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Short poem

Isabella Valancy Crawford (1850-1887)

Said the West Wind

              1I love old earth! Why should I lift my wings,
              2My misty wings, so high above her breast
              3That flowers would shake no perfumes from their hearts,
              4And waters breathe no whispers to the shores?
              5I love deep places builded high with woods,
              6Deep, dusk, fern-closed, and starred with nodding blooms,
              7Close watched by hills, green, garlanded and tall.

              8On hazy wings, all shot with mellow gold,
              9I float, I float thro' shadows clear as glass;
            10With perfumed feet I wander o'er the seas,
            11And touch white sails with gentle finger-tips;
            12I blow the faithless butterfly against
            13The rose-red thorn, and thus avenge the rose;
            14I whisper low amid the solemn boughs,
            15And stir a leaf where not my loudest sigh
            16Could move the emerald branches from their calm,--
            17Leaves, leaves, I love ye much, for ye and I
            18Do make sweet music over all the earth!

            19I dream by glassy ponds, and, lingering, kiss
            20The gold crowns of their lilies one by one,
            21As mothers kiss their babes who be asleep
            22On the clear gilding of their infant heads,
            23Lest if they kissed the dimple on the chin,
            24The rose flecks on the cheek or dewy lips,
            25The calm of sleep might feel the touch of love,
            26And so be lost. I steal before the rain,
            27The longed-for guest of summer; as his fringe
            28Of mist drifts slowly from the mountain peaks,
            29The flowers dance to my fairy pipe and fling
            30Rich odours on my wings, and voices cry,
            31"The dear West Wind is damp, and rich with scent;
            32We shall have fruits and yellow sheaves for this."

            33At night I play amidst the silver mists,
            34And chase them on soft feet until they climb
            35And dance their gilded plumes against the stars;
            36At dawn the last round primrose star I hide
            37By wafting o'er her some small fleck of cloud,
            38And ere it passes comes the broad, bold Sun
            39And blots her from the azure of the sky,
            40As later, toward his noon, he blots a drop
            41Of pollen-gilded dew from violet cup
            42Set bluely in the mosses of the wood.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Collected Poems of Isabella Valancy Crawford, ed. J. W. Garvin (Toronto: William Briggs, 1905): 240-41.
First publication date: 1905
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1997.
Recent editing: 4:2002/2/17

Form: Blank Verse

Other poems by Isabella Valancy Crawford