by Hervey Allen

Hervey Allen

Earth's life is in her fields
Whose beauty quickened by the sun
Is not a city wall; but yields
To change, by chemistry of sunlight
On the face of leaves. Leaves are
A bridge between the ground and mouths,
Green alchemists that quicken all the star,—
Drawing from flesh of stones
Soft sustenance for flesh of bones.
Sunlight upon the face of leaves
Gives life to all material things;
Moonlight, that ghost of sun,
Must wield a subtler influence
On tree and field, until they yield
Manna for earthly spirits that exist
Frailer than air or mist,—
Hounds bay them nights, and even we
Can feel in moonlight mystery
The quiet souls of earthly things.

Town walls are slaughtered trees;
The forest's leafy wall alive,
In it our thoughts may thrive
On food the moon makes out of matter,
Even as all Earth-spirits do.
Ah! We should cease to shudder
At milk warm from the udder,
And light again the saucer lamps
Before the Earthlings' shrines
As our forefathers used to do
Before we petrified their camps.

Then living matter would feed thought
With moon-made food in open spaces,
Till the very babes we got
On bracken beds in ferny places,
Could see spirits like the hounds,
And the moulds of stellar things
Would recast their limbs like wings,
Straightening out the last ape-traces,
And the words of trees deny
Every lie that marred their faces.

Last updated September 05, 2017