William Bliss Carman2018-05-28T23:28:40-07:00

William Bliss Carman

Woodland Rain

SHINING, shining children
Of the summer rain,
Racing down the valley,
Sweeping o’er the plain!

Rushing through the forest,
Pelting on the leaves,
Drenching down the meadow
With its standing sheaves;

Robed in royal silver,
Girt with jewels gay,
With a gust of gladness
You pass upon your way.

Fresh, ah, fresh behind you,
Sunlit and impearled,
As it was in Eden,
Lies the lovely world!
– Woodland Rain by

Winter Twilight

ALONG the wintry skyline,
Crowning the rocky crest,
Stands the bare screen of hardwood trees
Against the saffron west,-
Its gray and purple network
Of branching tracery
Outspread upon the lucent air,
Like weed within the sea.

The scarlet robe of autumn
Renounced and put away,
The mystic Earth is fairer still,-
A Puritan in gray.
The spirit of the winter,
How tender, how austere!
Yet all the ardor of the spring
And summer’s dream are here.

Fear not, O timid lover,
The touch of frost

Winter Streams

NOW the little rivers go
Muffled safely under snow,

And the winding meadow streams
Murmur in their wintry dreams,

While a tinkling music wells
Faintly from there icy bells,

Telling how their hearts are bold
Though the very sun be cold.

Ah, but wait until the rain
Comes a-sighing once again,

Sweeping softly from the Sound
Over ridge and meadow ground!

Then the little streams will hear
April calling far and near,-

Slip their snowy bands and run
Sparkling in the welcome sun.


WHEN winter comes along the river line
And Earth has put away her green attire,
With all the pomp of her autumnal pride,
The world is made a sanctuary old,
Where Gothic trees uphold the arch of gray,
And gaunt stone fences on the ridge’s crest
Stand like carved screens before a crimson shrine,
Showing the sunset glory through the chinks.
There, like a nun with frosty breath, the soul,
Uplift in adoration, sees the world
Transfigured to a


For a name unknown,
Whose fame unblown
Sleeps in the hills
For ever and aye;

For her who hears
The stir of the years
Go by on the wind
By night and day;

And heeds no thing
Of the needs of spring,
Of autumn’s wonder
Or winter’s chill;

For one who sees
The great sun freeze,
As he wanders a-cold
From hill to hill;

And all her heart
Is a woven part
Of the flurry and drift
Of whirling snow;

For the sake of two
Sad eyes and true,
And the

White Nassau

There is fog upon the river, there is mirk upon the town;
You can hear the groping ferries as they hoot each other down;
From the Battery to Harlem there’s seven miles of slush,
Through looming granite canyons of glitter, noise, and rush.
Are you sick of phones and tickers and crazing cable gongs,
Of the theatres, the hansoms, and the breathless Broadway throngs,
Of Flouret’s and the Waldorf and the chilly, drizzly Park,
When there’s

White Iris

WHITE Iris was a princess
In a kingdom long ago,
Mysterious as moonlight
And silent as the snow.

She drew the world in wonder
And swayed it with desire,
Ere Babylon was builded
Or a stone laid in Tyre.

Yet here within my garden
Her loveliness appears,
Undimmed by any sorrow
Of all the tragic years.

How kind that earth should treasure
So beautiful a thing-
All mystical enchantment,
To stir our hearts in spring!

Weather of the Soul

THERE is a world of being
We range from pole to pole,
Through seasons of the spirit
And weather of the soul.

It has its new-born Aprils,
With gladness in the air,
Its golden Junes of rapture,
Its winters of despair.

And in its tranquil autumns
We halt to re-enforce
Our tattered scarlet pennons
With valor and resource.

From undiscovered regions
Only the angels know,
Great winds of aspiration
Perpetually blow,

To free the sap of impulse
From torpor of distrust,
And into flowers of joyance
Quicken the


I took a day to search for God,
And found Him not. But as I trod
By rocky ledge, through woods untamed,
Just where one scarlet lily flamed,
I saw His footprint in the sod.

Then suddenly, all unaware,
Far off in the deep shadows, where
A solitary hermit thrush
Sang through the holy twilight hush –-
I heard His voice upon the air.

And even as I marveled how
God gives us Heaven here and now,
In a

Veni Creator


LORD of the grass and hill,
Lord of the rain,
White Overlord of will,
Master of pain,

I who am dust and air
Blown through the halls of death,
Like a pale ghost of prayer,—
I am thy breath.

Lord of the blade and leaf,
Lord of the bloom,
Sheer Overlord of grief,
Master of doom,

Lonely as wind or snow,
Through the vague world and dim,
Vagrant and glad I go;
I am thy whim.

Lord of the storm and lull,
Lord of the sea,

Under The April Moon

Oh, well the world is dreaming
Under the April moon,
Her soul in love with beauty,
Her senses all a-swoon!

Pure hangs the silver crescent
Above the twilight wood,
And pure the silver music
Wakes from the marshy flood.

O Earth, with all thy transport,
How comes it life should seem
A shadow in the moonlight,
A murmur in a dream?
– Under The April Moon by William Bliss Carman


SOUL, art thou sad again
With the old sadness?
Thou shalt be glad again
With a new gladness,
When April sun and rain
Mount to the teeming brain
With the earth madness.

When from the mould again,
Spurning disaster,
Spring shoots unfold again,
Follow thou faster
Out of the drear domain
Of dark, defeat, and pain,
Praising the Master.

Hope for thy guide again,
Ample and splendid;
Love at thy side again,
All doubting ended;
(Ah, by the dragon slain,
For nothing small or vain
Michael contended!)

Thou shalt take


In the Garden of Eden, planted by God,
There were goodly trees in the springing sod,-

Trees of beauty and height and grace,
To stand in splendor before His face.

