    Watch the flamelets dance and race,
    For things are mighty cozy,
    By the fire-place.

    I love to have a friend or two
    To make the deal complete—
    Shoes off, cocked on an extry chair,
    We toast our weary feet;
    A bowl of pop-corn sittin' near,
    While time slips by apace,
    Why folks, it's awful cozy,
    By the fire-place.

  13. The Old Fire-Place

    by Rev. John S. Mohler

    How sad is the memory of days that are gone
    When parents and children in a circle at home
    Around the Old Fire-place would cheerfully gather,
    Away from the cold and inclemency of weather.

    Around the Old Fire-place mother, all the day long,
    Was toiling, and toiling with cheer and with song
    For father and children preparing them food,
    While nourishing and rearing her innocent brood.

    At evening with treadle she was humming the wheel
    While father was wrapping the yarn from the reel;
    And brothers and sisters were reading their books,
    Or merrily playing in their innocent sports.

    As the embers on the hearth were dying away,
    Our father more fuel would carefully lay,
    Till the Old Fire-place blazed again in a roar,
    Which caused us to widen our circle still more.

    When the toils and the pleasures of evening were o'er,
    We knelt 'round the Fire-place, God's mercy to implore,
    From harm and from evil us safely would keep,
    As defenseless we lay in the silence of sleep.

    As the cold wintery winds were passing away,
    And the gentle breeze sighed through the long summer day,
    And the embers had died on the once blazing hearth,
    Now vocal at evening with the cricket's soft chirp.

    The Old Fire-place scenes, alas, I see them no more,
    For its circle is scattered to far distant shores:
    the wheel and the reel are covered with rust,
    And parents and children are moldering to dust.

    The hearth that once glowed with warmth and with cheer,
    Is forsaken and desolate, cold and drear;
    No prattling of children's sweet voices are there,
    No songs of devotion, thanksgiving, or prayer.

    Just a few broken links of the beautiful chain,
    That bound us together on earth, yet remain;
    But that circle complete I hope I shall view
    In the day when the Lord maketh all things new.

  14. At the Fireside

    by John Davis Long

    At nightfall by the firelight's cheer
    My little Margaret sits me near,
    And begs me tell of things that were
    When I was little, just like her.

    Ah, little lips, you touch the spring
    Of sweetest sad remembering;
    And hearth and heart flash all aglow
    With ruddy tints of long ago!

    I at my father's fireside sit,
    Youngest of all who circle it,
    And beg him tell me what did he
    When he was little, just like me.

  15. The Old-Time Fire

    by Samuel Harden

    "Talk about yer buildin's
    That's het up by steam―
    Give me the old oak fire
    Where the old folks used to dream.

    "The rickety dog-irons,
    One-sided as could be;
    The ashes banked with 'taters
    That was roastin' there fer me.

    "The dog on one side, drowsin', Or barkin' near the door;
    The kitten cuttin' capers With the knittin' on the floor.

    "An' me a little tow head
    By mammy's side at night;
    With both my cheeks a-burnin'
    From the red flames leapin bright.

    "These steam-het buildin's make me
    Jest weary fer the blaze
    That was heap more comfortable
    In my childhood's nights and days.

    "An I'd give the finest heater
    In the buildin's het by steam
    Fer the old-time chimbley corner
    Where the old folks used to dream."

  16. The Old Hickory Wood Fire

    by Evander A. Crewson

    As I sit by the stove, all polished and nickeled,
    Where a carpet of velvet covers the floor,
    I reckon I ought to feel wonderfully tickled
    While the wind thumps and bangs at the door;
    Yes, ought to feel glad—so much to admire,
    But it all will not cure a longing desire
    A fellow will have for the old hickory fire;
    With its curling and snapping,
    And its whirling and lapping;
    That good old fashioned hickory wood fire.

    Their anthracite coal don't have any snap;
    No bright burning flame up the flue rolls;
    I can't help missing the sweet hickory sap
    Frying out of the fore-stick over the coals;
    These new fangled fires are all very well,
    But one thing I miss, and its easy to tell:
    'Tis the good old fashioned hickory wood smell;
    That old rustic perfume
    Which filled up the room;
    That good old fashioned hickory wood smell.

