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CANDLES IN

THE SUN

By WILLIAM GRIFFITH



UC-NRLF



307 37M



ll




35"



Other titles in this series:

Estrays. Poems by Thomas Kennedy, George Seymour,
Vincent Starrett, and Basil Thompson.

William De Morgan, a Post-Victorian Realist, by Flora
Warren Seymour.

Lyrics, by Laura Blackburn.

Stevenson at Manasquan, by Charlotte Eaton.




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"(jfaiejul acknowledgement is made to the
various magazines and other publications,
in which some of these poems originally
appeared, for permission to include them
in ihis volume. Among them are The
Century, McClure s, Smart Set, Ainslee s,
Ladies Home Journal, The Double Dealer,
All s Well, Judge and the New York Sun.



Copyright 1921
by Flora Warren Seymour





THE TORCH PRESS
CEDAR RAPIDS
IOWA



AT THE DOOR

Here at the door are beacon fires to build,

Dreams to be dreamt, and voices voices stilled

As Eden darkly was ere the first bird
In the ancestral silences was heard.

And here are songs, midway in homing flight,
That hover on frail pinions and alight

Softly, less audibly than is the quake

Of spirits tremulous, or hearts that break,
Here at the door.

Here at the door are many messages

Of cheer and lurking faith a folded kiss,

A sealed desire, a sigh, a memory

Of things that were as rainfall on the sea.

Thronging are shapes and shadows near at hand
Cast by the moon upon an April land.

And in the air are rumors and the stir
Of meetings and long partings to occur,
Here at the door.



469683



CONTENTS

AT THE DOOR 5

THE HOUSE OF THE SPHINX n

WAYFARERS 21

ORIGINS . . ",*. . . 24

How SHALL THE ANT SPEND THE NIGHT? . . 26

COMMUNION 28

ELSEWHERE 30

ADELINA PATTI . 32

SPRIXG BLEW OPEN THE DOOR . . . . 34

UP THE HUDSON 36

TRAMPING 37

THE YEAR is CHANGING ITS NAME ... 43

A BRIEF FOR THE BIRD 45

REVERIE 47

NOVITIATE 49

GANGS 53

ON USING THE SUN AND MOON .... 54

CHOIRS AND ORCHESTRAS 57

A VENDOR OF VISIONS 58

MILLENIUM 59

STUFF OF DREAMS 59

APOCALYPSE 60

BALLADE IN SEARCH OF TRUTH 60

ADRIFT 62

A POET SHUTS THE BOOK OF DREAMS 62



ALOHA . " * ^

A SHIP COMES IN . .

LOON LAKE 9

QUESTIONNAIRE

TRAIN LOST 7

BEFORE THE PIXIES CAME TO AMERICA ... 73

VIEW-HALLOO



THE HOUSE OF THE SPHINX



FOR

EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON



Cast by the White Sun in

your rhyme,
Falls a Black Shadow. What s

the time?



THE HOUSE OF THE SPHINX

I think there never was a dwelling place
So strangely like a human face
Reflected in a stream,
Or dim day-dream.

Small wonder that the chores are never done
On drowsy mornings when the sun
Is sleeping on the hill,
So warm and still.

Heavy with slumber, crimson poppies nod,
And phantom tenants slowly plod
On their monotonous way
From day to day,

Reluctantly remaining to explore
The coiridors from door to door,
As though a wonderland
Were near at hand.

Daily the changing faces idle through
The galleries, in ghostly view
Of tapestries on high,
That drape the sky.

Temples and towers and snowy summits glow
Above the rivers far below,
As placid as a psalm,
In woven calm.



Then darkness falls and deepens on the world,
And under driving thunders whirled,
The cowed and gnashing main
Subsides again.

Such views are woven in the tapestries
As plainly as the changing skies,
Or goblins that amaze
The childish gaze.

And some divine, beyond the seeming thrall,
A vision glorifying all
The miracles the wise
Appear to prize.

Rejoicing, sorrowing or full of hope,
So many studiously grope
In search of hidden lore,
Forevermore.

They brood and sigh and have despairing ways
On gravely reckoning the days
Are growing few and brief,
Beyond belief.

Vast calls and silences in everything.
O vernal voices fain to sing
Of joys remote and strange,
Beyond the range

Of human utterance! They say there are
Dear forms and faces waiting far
In latitudes above
The will of love.

12



Nor wholly fabulous the thing appears,
When it is but these forty years
Since millions of them came
With face and name.

