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Gladys Cromwell

· Gladys Cromwell: The Gardener · Gladys Cromwell: Leisure · Gladys Cromwell: Love · Gladys Cromwell: The Poet’s Thrift (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: Dusk (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: Approach (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: Folded Power (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: Autumn Communion (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: Choice (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: The Beggar (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: The Gates of Utterance (Poem) · Gladys Cromwell: The Breath (Poem)

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Gladys Cromwell: The Gardener

The Gardener

At evening, I have seen him wander in
And out hetween the hedges ;
On the moss he treads, where shadows spin
A misty web. He skirts the edges
Indistinct of heliotrope and jessamine.

I wonder what he does, studious
And furtive in the gloom.
Is he covering the tremulous
Young plants that have no spreading bloom
When night is cool, to keep them joung and
luminous?

Or is he mutely speculating there
Upon the flowers themselves ;
His love observing them through the veiled air
As plain as when he weeds and delves
At noon, but with more secret and more wistful
care?

I call the garden mine. This votary
Who loves it makes it his ;
A poet owns his legend. If I were
To ask the garden whose it is.
It would reply : “My master is this gardener.”

Cromwell, Gladys
[1885-1919]
The Gardener
(Poem)

• fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Gladys Cromwell: Leisure

Leisure

When I have nothing else to do,
When I am free, the hour kind,
I like to lift reflections from
The pool of my mind.
I’m thirsty, and I like to drink
A wisdom cool and clear ;
Standing precautionary, shy,
As lion or as deer.

Cromwell, Gladys
[1885-1919]
Leisure
(Poem)

• fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Gladys Cromwell: Love

 

Love

Hush, hush, O wind!
Between the leaves jou creep.
You grope like something blind.
The tree tops as they sleep,
The standing spears of grass,
You’ll touch them when you pass.

Still, still, O love!
My need awaits your dower,
My foolish heart your power;
Though sorrow dawn anew
I may not strive with you.

Cromwell, Gladys
[1885-1919]
Love
(Poem)

• fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Gladys Cromwell: The Poet’s Thrift (Poem)

 

The Poet’s Thrift

My landscape only need comprise low hills,
For these are eminent and limitless
To me. They mean more than my dreams express;

They mean more than my word or deed fulfils.
The slender trees, the tuneless whip-poor-wills,
Impart quite ample themes to loneliness.
I find enough in scant elusiveness
Of springs and little brooks. My spirit thrills
To beauty, unprepared for the sublime.
I wonder, though, when I shall be completed
Even to transcribe these hills? Sometime
This landscape in few lines will show to me
The subtle mysteries I have entreated,
In the simple realm of poetry.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
The Poet’s Thrift
From: Songs of the Dust, 1915

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Gladys Cromwell: Dusk (Poem)

 

Dusk

As flowers at dusk their choicest perfumes hold,
Some hearts hoard beauty when the body s old:
I see an age-bent woman lead the herd
To pasture, with no need of guiding word.

While the dull beasts in the tall grasses browse,
Inside her soul the earth s enchantments drowse ;
The needles pause between her wasted hands,
For light is always mellow where she stands.

No motion marks her life s harmonious dream ;
It is a part of Nature s quiet theme.
Each day renews the uneventful past,
Although her spirit nears a change at last.

From the grey threshold of her silent home
One night, her spirit, kin to evening s shade,
Will float away from crevices life made,
Like seaweed from a cliff into white foam.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Dusk
From: Songs of the Dust, 1915

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Gladys Cromwell: Approach (Poem)

 

Approach

Apparelled in a mask of joy till now,
I knew thee not. Asleep, I see thy face
More simply. Sorrow s leisure lets me trace
The nicer lines. Thy sealed lids, thy brow,
Thy lasting posture, purposes avow ;
In thy spent form resides a moveless grace.
A pageant was thy life, and in its place
I find a truth to feed and to endow
My heart. Thy wonted mask of joy belied
The meaning death s bare attitude makes clear.
From living gesture thought went often wide,
And I was poor interpreter ; but here,
Where it would seem our thoughts anew divide,
The steady silence draws thy spirit near.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Approach
From: Songs of the Dust, 1915

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Gladys Cromwell: Folded Power (Poem)

 

Folded Power

Sorrow can wait,
For there is magic in the calm estate
Of grief; lo, where the dust complies
Wisdom lies.

Sorrow can rest,
Indifferent, with her head upon her breast;
Idle and hushed, guarded from fears;
Content with tears.

