Lila R. Munro Tainter.

A caravel of dreams; a book of verse online

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Under our keel the foam leaps high.
(Lullaby, darling, lullaby!)

The ocean of sleep lies far away,

With fair dream islands upon its breast,
We tarry awhile, but may not stay

Until we come forever to rest.
See the islands against the sky !

(Lullaby, sweetheart, lullaby!)

Angel children with loving smile

Joyfully crowd the wave-wet strand,
Darlings we cherished on earth a while,
Gathered to welcome the coming band,
Arms outstretch as the ship draws nigh.
(Lullaby, precious, lullaby!)
[35]



Song birds wing through the perfumed air,
Flowers bloom that will never die,

For, opening painted petals fair,

Lo, each one soars to the cloudless sky,

A radiant, beautiful butterfly!

(Lullaby, dearest, lullaby!)



[36]



WHEN PAN PLAYS

THROUGH the fragrant air of springtime

Far a-field steals a refrain,
Waking in the soul a yearning

That is poignant unto pain ;
Piercing, silvery and elusive,

As it threads through nature's theme,
And we know beyond a doubting

Pan is playing by the stream.

Pan, the sylvan god alluring,

Crowned with garlands of the vine,
With his magic pipes whose cadence

Is half-human, half-divine,
Binding with his chords melodious

All the flowers in life's scheme
Till the birds go mad with singing,

" Pan is playing by the stream."

Sweet as touch of lips forbidden

Upon lips that fain would kiss,
Rapturous as realization

Of a long-retarded bliss,
Thrilling with the ecstatic anguish

Of love, sovereign, supreme,
Rises the impassioned measure

Pan is playing by the stream.



[87]



As the feeble footsteps falter,

And the glamour dies away,
And the lengthening twilight shadows

Mark the closing of the day,
Faint as memories of Summer

In the Winter's icy dream,
Is the echo of the music

Pan was playing by the stream.



[38]



POEMS OF REVERY



A CHRISTMAS TOAST

'Tis Christmas time. Upon the hills afar

In Palestine so many years ago,
The shepherds guarding sheep beheld a star

That led them to a manger cradle low.

'Tis Christmas time. As far as eye can reach
The broad Pacific pulses deep and slow,

And white-winged sea gulls, with their strident

screech,
Dive from the blue above to blue below.

'Tis Christmas time. The tall poinsettias rise
In royal panoply of crimson blooms ;

Against the dazzling tint of southern skies,
Cocoas plumosa wave their graceful plumes.

'Tis Christmas time. The snow lies wide and

white

On the Atlantic coast; an icy sheet
Covers the streams, but tapers are alight,
And round the tree move children's dancing
feet.

'Tis Christmas time. For some the world is
young;

Life's bright entrancing tale is still untold;
For some the lights are out; the song is sung;

The shadows gather, and the world is old.



[41]



'Tis Christmas time throughout the southern

lands,
And 'mid the drifting snows, 'tis Christmas

time ;
Across the mountain peaks we stretch our

hands,

And clasp and drink to friends in every
clime.



[42]



RETROSPECTION

IF in the land where loved ones congregate
Is known the misery of those who wait

Upon the hither side of death's dark stream,
Beset by grisly terrors of life's dream,
Perchance joy may be marred in those

bright spheres,

When angel eyes are dimmed by pitying
tears.



[43]



THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY

WHERE does it lie, this country of our yearn-
ing?
Not eastward, where morn's altar fires

gleam

And orisons from happy bird throats stream ;
Nor where the palms, amid the desert burn-
ing,

Show blessed oases to the traveller turning;
Nor e'en where snowy hands of mountains

seem
To pluck the stars, the while they lonely

dream
In solitude sublime, life's plan discerning.

'Tis here about us where we grope and stray
And wander with unseeing eyes afar,

We brush the fair white wings of angel band,
And never know, until at last some day

We fall on death, whose kindly hands unbar
Our senses locked, and, lo, the promised
land!