They idle by my windows in the sun,
As cronies evermore have done
On mornings soft and warm,
And teem and swarm.

Every arrival reticently bears
The same mortality, and w r ears
A cowl, as though afraid
The masquerade

Were ineffectual or otherwise
Bewildering successive eyes
With revelations more
Revered of yore.

Day after day upon my sunny view
Apparently so very few
Are eager to intrude
On solitude.

Anon with cares and labors put aside,
They laze and loiter and abide,
As though the time they spend
Would never end.

They sometimes bow with reverence and seem
As vague as shadows in a dream;
And never are the same
As when they came.

13



Age follows age while men and women strive
Against the multitude and thrive,
Or wander from the quest,
As may be best.

They have tribunals and such laws that one
May go his way with duty done,
Or with remorseful end,
Nor comprehend.

So often a unanimous appeal
Appears in faces that reveal
A mystery as deep
As death or sleep.

Abundant riches now and then are found
Occultly hidden underground:
And life and love are sold
For gear and gold :

And time is spent in search of something all
My fellows realize and call
By such and such a name
As Hope and Fame.

They fall and rise and fall and rise again
In triumph and command ; and then,
Without a word to say,
They go their way.

Amazing and bewildering and strange
Beyond all reason is the change
With which a dream in view
Is coming true.



They say the house is haunted by a ghost.
Or is it but some wizard Host
Who watches at the door,
As though the score

Had ever been ignored by any chance?
Nothing escapes the searching glance
With which He levies toll
On every soul.

Divine reports and messages obscure,
Bearing a secret signature,
Are written in the grass
For those who pass.

And rare desires and memories and fears,
And dreams as radiant as tears,
Are woven in the frieze
And tapestries.

At times the shuttles thunder, and the loom
Spins darkness and appalling gloom
That ravel out again
In mist and rain.

Something discloses the identical
Dim dream made manifest in all
The faces with the wise,
Sad human eyes.

O burning eyes! O ghostly passions! Charred
Desires that smoulder ashenward !
O haunting phoenix of
Enduring love!

15



Albeit shapes in legion range the place,
On their departure not a trace
Does wall or door disclose
Of where one goes.

Death in the distance, like a hunted thing,
Stifles a cry more harrowing
Than bells that harshly toll
Rest to a soul.

It is as daft and dismal as the moan
Or as the sobbing of some lone
Unfathomable sea,
Alluring me

Away from flower and fellow day and night
Urging and mastering despite
The most unyielding lust
Born of the dust.

Yet is it death ? Can such an empty sound
As that come from the air or ground?
Or such a vacant cry
Fall from the sky ?

Can death be other than a phantom fear ?
And that cry on the inner ear
Be but a ghostly word
Unsaid, unheard ?

Still is time pleading with eternity,
Bidding hope stay though all else flee;
Saying that naught is vain
If love remain.

16



So when the summons comes for one to stray
Beyond this residence of clay,
Since mortals must explore
From door to door,

On some soft evening may a gradual voice
Bid waif and wanderer rejoice
In the green fire . . and call
For each and all.

By the dim ways of dream the wandering breeze
Shall come with tidings from the seas,
And secrets from the rose
That may disclose

The vast infinitude wherein must be
Once more a hazy memory
Of glimmering chambers trod
Alone with God.



LYRICS AND ELEGIES



FOR

DAVID MORTON



Ships in Harbor you have

hailed,
That around the Horn have

sailed.



WAYFARERS

Rarely are roving eyes to see
A caravansary
Or home
Of starry dome

So filled as this with open doors
And windows and with floors

So green,
Wind-swept and clean.

As though life were a holiday,
Sojourners on the way

Carouse,
While God keeps house.

With wooing, wizardry and song,
They cheer themselves along,

Until,
By starry will,

Wayfaring in the phantom mime,
The nomads slowly climb

The stair,
And slumber where ?

Daily arriving it has been
For them to enter in,

And then
Depart again.

21



Genial and garrulous are some,
Or wondering and dumb,

With wise,
Inquiring eyes.

Searching are others who would find
Hopes that were left behind,

And died
By the wayside.

Amazing voices sigh and call,
As if divining all

Must be
A mystery. .

O winds in secret that confer
And bid the aspen stir,

Whence goes
Or comes the rose?

Its fragrance with what pain and care
Is woven of the air?

Its hue
Of dawn and dew?

Of such things vernal voices say
Wayfaring mortals may

Return
To sleep and learn.

Oblivion is in the chill
Monotony: and still

Does tide
Nor time abide.