    How often we'd sit by that wide open fire,
    The wild winds howling and roaring outside;
    The bright hickory flames mounting up higher,
    Beaming on "linsey-woolsey" close to our side.
    Yep, thoughts of it oft' my memory will throng
    As I dream how, with apples and cider and song,
    We'd while away evenings that never seemed long;
    And when the fire burned low,
    How it would tell of the snow
    In the old winter evenings that never seemed long.

    You can take your coal and your natural gas,
    Which the tastes of to-day are made to desire;
    The bright burnished stove in its nickel and brass,
    But give me the old fashioned hickory wood fire;
    Where, with apples and walnuts, before it we'd sit,
    While father would doze and mother would knit,
    And the flames would snap and sparkle and spit;
    But the fire burned low
    In the long, long ago,
    And the ashes of years lie forever on it.

  17. The Man With the Axe

    by Horace Dumont Herr

    The Summer has come and the Summer is past,
    And "the man with the hoe," he is out of a job,
    The pastures are bare and are swept by the blast,
    And the cattle for grass must eat "corn on the cob,"
    While scraggy-haired colts are turned out to the stalks,
    But the woodman he whistles a tune as he walks.

    The Summer brings harvest of oats and of wheat,
    And the meadows are strewn with the fragrant new hay;
    And Autumn gives apples, and pumpkin and beet,
    And the fruits and the nuts make the gatherers gay;
    But fruits for the cellar and wheat for the stacks
    Have a rival in the harvest of the wood chopper's ax.

    The scythe is keen edged and the sword is a power,
    And the reaper, old Time, mows a path thro' the years,
    And age falls in ripeness and childhood in flower,
    And the sword hews a channel for blood and for tears;
    But the woodman he smites with a stroke that ne'er tires,
    For his ax cleaves the wood for the home-altar fires.

    The snowflakes have wrapped in white down the dark earth,
    And the woods a black fringe show against the cold sky;
    When all appears dead that in Summer had birth,
    And there's not a bird songster a solo to try,
    Then cheery as notes of the robin in Spring
    Does the ax of the woodman re-echo and ring.

    A man of wood-craft the good axman is he,
    He knows well the name and the nature of wood,
    Can chip, and make fall any sort of a tree
    In the very direction he willed that it should;
    And when it is down on its body he stands,
    And he severs the giant, with the ax in his hands.

    This man of the woods is a surgeon of trees,
    He can chop a straight cut or a flying slant chip,
    He can halve with his wedge, if it so should him please,
    And can quarter, and heart, and around the knot slip,
    'Til body and limbs into cordwood he racks,
    For an artist is he with the wedge and the ax.

    He swings his great maul like the hammer of Thor,
    And the cord-lengths fly open of oak and of beach,
    'Till the clearing at last is with wood scattered o'er,
    And heaped up as high as the chopper can reach
    Are the tepees of brush that the axman has made
    In the places where trees by his ax were low laid.

    All corded and straight thro' the Summer shall lie
    All the wood that the woodman in Winter has chopped,
    In wind and in sun will the sticks slowly dry,
    And when Winter again plow and reaper has stopped,
    The farmer to sheds with his horses will draw
    What the axman has cut for the buck and the saw.

    And often the farmer, the evening before,
    Will upon his red wagon pile up a good load
    To haul it to town for some dwelling or store,
    And the wheels of his broad-tread will sing on the road,
    With four horses drawing it over the snow,
    For the axman's dry wood to the city must go.

  18. Firewood

    by Raymond Holden

    The glittering crescent of my blade
    Is stuck with juices of the tree:
    There is the wound which I have made,
    There are the dark boughs over me.
    I swing the axe. The cones are shaken
    And the shuddering tree begins to come
    With ripping shrieks which might awaken
    The gorged fox in his hidden home.
    My blood is brightened and my eyes
    Are blurred with flashes of a fire
    That leaps like wind and only dies
    When I have cut what I require.
    The fresh chips falling in the snow
    Have something for the sunny wind
    Which rose a little while ago
    In the old spruce forest I have thinned,
    And I whose cheeks can feel it blow
    Rest aching hands upon my axe
    And have a desperate wish to know
    What kind of flame my chimney lacks. . . .
    Why covet skeletons for food
    To keep a man from stiffening
    With cold not made to chill the blood
    Of fox's foot or bird's wing?