[44]



THE DULLARD

MASTER, I pray, turn down the lettered page;

Hopeless the task I find, nor have I guessed

The hidden meaning of my fruitless quest,
Nor what these mystic symbols would presage ;
Let me go hence, my anguish to assuage.

Time was I conned the script with joyous
zest,

Now tear-blind eyes yearn for eternal rest;
Free me, unworthy of my heritage.

Others shall follow, filled with purpose strong,
To whom will be as naught the grief and pain

That I have suffered; scanning swift along
The lines, thy message shall not be in vain.

But I, alas, am not of that blessed throng,
And from thy courts an exile must remain.



[45]



REAPERS

A TJTTLE time to sow, and then the reaping;

The harvest ours alone, for joy or pain,
We may but gather thistles with wild weeping,

Or pluck from fields aglow with golden grain.

Some work on uplands where the sun is shining ;

In valleys some, where grisly shadows lie:
The wherefor is beyond our poor divining,

But we shall learn the secret by and by.



[46]



A QUESTION

EACH spirit unaccompanied must tread

The path of life unto the exit gate ;
Alone we came, alone our steps are sped

Through storm and sunshine to an unknown

fate.
But when the march is ended and we rest,

With all conjecture banished from the brain,
Will there be found the purpose of our quest,

Solution of life's anguish and its pain?



[47]



FOR SUCCESS

"Perhaps it was well to dissemble your love,
But why did you kick me down stairs."

KEMBLE.

WOULD you know the best way to get into the

swim,

Although it should be on the outermost rim?
Bend your knee to the rich; to the great

lend your ear;
But the plaint of the poor neither notice nor

hear.
Pluck your heart out and throw to the dogs'

for their food ;

You'll need it no more in a circle so good.
Turn your back on old friends who are^

threadbare and torn ;

Deny aged parents old-fashioned, toil-worn '
Lie and cheat ; lick men's boots, and do all a

fool dares ;

And return undisturbed when they kick you
down stairs.



[48]



EXPECTATION

I'VE had happy dreams of you

Every hour,
Since the moment that I knew,

O my flower !

God would send to me some day,
From his garden far away,
A fair bud to ope and blossom in my bower.

When the sunset glory dies

In the west,
As a bird on swift wings flies

To its nest,

I can see your sinless soul
Fluttering onward to its goal
In the shelter of my heart to lie at rest!

Let your journey here be fleet,

Gift divine!
I would kiss your little feet,

Angel mine!

Feel the touch of helpless hands,
Stronger far than iron bands,
With love's strength around my fingers clasp
and twine.

Come when gates of dawn swing wide

Far above,
Or with shadowy eventide,

Little dove!
[49]



From the angels' watchful care,
As an answer to my prayer,
Come whene'er you will, you bring the crown
of love!



[50]



THE CARAVELS

In the fa$ade of the Wednesday Club

WHENCE did ye come and whither did ye sail,

O mimic galleons of by-gone days ;
From what fair land enshrouded by the haze
Of memory's veil?

Didst carry spices from the Orient fair,

Or gold and jewels from some ravished fane,
Or priestly robes that odors still retain
Of incense rare?

Whose was the hand that steered ye in the path
Beneath the Southern Cross or burning sky ;
Who stood at bay to battle and defy
The cyclone's wrath?

The brave who shipped with ye, forgotten, rest
In dreamless slumber countless fathoms deep,
Reposing peacefully as child asleep
On mother's breast.

And those who mourned them, too, have passed

away,
Their bones returned to dust in unknown

graves ;

Unheeded, Summer smiles or Winter raves
Above the clay.

[51]



O Time, thou monarch, naught thy power bars ;
The great, the small, beneath thy wheels dost

grind,

Grant at the end our record we may find
Beyond the stars.



[52]



POEMS OF NATURE



A SLEIGHING SONG

THE white road stretches smooth and wide
Beneath the glittering winter sky;
Fast as the wind, oh, let us fly,

And on its spreading pinions ride.

O bells, sleigh bells, your tinkling notes
Pierce the keen air with wild delight,
And not a sound disturbs the night,

Save that from out your silver throats.