22



So healing are the silences!
Tranquillity and peace

So sure !
Endure, endure!

As buds, afar, ere reaching spring,
Pine for the air and cling

A-thrill
From hill to hill,

So many wanderers and boon
Companions very soon

Attend
The gradual end.

Dusty with dream since time began,
The ghostly caravan

Moves on
From dawn to dawn.

Free but in liberty to stray,
As though no trodden way

Or trail
Could well avail,

Nearing a silver beacon light,
In guerdon of a night

Abroad,
Far on the road,

Crossing the frontier very quietly

May a spent fugitive have leave to flee
The tyrannizing sea

And shore
At Home once more.

23



ORIGINS

Beginning with Lilith and Eve, there have
been two classes of women those who have
taken the strength out of men, and those who
have put it back. Proverb.

Into a dark world of strange talk

Came a soft voice,

As that of a bird

Lulling forest and fen.

And then,

Stirred

By a word

That bade him rejoice

And rise and walk,

Adam awoke,

Spoke,

Listened awhile

For an answering call,

As a great silence fell over all.

Brooding and serious,

Something mysterious

On him was casting the shadow of pain

When, with a vain

Curious smile,

(A sigh of the eye),

As a siren went by,

The first of men shuddered,

Turned over and over

In thistle and clover,

And slept again:

And dreamt of Lilith!

24



Darker and stranger grew the world,

Fig leaves were shed,

And serpents curled.

And overnight

Was born delight ;

And overday

Was born desire,

To curb dismay

Lest Adam tire.

The skies were red ;

And all the glory

Of time in story

Suddenly flashed,

And thunder crashed ;

And under the vine and fig-tree there,

Gowned and crowned with her radiant hair,

And frail as fire and free as the air,

And fair as her daughters have sought to be fair,

A woman stood

In virginhood.

Over the grass

It came to pass

That her eyes spoke . . .

So sweet was she

To hear and see,

So virginwise,

That from his eyes

And body then

The scales had all but fallen when

Adam awoke.

Eden and Eve!



HOW SHALL THE ANT SPEND THE NIGHT

How shall the ant spend the night,

The last night of all?

Or the bee, or the bird,

Whose song was a prayer hardly heeded or heard?

Or the serpents that crawl,

Panic-stricken of light?

Or the soaring untameable things

That have wings?

Shall they fall,

Or abide?

Shall they hide

In the skull . . in the husk

Of the bat-haunted void . . in the dusk

That is falling like fine

Sifted ashes on that which has strangely been yours or

been mine?
Shall the tomb
Be a quickening womb?
Or worms be the anchoret ivies that twine
In the hair of a friend,
Loved and lost,
At what cost,
In the end?

Answer and say,

As one may,

That the riddle is slight.

But in sight

Of the ultimate day,

On the eve of the night,

26



Shall the jungles be gay?

Shall they thrill at the stem?

Shall the roar in them be one of fright,

And the trumpeting thunders in them

Be a plea for the light

Fading out of the sky?

Lo the stars that were once traveled by,

Shall they yet flicker high,

Blown by winds, each of them but the sigh

And regret of a god ?

Or shall heavily nod

Every head,

Weighted down by the ominous dread?

Having loved, having died

Glorified,

Shall man, on the anvil, have quailed

At the frost in the fire?

Nay?

Sigh then nor say,

Nor complain

Of the punctual warning of pain

Foretelling decay.

Nor deny

To the valorous spirit of clay

Such courage as they,

Of the luminous kind,

Have and hold

In such measure today

As thrilled and made martyrs of old.

Aglow

On the radiant rolls of the humbly renowned

27



Are records that kindle and show

The shadowy glimmering way

Of the quick and the dead,

Of whom none to the dark shall be wholly resigned,

Though the last spark of hope

To be found,

Should be ashen and nothing have scope,

Or escape from the doom of desire

For the light that had failed,

In a world gone to bed.



COMMUNION

Fire

And frenzy not kindled by wine,

Nor a fervently fine

Inappeasable hunger for bread,

On the eucharist spread,

Have austerely been mine

To acquire

Or divine.

And whether to have less or more

Of spirit and passion to spend,

Or hazard and toss

For a sovereign gain or a loss ;

Yea,

Whether to pay

And be saved,

Or decline,

On the plea of the cost,

And be lost;

28



Who shall say

With what heaven and hell may be paved,

Or which may be which,

In the end?

So it seems,

O comrade! O friend!