Apple and hickory, ash and pear,
Oak and beech and the tulip rare,

The trembling aspen, the noble pine,
The sweeping elm by the river line;

Trees for the birds to build and sing,
And the lilac tree for a joy in spring;

Trees to turn at the frosty

To A Young Lady On Her Birthday

The marching years go by
And brush your garment’s hem.
The bandits by and by
Will bid you go with them.

Trust not that caravan!
Old vagabonds are they;
They’ll rob you if they can,
And make believe it’s play.

Make the old robbers give
Of all the spoils they bear,-
Their truth, to help you live,-
Their joy, to keep you fair.

Ask not for gauds nor gold,
Nor fame that falsely rings;
The foolish world grows old
Caring for all these things.


Threnody For A Poet

Not in the ancient abbey,
Nor in the city ground,
Not in the lonely mountains,
Nor in the blue profound,
Lay him to rest when his time is come
And the smiling mortal lips are dumb;

Here in the decent quiet
Under the whispering pines,
Where the dogwood breaks in blossom
And the peaceful sunlight shines,
Where wild birds sing and ferns unfold,
When spring comes back in her green and gold.

And when that mortal likeness
Has been dissolved by

The World Voice

I HEARD the summer sea
Murmuring to the shore
Some endless story of a wrong
The whole world must deplore.

I heard the mountain wind
Conversing with the trees
Of an old sorrow of the hills,
Mysterious as the sea’s.

And all that haunted day
It seemed that I could hear
The echo of an ancient speech
Ring in my listening ear.

And then it came to me,
That all that I had heard
Was my own heart in the sea’s voice
And the

The Winter Scene


The rutted roads are all like iron; skies
Are keen and brilliant; only the oak-leaves cling
In the bare woods, or the hardy bitter-sweet;
Drivers have put their sheepskin jackets on;
And all the ponds are sealed with sheeted ice
That rings with stroke of skate and hockey-stick,
Or in the twilight cracks with running whoop.
Bring in the logs of oak and hickory,
And make an ample blaze on the wide hearth.
Now is the time, with

The Weed’s Counsel

Said a traveller by the way
Pausing, “What hast thou to say,
Flower by the dusty road,
That would ease a mortal’s load?”

Traveller, hearken unto me!
I will tell thee how to see
Beauties in the earth and sky
Hidden from the careless eye.
I will tell thee how to hear
Nature’s music wild and clear,-
Songs of midday and of dark
Such as many never mark,
Lyrics of creation sung
Ever since the world was young.

And thereafter thou shalt know

The Vagabonds

We are the vagabonds of time,
And rove the yellow autumn days,
When all the roads are gray with rime
And all the valleys blue with haze.
We came unlooked for as the wind
Trooping across the April hills,
When the brown waking earth had dreams
Of summer in the Wander Kills.
How far afield we joyed to fare,
With June in every blade and tree!
Now with the sea-wind in our hair
We turn our faces to the sea.


The Urban Pan

Once more the magic days are come
With stronger sun and milder air;
The shops are full of daffodils;
There’s golden leisure everywhere.
I heard my Lou this morning shout:
“Here comes the hurdy-gurdy man!”
And through the open window caught
The piping of the urban Pan.

I laid my wintry task aside,
And took a day to follow joy:
The trail of beauty and the call
That lured me when I was a boy.
I looked, and there looked up

The Twelfth Night Star

It is the bitter time of year
When iron is the ground,
With hasp and sheathing of black ice
The forest lakes are bound,
The world lies snugly under snow,
Asleep without a sound.

All the night long in trooping squares
The sentry stars go by,
The silent and unwearying hosts
That bear man company,
And with their pure enkindling fires
Keep vigils lone and high.

Through the dead hours before the dawn,
When the frost snaps the sill,
From chestnut-wooded ridge to

The Tree of Heaven

Young foreign-born Ailanthus,
Because he grew so fast,
We scorned his easy daring
And doubted it would last.

But lo, when autumn gathers
And all the woods are old,
He stands in green and salmon,
A glory to behold!

Among the ancient monarchs
His airy tent is spread.
His robe of coronation
Is tasseled rosy red.

With something strange and Eastern,
His height and grace proclaim
His lineage and title
Is that celestial name.

This is the Tree of Heaven,
Which seems to say to us,

The Tent of Noon

BEHOLD, now, where the pageant of high June
Halts in the glowing noon!
The trailing shadows rest on plain and hill;
The bannered hosts are still,
While over forest crown and mountain head
The azure tent is spread.

The song is hushed in every woodland throat;
Moveless the lilies float;
Even the ancient ever-murmuring sea
Sighs only fitfully;
The cattle drowse in the field-corner’s shade;
Peace on the world is laid.

It is the hour when Nature’s caravan,
That bears the pilgrim

The Soul of April

Over the wintry threshold
Who comes with joy to-day,
So frail, yet so enduring,
To triumph o’er dismay?

Ah, quick her tears are springing,
And quickly they are dried,
For sorrow walks before her,
But gladness walks beside.

She comes with gusts of laughter,–
The music as of rills;
With tenderness and sweetness,–
The wisdom of the hills.

Her hands are strong to comfort,
Her heart is quick to heed.
She knows the signs of sadness,
She knows the voice of need.

There is no

The Ships of Yule

When I was just a little boy,
Before I went to school,
I had a fleet of forty sail
I called the Ships of Yule;
Of every rig, from rakish brig
And gallant barkentine,
To little Fundy fishing boats
With gunwales painted green.
They used to go on trading trips
Around the world for me,
For though I had to stay on shore
My heart was on the sea.

They stopped at every port to call
From Babylon to Rome,
To load with