Within the sky the stars are lost,
The timid moon has veiled her face
Behind a cloud of filmy lace,

And all the night is framed in frost.



[55J



EVENING

IN silhouette 'gainst the darkening skies
A sentinel tree that sways and sighs ;
Across the waves from the moon above
Lies the golden path of the boy god, Love ;
A mocking-bird to his mate a-near
Flutes lowly, tenderly, softly clear;
In gathering shadows far below
The tramping feet of the surges go ;
And on the horizon dim, remote,
Is drifting seaward an empty boat.



[56]



THE NECROMANCER

FROM field and grove the mournful crickets cry,
Through woodland drear the wandering
breezes sigh,

No longer joyous carolling is heard,
But lonely note from some belated bird.

Alas, for flower-crowned Summer, queen no
more;

Her kingdom is usurped, her reign is o'er,
And of her dainty court, or crown, or throne,

Remain, but withered blossoms widely strewn.

A mighty necromancer monarch comes.

He lifts his wand ; the forest wide succumbs,
Submissive bending 'neath his fingers chill,

Whose touch transmutes to greater beauty
still.

Orange and crimson, yellow, scarlet, dun,
A vesture brave the wizard puts upon

The sturdy sentinels, whose serried line
On rugged slopes raise oriflammes divine.

He sweeps his hand across the evening skies:

In dazzling splendor constellations rise;
Orion and the Pleiades burn bright;

The Great Bear's flaming eyes illume the
night.

[57]



When morning dawns again each bush and
briar

Is blossoming with buds of silver fire,
And over earth's fair bosom has been tossed

A gleaming 'broidered mantle of hoar-frost.



[58]



HOURS

UPON the rocky peaks the first dim rose

Of dawning opens through a cloudy veil,
And far and wide within night's shadowy close

Bright wings of starry butterflies grow pale.
The sleeping earth, bedewed by misty tears

Of fragrant blooms forsaken by the bees,
Awakes to joy when smiling morn appears

With flower crowned tresses ruffled by the
breeze.

Lulled by the magic of the noontide sway,

Tangled in web of sunshine, the world dreams ;
To secret coverts shadows shrink away,

And hushed the murmuring voices of the

streams.

Green glooms, unstirred by song or rustling
wing,

The stately arcades of the forest rise ;
And in the mystic blue of space a-swing,

Earth clasped about with golden silence lies.

The crescent moon above in splendor floats,
A shining galleon; on the sea below,

Mirrored, she swings with fleet of starry boats,
Rocked by the pulsing waters to and fro.

The gentle evening breezes lightly sweep
From leafy branches rustling harmonies ;

[59]



Folded in painted chalices, flowers keep

The secrets of the night with odorous sighs,

And phantom sails slip by and swiftly glide
Adown the bosom of the flowing tide.



[60]



THE SURF DOGS

THE surf dogs moan and whine upon the beach,

And stealthily upon their white paws glide

Among the weedy rocks bared by the tide,

To clutch their quarry lying out of reach,

While overhead the seagulls soar and screech.

Over the shining sands they lightly leap,

Upon a wreck they crouch and madly tear,
The while their snarling cries affright the

air;

They toss and surge above a sodden heap
Of that o'er which the women soon will weep.

The Storm King drives them on, his hunting

pack,

Lashing them madly o'er the surging main,
They seize their prey who succor call in vain ;

Then with destruction ever in their track,

Unto the sands return demoniac.



[61]



THE SEAGULLS

THE seagulls float

Above the ocean till their piercing eyes
Discern below their finny quarry rise

From depths remote.

Motionless, still,

They hang like pictures etched upon the blue,
Then downward from the azure sky shoot
through

With voices shrill.

On outspread wing,

Beating the waves to flashing clouds of spray,
They seize voraciously their fleeing prey

And upward spring.

Upon the rocks,
The teeth of the inhospitable seas,
Weary and gorged with capture, perch at ease

The feathered flocks.