That a soul, being rich

In so little that Dives esteems,

J\lay but share with you this cup of dreams.

Joy

May be never again

As ecstatic and human and keen

As the stealthy recurrence of pain.

Nor the same ghosts be seen

By the man as were plain

To the boy.

Nor, alas!

As the swift seasons pass,

And Summer goes by

W T ith thunder and sigh,

May the bugles of Autumn be blown

And rally the world as of yore ;

Or Winter atone

For the leaves that no more,

In a trance,

Thrill with wonder and sing

And with witchery dance

To the mad marching music of Spring.

Bliss

And beauty endure,

And may peace be as sure,

29



And the slope

May it slowly descend !

So it is,

As it has been for long,

O comrade! O friend!

That a soul, being poor

As Lazarus, saving in hope,

May but break with you this bread of song.



ELSEWHERE

Beauty today lost a friend,

Who is said to have died,

Fading out of the world

As a petal is curled;

Or gone, it were better to say,

Elsewhere.

But softly!

Attend:

Something luminous, something she shed,

Goes on burning elsewhere;

And the luminous way that she led

Goes on leading elsewhere.

Lo,

The dolor of dread

And the canker of care

She has taken elsewhere.

Can such valiance be dead?

Surely

No!



Kindled purely,

Such fuel of spirit as made her so fair

Over here,

Must lighten the air

Over there,

In a region so near,

Yet so far,

That no grass may be seen

To be green,

No rose to have color no star

Any radiance save as a tear

In the all-seeing Eye of all eyes,

Under starrier skies.

Fading faintly she fled,

As haply a tree

May flee;

Or a leaf

Blown free,

Lightly shedding the fetters of grief

At the will of the wind.

And the slow,

Autumn-thinned

Life in leaves being so,

May the coming and going of death

Be more than a rumor than taking a breath ?

Than a sin

Unsinned ?

Or a tear

Unshed ?

Or a thin

Phantom fear?

31



Or the dread

Of the last speech of all that remains to be said ?

A friend of the world,

Who has died

As a pennon is furled,

Has gone, it were better to say,

In a clarion word,

To be cried

And be cheerily heard,

Elsewhere.



ADELINA PATTI

Her passing is as the

passing of a voice from

the April world. Daily Press.

Ah,

Has this woman

Been nothing more to us

Than a brief bird-song

Heard in the forest?

Has she been nothing

Other than fancy

Fire or the glimpses

Of things that vanish

Wholly

And perish?

Dimmed as a memory

Now,

Has she never

32



Been any nearer

April and glory,

Lord,

Than a vesper

Thrush in the forest?

Surely
The poppy

Songs that she lavished,
Petal by petal,
On us like largess,
Had the dream in them
Such as despairing
Angels and mortals
Find in the aching
Solace of beauty!

Lord,

Of the lightning
And of the crashing
Thunders that bellow,
Rending the darkness,
Has she not taken
Fugitive, trailing
Echoes and made them
Shadows of luminous
Love and of longing?

Surely

Such rapturous,

Ravishing witchery

As she so perfectly

Veiled

33



Was the vision
Of something virginal,
\Voven of wonder
At the first daybreak
And the first timid
Voice in the startled
Star-world of silence !

Birdwise

She tarried,

Then swiftly went from us,

Even as fugitive

Shapes and their shadows

Fade in the darkness;

Even as luminous

Tear trails of tempests

End in the rainbow;

Aye,

As all beauty

Has goals of glory,

And as all glory

Sounding but passes

Into the infinite

Night and the silence.



SPRING BLEW OPEN THE DOOR

Spring blew open the door ;

An aspen stirred

And turned about,

As if in doubt

Of the time of day,

34



Or so they say ;

And all of a sudden was something heard

That rose from a sigh to a ghostly shout,

As now and again

In a panic the rain

Went scurrying over the forest floor.

A bud came out

And then a bird.

Spring blew open the door ;

On a nearby hill

A robin found

A place in the sun,

And all in fun

Made a rollicking sound

That was less than a call

And more than a trill,

Sinking low and lower,

And then was still.

On all, on all

Was the dawning grace

Of a radiant face

And a presence rare

As the shadowy things

That out of the air

A dryad weaves.

A rustle of leaves,

A flutter of wings,

A heavenly stir

In the lilac tree

And a rogue of a bee

Caught sight of Her.

35



UP THE HUDSON

I was sailing up the Hudson,

And beside me went along
Joy whose eyes were full of wonder,

And whose throat was full of song.