Sorrow can bide,
With sealèd lids and hands unoccupied.
Sorrow can fold her latent might,
Dwelling with night.

But Sorrow will rise
From her dream of sombre and hushed eternities.
Lifting a Child, she will softly move
With a mother’s love.

She will softly rise.
Her embrace the dying will recognize,
Lifting them gently through strange delight
To a clearer light.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Folded Power

• fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Gladys Cromwell: Autumn Communion (Poem)

 

Autumn Communion

This autumn afternoon
My fancy need invent
No untried sacrament.
Man can still commune
With Beauty as of old:
The tree, the wind’s lyre,
The whirling dust, the fire—
In these my faith is told.

Beauty warms us all;
When horizons crimson burn,
We hold heaven’s cup in turn.
The dry leaves gleaming fall,
Crumbs of mystical bread;
My dole of Beauty I break,
Love to my lips I take,
And fear is quieted.

The symbols of old are made new:
I watch the reeds and the rushes,
The spruce trees dip their brushes
In the mountain’s dusky blue;
The sky is deep like a pool;
A fragrance the wind brings over
Is warm like hidden clover,
Though the wind itself is cool.

Across the air, between
The stems and the grey things,
Sunlight a trellis flings.
In quietude I lean:
I hear the lifting zephyr
Soft and shy and wild;
And I feel earth gentle and mild
Like the eyes of a velvet heifer.

Love scatters and love disperses.
Lightly the orchards dance
In a lovely radiance.
Down sloping terraces
They toss their mellow fruits.
The rhythmic wind is sowing,
Softly the floods are flowing
Between the twisted roots.

What Beauty need I own
When the symbol satisfies?
I follow services
Of tree and cloud and stone.
Color floods the world;
I am swayed by sympathy;
Love is a litany
In leaf and cloud unfurled.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Autumn Communion

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Gladys Cromwell: Choice (Poem)

 

Choice

Imperious Time, I must prefer
Thy just necessity:
Resign the silent, earlier
Beliefs grown dear to me.

The stillness left alternatives
To youth, a freedom wide
And dim as dreaming, but man lives,
And must one day decide.

There is a doom the years compel:
I must approach the goal
Decreed, where it behooves me dwell:
I must declare my soul;

Must speak and choose what stars pertain
To me ; needs must I rest
In their most intimate beams, remain
Committed and confessed.

I claim a tent of stars in place
Of heaven’s confusing dome:
A tent of stars in a dark space —
The sky must be my home.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Choice
From: Poems 1919

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Gladys Cromwell: The Beggar (Poem)

 

The Beggar

Showing his ill-made frame
And mumbling of troubles many,
Along a public street,

The cripple calls for a penny.
Inviting sympathy,
By his rags and his withered arm,
He follows and frets till we argue

A penny can do him no harm.
Just now, in this intimate room,
Sagacious, clever and witty,

Exposing his hardships, a Beggar
Beckoned his friends for pity.
Ugh! By displaying his pains,
By showing his heart was ashen,

By revealing his twisted life,
He played for a glance of compassion.
Strange how I longed to laugh ;

His feebleness was funny.
I thought : ” He’s only a Beggar
And affection is golden money.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
The Beggar
From: Poems 1919

• fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Gladys Cromwell: The Gates of Utterance (Poem)

 

The Gates of Utterance

There is a throng within the gates,
A pressing, diverse throng;

Without, a peaceful throng awaits,
To which I would belong.

Within the gates the varied folk

Advise discordantly;
Without, the poet-crowds convoke

To council harmony.

Within the gates are all the heights
And depths of serried powers;

But when a lyric theme invites,
I reach out-lying bowers

Where dwell the bards of quiet years ;

I join my song to theirs;
My glad, unfettered spirit hears

The melody it shares.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
The Gates of Utterance
From: Songs of the Dust, 1915

• fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Gladys Cromwell: The Breath (Poem)

 

The Breath

A trembling crest
Of smoke, the winter sky
Congeals to bloom,
To please a poet’s eye:

A slender reed
Arisen from some gold
Recess or womb
Of flame to spaces cold.

Between the twigs,
That for a nest are spun
On flight’s grey loom,
A sapphire thread may run

And so between the grey,
The woven boughs of trees,
A little plume
Of mist the poet sees :

It will suffice —
Too scant a breath to name
For him to whom
It signifies a flame.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
The Breath
From: Poems 1919

• fleursdumal.nl magazine

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