[62]



INDIAN SUMMER

WHEN cold winds rave and snow wreaths whirl

and dance

Amid the naked branches tossing wild,
Behold, in bright-hued robes, a wandering

child
Speeds swiftly through the woods whose dark

expanse

Is pierced by golden sunlight's quivering lance.
The lonely maid, to dreamful sleep beguiled
By soft caress of summer breezes mild,
Has wakened 'neath November's chilling glance ;
Her lovely face, for smiles and laughter

meant,

Now filled with deadly fright of foes un-
seen,
Is backward turned with each quick,

panting breath,

Until the huntsman Winter might relent,
As swift she flies to gain some covert

green,

While he pursues with baying hounds
of death.



[63]



PERSEPHONE

THROUGH Winter's stormy prelude softly

creeps

The low, mysterious cadence of the Spring,
And tenderly upon earth's chilly breast
Fall the warm kisses of the genial sun ;
The erstwhile nakedness of shrivelled boughs
Is tasselled thickly o'er with buds and blooms,
And fluttering wings of every passing breeze
Scatter broadcast their delicate perfume.
The gladsome birds prepare their little nests,
Voicing meanwhile the joyaunce of the hour;
And Pan, the sylvan god, on river brink
Draws witching music from his magic pipes,
While far afield Strephon and Chloris dance.
The young, the gay, the sorrowful and old,
Yield to the gentle blandishment of her
Who leaves for a short space dark Pluto's

realm :

Too soon the gloomy king will call again
His ravished bride, the fair Persephone.



[64]



REGINA

FROM languorous southland, lo, a sovereign

comes

Robed in diaphanous, effulgent clouds,
Crowned by the sun, jewelled by blazing stars,
Upon her swelling breast a silver moon.

O mighty queen, with power invincible,
Thou art the mistress of all magic arts,
Sweeping the chords of passion and of love
That fill the earth with wild, entrancing dreams ;
At thy behest from rocky fastness high,
Torrents leap forth with snowy, streaming

locks,

And avalanches thunder down the gorge,
Voicing thy praises while they devastate.
For joy of thee embodied harmonies
Wing through the fragrant air in tuneful flight ;
Beneath thy feet the flowers stir and wake
To offer homage with their bud and bloom,
And wandering breezes sob themselves to sleep
Upon the cradle of thy throbbing breast;
Thy dewy mouth is stained by many a kiss
Of days now cold, but with the old-time spell
Invites approach of rosy hours to come,
Fraught with fair mornings and with per-
fumed eves,

With long, still, blossoming days and honey-
bees,

[65]



And lilies and a world of golden light.
Oh, veil the splendor of those glorious eyes,
Whose burning gaze beyond the distant peaks
Would seek to lure the tender, unborn hours
From out the womb of time to die at last
Upon the poison of thy fatal lips.
Dost not thy prescient gaze behold thy bier
O'erstrewn with leaves crimsoned by thy life-
blood,

And hear the moaning voices of the wind
Thy dirge intoning as thou movest on,
Imperial, triumphant in thy charms?
Loose not the shining ripples of thy hair
To lie in dalliance by the limpid stream,
For, lo, at heel the savage Winter stalks,
With blasting breath, and knout of ice and

snow,
O'er mountain, over plain, through woodland

fair,

Vengeful and merciless, pursuing thee;
And in a little time, bereft of strength,
With sobbing cries and trailing garments rent,
Forlorn as ever beggar in his rags,
Shalt thou, beneath his scourgings, meet thy
doom.



[66]



THE DESERT

As far as eye can reach the desert wide

Stretches its awful waste of shifting sands

Where thirst and hunger, grisly phantoms,

bide,
To seize their quarry with relentless hands.

In scattered clusters thorny cactus grows,
And wandering coyotes with stealthy tread

Prowl round the hillocks that the simoon throws
Above the whitened bones of travellers dead.

The mists of morning in a thousand hues
Across its bosom weave their filmy lace ;

The splendor of the moonlit night endues
With peaceful loveliness its cruel face.