  19. Firelight

    by J. R. Eastwood

    I gave the wealth of love for dross
    Of falsehood, and I suffered loss:
    For who shall tell the worth of love,
    The light on earth from heaven above?

    I sit and think of this, and see
    The buried past that used to be:
    And, in the dusk, the dying fire
    Is flaming, ready to expire.

    Love that is true is like the light
    Of sun and stars, for ever bright:
    Love that is false is like the fire,
    The flames that flash and then expire.

    And love that sells itself for gold
    Is dear to buy, and cheap to hold:
    And love that gives itself for love
    Is light on earth from heaven above.

  20. The Smoke of Cottage Chimneys

    by Arthur Goodenough

    The smoke of cottage chimneys,
    To fill the sky's blue cap,
    Like sacrificial vapors,
    Through all the earth go up;
    A goodly sight and pleasant,
    For every eye to see,
    So potently suggestive,
    Of thrift and harmony.

    The smoke of cottage chimneys,
    For me has wondrous charm,
    And brings me glowing visions,
    Of hearth fires snug and warm;
    Where happy children gather
    About the cheerful glow,
    And vainly try to number
    The sparks that upward go.

    The smoke of cottage chimneys,
    As I see it upward roll,
    Brings a sense of reassurance,
    And of gladness to my soul;
    For I know whatever crumbles,
    Under fate's remorseless stroke,
    There is safety for the Nation
    While the cottage chimneys smoke.

    States may flourish, states may perish,
    Empires totter to their fall,
    But the smoke of cottage chimneys,
    Will endure beyond it all.
    And the smoke of cottage chimneys
    Is a grander thing to me,
    Than the hosts of War assembled,
    Or the battle fleets at sea.

  21. Give Me An Ax

    by Douglas Malloch

    'Member when I was a kid workin' in the old wood lot
    Where we used to chop an' cut, where our winter's warmth we got—
    Pa on one end of a saw, me upon the other end,
    'Till I thought my body'd break like we made the cross-cut bend.
    Then, just to encourage me, make my bosom swell with pride,
    Pa would say, "If you can't pull, don't git on the saw an' ride."
    Sometimes, though, the saw would stick, though we nearly broke our backs;
    Then pa'd yell, "All hands stand by—look out fer heads—give me an ax!"

    That's some twenty years ago; things have changed a heap since then—
    Pa sleeps where the wood lot was, I toil here fer city men.
    Some I marvel at their ways, some I marvel, some I'm mad;
    Diff'rent sort of chaps are they from my dear, old, cranky dad—
    Nothin' here to breathe but smoke, nothin' here to hear but noise;
    Wonder thet I sometimes long fer my childhood pains an' joys?
    An' I'd like to shut my eyes, shut out reason, shut out facts—
    Hear again, "All hands stand by—look out fer heads—give me an ax!"

    City folks ain't country folks, city ways ain't country ways—
    More I come to think these things as I near my final days.
    When I read of boodlers, read of those who rob the poor,
    When I see the villain's hand with its touch defile the pure;
    When I see the rottenness, see the slowness of reform,
    See how high a wall it is decency an' right must storm,
    Then I know what ails it all, know jest what it is it lacks—
    Men like pa of old to yell: "Look out fer heads—give me an ax!"

  22. The Forest Fire

    by Douglas Malloch

    At first a spark that slumbered in the leaves;
    And then a tiny blaze that glowed afar—
    A distant blaze that seemed a fallen star,
    A single grain from heaven's silver sheaves.

    The morn a smoke-plume on the hill revealed,
    That marked the first insidious advance.
    The night came down, and found the fiery lance
    Sunk deeper in the mountain's verdant shield.

    Then came long days that melted into night
    And left the sky in lurid color dressed;
    The sun set slowly in the vapored west,
    A copper oval of distorted light.

    The primal blaze threw its increasing line
    Across the mountain's wooded side until
    Re-echoed mournfully from hill to hill
    The thunder of the stricken giant pine.

    Oft skyward blazed a solitary tree,
    A vivid instant dimmed all other fire—
    Like souls of mighty men, when they expire
    Prove greatest, even in adversity.

    And, when the fury of the fiend was spent,
    Burned out the fullness of its torrid wrath,
    It left behind a devastated path—
    To human carelessness a monument.

    O ye who love the richly verdured hill,
    Who wander through the tangled woodland ways;
    O ye who know the worth of summer days
    And love the music of the mountain rill;

    Ye who convert the tree to purpose new,
    To final, destined and most proper use,
    Play ye no part, I pray, in this abuse,
    Have not the burden of the blame on you.

    First learn, yourselves, the best considered plan,
    Then teach the careless what their duties are,
    And never more the running flame shall scar
    These timbered hills, God's generous gift to man.

  23. Forest Fire

    by Edith Franklin Wyatt

    Deep my dreaming, fresh my waking
    Furled in fragrant leaf and mold,
    When the brumal mists are quaking
    In the crimson-kindling cold.
    In the scraggy copse I smolder,
    Swarthy brush and red-tipped thorn,
    In the dank-edged leaves I molder,
    Switch the shock and light the corn.
    On the yellow-rippling river,
    By the wood-pool's reeded edge,
    Fleet my dappling shadows quiver
    Over auburn brake and sedge.
    By the lake and sandy shallow
    Where the lonely trees aspire,
    And the shingled shores reach sallow
    Fiercely burns my tawny fire—
    Lights the poplar solitary
    Proud upon her windy dune
    On a shore a far and faery—
    Misted foam and calling loon.
    Scarlet, fawn and gold my gleaming,
    Full my music wide and still.
    Through September smoke far-streaming
    Fast I run down road and hill,
    Crying "Follow, follow, follow!"
    Tipping tree-tops tan and black,
    Singing with the Southward swallow
    As I flick the tamarack.
    Free I blaze down mapled mountains,
    Course the earth's veins black and deep,
    Spray the birches' golden fountains,
    Richly fleece ridge, bluff and steep.
    Swift by wide-spaced slopes and regal
    Swings my spark's far-flying flail,
    Flying high as hawk and eagle,
    Low as runs the freckled quail.
    Hop-vine, oak-vine, wood-bine sweeping,
    Trail and road-side bronze and brown;
    Wide my leaping, close my reaping,
    Door-yard, eaves, and country-town.
    Brown and red and bronze my gleaming
    Full my music broad and fleet,
    Through October clouds full-creaming
    Down the mist-smoked city street—
    Crying, "Follow, follow, follow!"
    Where the straight-spaced tree-tops plume
    Singing with the Southward swallow,
    And the brown leaves' rustled flume.
    Vine-hung lintel, porch-pale, alley
    Square and scattered streak of grass,
    Cities of the plain and valley
    Smoke and mantle as I pass,
    Crying "Follow, follow, follow!"
    Over tree-top, mire and moor,
    Singing with the Southward swallow,
    In the tide of my glamour.
    One to me are shrine and alley,
    Sacred grove and eaves of shame,
    Mire-edged road and soaring valley
    In my splendor's common flame—
    Common, common, like the glory
    Of the proud-piled Autumn skies
    Where the rich winds blow their story,
    "Every soul is born and dies!"
    Deep my flame sings "Follow, follow!"
    Down the splendor of my way,
    Flying with the Southward swallow
    Through the great year's passing day,
    Through October, through September,
    Till at last my burning breath
    Throbs to silence in December—
    In the speechless snow of Death.

  24. Before The Fire

    by James Edwin Campbell

    Before the wide-mouthed hearth I sit,
    While rudely roars the wind outdoor;
    Upon the walls strange shadows flit
    Or dervish-like dance on the floor;
    Now softened to a minor strain,
    As if it came from far away,
    As if the wail of souls in pain,
    The long imprisoned sunbeams' lay.

    For aeons since when young was Time,
    And Earth still wore the flush of Youth,
    Long ere the birth of Man and Crime,
    And dark-browed Hate and tear-stained Ruth,
    The tyrant Sun imprisoned in
    The heart of oak and ash his beams
    To expiate some unknown sin —
    Some woodsprite told me in my dreams.

    The flames that up the chimney race
    And clap with glee their red, red hands,
    Or snap their fingers in my face,
    Or 'sault the wall in storming bands,
    Are sunbeams bright but now set free
    From centuries of prison dark —
    A spirit moves each flame I see,
    A sunbeam's soul is in each spark.

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