But merciless it sleeps, a spirit fell,

And dreams and dreams while evermore it

weaves
In wonderful mirage its magic spell,

Betraying unto death whoe'er believes.

Yet on those arid breasts oases cling,

Where by the cooling well palm branches
wave,

A vernal sanctuary offering

Amid the desolation of the grave.

[67]



O sorceress, what power is thine that lures?

Despite thy terrors and thy scorching breath,
Who know desire thee while time endures,

Though in thy wild embraces there is death.



[68]



AT LA JOLLA

STERN and implacable the rocky shore

Stretches its length,
Upon it mighty surges toss and roar

In awful strength.

Brown garlands torn from ocean gardens fair,

Deep 'neath the waves,

Float tangled with bright sea-shells here and
there,

Flowers strewn on graves.

White foaming billows leap into the skies,

High heaven to gain ;
Then impotent fall back with bellowing cries,

Like beasts on chain.

As far as eye can reach the battle goes

'Twixt earth and sea,
And in and out the strong tide ebbs and flows

Eternally.



[69]



NEWPORT HARBOR

THE damp winds blow

From fog-banks low
That stretch across the western skies;

Their lips of mist

The waves have kissed,
Responsive but in plaintive sighs.

The once glad sun

His race has run,
Nor casts one farewell look behind

As in the west

He sinks to rest
With vaporous brow and vision blind.

The pallid moon

Lies in a swoon
Upon the tree-crowned heights afar;

And on the rim,

With life-light dim,
Just breathes one flickering little star.

A slow swung bell

Tolls out its knell
From yonder tower tall and white;

But far and wide,

Athwart the tide,
The kindled lantern cheers the night.

[70]



BY THE PACIFIC

FROM distant, sunny Orient where

Lie hill-shrines bowered in the trees,

Whence tinkling bells, 'mid blossoms fair,

Send forth their music on the breeze;

From land of the chrysanthemum

The crested billows swiftly come.

They bring the incense odors sweet,

The boom of many a temple gong,
The pattering of sandalled feet

That roam the scented paths along;
They whisper of that land of flowers
Where joy and gladness mark the hours.

On rock-bound coasts, forbidding, bleak,

The once glad waves from that bright zone
Lay on the shore a pallid cheek
And sing in plaintive monotone,

Or lift white hands in mournful cries
Of grief for their lost paradise.



[71]



O BIRD, SWIFT FLYING

O BIRD, swift flying

From out the rosy west where light is dying,
Say, dost thou seek amid some leafy screen
Thy little nest all canopied with green?

Then stay thy flight,
For empty hangs thy home ; thy mate has

flown

Far, far afield, and thou art here alone,
Bereft to-night.

Last eve while calling

Thy sweet good-night amid the shadows falling,
When save wind-voices from the distant hill
All tired nature rested calm and still,

Thou couldst not know
On surer, swifter wings than thine flew

sorrow,

And thou, poor bird, upon the morrow
Wouldst mourning go.

Then cease thy wailing

And searching vain ; thy little wings are failing.
Dear bird, thou seekest but an empty nest ;
Oh, come ; forget thine anguish on my breast,

Soft rustling thing,

For he who set thy silver tongue a-swinging,
Within the golden bell of Summer ringing,
Bids thee to sing.

[72]



THE RETURN

ACROSS the azure deeps the birds are soaring,
Filling the golden day with rapturous notes;

The meadow-lark and mocking-bird are pouring
Ecstatic melody from quivering throats.

Clad in his scarlet mantle captivating,
The cardinal flutes from his green retreat ;

Each feathered acolyte is celebrating

A woodland mass with carols clear and sweet.

Cloud-arabesqued and radiant with glory,
Spring fair cathedral arches of the skies ;

Below, supreme and grand, with summits hoary,
In solemn pomp the pillared mountains rise.

The heart of nature in its rhythmic beating

Wakens a yearning close akin to pain,
Though o'er the distant hills, with fragrant

greeting,

Behold the flower-crowned Summer comes
again.



[73]



POEMS OF SORROW



IN A GARDEN

IN fields of air a golden sickle shows ;

The last pale rose
Of sunset fire has faded into grey,

And shadows round me close.

Steal softly, winds, across the moaning sea,

And bear to me
Some tidings of the loved and lost who now

Is but a memory.

Planted by Love's own hand the sweet peas
bloom,

Veiled in the gloom,
Yet token of their presence still betray

In delicate perfume.

Their fragrance like a benediction rare

Pervades the air,
A tender record of life's ended dream,

Fostered with loving care.

The gentle heart that cherished them of old,

Pulseless and cold,

Lies on the self-same breast that gives them
strength

To quicken and unfold.



[77]



Who has not known the mockery of light,

The dreary night
Crowded with fretting memories of joys

Withered by death's cold blight.

We seek with anguished cries, but all in vain,

Surcease from pain ;
And then some morn an angel shows the way,

And Love is found again.



[78]



RESIGNATION

THOUGH death divorce us, yet thou shalt be

mine
Sometime, somewhere in happy years to

come;

Wherefore I bid my quivering lips be dumb,
Lest by complaint I question God's design.

Even now I feel thy love of days long past,
Divine, unselfish from its very birth,
So blessed that it must live beyond the earth

And in heaven's courts perfection reach at last.

I hear thy voice in dreams and, weeping, wake ;
But those sweet years of mother love and

care,
The memory of which, anguished, I must

bear,

I would not barter though my heart should
break.

Nor would I call thee back, for thou art blest
Beyond the utmost power of earth to give ;
I mourn the lonely years that I must live,

When every hour my loss makes manifest.

Ofttimes I feel if I could break the spell,
Thou wouldst return to me and dry my tears ;
The grave is but the portal of the years

Of life eternal wherein thou dost dwell.
[79]



O Christ, who rose o'er death triumphantly
And sittest in high heaven, a monarch

crowned,
Comfort and lend thine aid till I have found

Mine own who may return no more to me.



[80]



MY PEARL

ONE hour divine,

For which His gracious name I praise,
Set in the golden circle of my days,

A pearl was mine.

It was so fair

I scarce could think for me 'twas meant,
That, to me, undeserving, He had sent

A joy so rare.

My gift from Heaven
I guarded jealously until one day
The envious angels sought to wile away

What God had given.

And no alarms

Or bitter tears could aught avail;
They took my treasure, leaving me to wail

With empty arms.

O far-off space,

Wherein my lost one doth abide,
Open but once your starry casements wide,

And show her face.

O Christ, the Son,
By thy fond mother's sacred tears,
Amid the glory of eternal years

Give me one glimpse, but one.
[81]



AT NIGHT

O GENTLE Night, whose hand beneficent
Soothes to repose and calm oblivion
The cruel heartaches that attend the day
And with their smart make desolate the hours !
At night we wander through the groves of

sleep,

Where dreams upon the branches nest and sing
Such thrilling songs of joyaunce, hope and love,
That Time and Death stay listening hand in

hand;

Dear old-time faces smile ; their lips caress,
The sweet contentment of the might-have-been
We drink in long, deep, satisfying draughts,
And then, O God, we wake to weep again.



[82]



IN HOSPITAL AT MANILA

WE lie outside in the sunshine
On cats and on lounging chairs,

And a few on canes and crutches
Hobble painfully round in pairs.

Many a window is open,

O'er many the shades are drawn ;
We know what that means, we cripples

Who lie in the sunshine and yawn.

We struggle to keep up courage
By gossip and jest and chaff,

Though the laughter a joke arouses
Is only the ghost of a laugh.

We talk of battle and skirmish,
But rarely of home and friends,

A fellow has limitations

And knows where his valor ends.

The slender shapes of the palm-trees
Silhouetted against the blue,

And clumps of the Spanish bayonet,
Rise endlessly on our view

Till the glowing tropic landscape
Is torture, and sad eyes search

With a yearning past all telling
For the sight of maple or birch.
[83]



Sitting all day in the sunshine,


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