And the hills were passing visions
As the singing hours went by ;

And we came upon a mountain
That arose and kissed the sky.

Then a hill fell to a valley,
And a brook became a rill ;

And the Catskills in the distance
Had a duty to fulfill.

Urchins diving in the twilight
At Pokeepsie swam around

As the great boat left its mooring,

Swinging out and northward bound

Riverwise to reach a passage
Such as vagrants sail and find

Only in the quest of beauty,
And to other goals are blind.

By the moon we were transported
To a place I Know Not Where,

And we went ashore together
Stepping lightly on the air.

And we came to the conclusion
That as long as we could burn

At both ends a pixie candle,
We had better not return.

36



TRAMPING

Kly Host the parting guest bids speed,
Who, in luayfaring, does but need
Rest and a little ease of heart,
And then is ready to depart.

Rounding a bend in the highway may one
Loaf with his shadow and share the sun.

Spending a morning and hearing a bird
Voice what the gypsies of Babylon heard.

Up and away from the wants and the cares
In the aching and hollow thoroughfares,

Never are air and the dew and the grass
Weary of bidding one whistle and pass

Over the bridges, out through the broad
Gates of the Summer and down the road.

Singing above in the branches, a gay
Voice hurries over the silence to say

Leisure and time and the varying mood
Are waiting beyond in the solitude.

Solvent as oafs having only the need

To follow wherever the road may lead ;

Riches abound and the meagerest crust
Is enough for a prince and a pauper who must

Fellow and fare with the daffodils

On the myriad trail of a thousand hills.

37



Over the miles with the coming of dawn,
Morning and evening journeying on,

Drunken with rapture and eager to gaze
Over the rolling and billowy maize.

Blithely foreseeing a pause at the spring,
Finding and taking fresh heart to sing,

Because of the bracing and vital and rude
Freedom and joy in the solitude.

Ever a song and a sorrow, and still

A hope that beckons from hill to hill

Alluring and smiling and vanishing down
The shado\vy miles so cool and brown.

Thrilled by a rivulet chanting a rune
Through the meadowy summer afternoon,

When the fumes are heavy and purple and sweet,
Over the way in the ripening wheat.

This is the meed and the need of a boy
On the trail of a vagrant and vanishing joy,

When the sun and the air, by a natural whim,
Are wishing and willing to welcome him.

Turning and wandering home with the gay
Little leaves at the close of a summer day,

When all is a sob and a sigh and a call,
Before the imperial coming of Fall.

Heavy at heart when the wind and the rain,
Sudden as regiments, sweep through the plain,

38



Wheeling and veering and breaking to run
Out of the shadow and into the sun.

Pausing and hearing the garrulous leaves
Gossiping under the heavenly eaves;

Way-worn with wonder and drowsily bent
On sharing the same commodious tent

Of darkness starrily pitched in sight
Of the wandering waters of delight.



39



SPORES

FOR

THE FLUSHING GARDEN CLUB

They who make Gardens grow are,

in their duty,
Sumvise and moomvise and starwise

to Beauty.



THE YEAR IS CHANGING ITS NAME

The year is changing its name

From April to May;

And today

An oriole came,

And was heard to declare

That the sun

And the air

And the showers

Were each in their pastoral way

Resolving to cling

To the reverent custom of placing the flowers,

One by one,

On the altar of Spring.

Everything

Is aflush and aglow.

Even though

The time and the season too tardily come

For the partridge to drum,

Or for such sleepy heads

As the poppies to turn

In their spare seedy beds,

The tulips are torches beginning to burn

And illumine the land,

Being blown to a flame

By many a breeze that is wafting a wand,

43



And casting a spell,

Coming breathless to tell

The fabulous story

Of some morning-glory,

And recount the green miracles such as the rain

In the grass,

Again,

Is bringing to pass.

Oh,

The tender green way

In which summer is born!

First for an hour,

Then for a day,

Flower follows flower,

After a bird.

Suddenly finding a forest forlorn,

Something in nature is secretly stirred,

And the shy things are all in a hurry to grow.

Row upon row

The hedges are robing in green.

Behold,

How plainly the lilacs are seen

To quiver and thrill,

In response to the touch

Of invisible fingers beginning to clutch

At the heart of the world.

And the valor of daisies is being narrated

Once more and awaited

As that of a weed,

In a moment of need,

44



Coming bravely with pennons unfurled . .

And still,

As of old,

Are dandelions paving the meadows with gold.

Only are lovers to know,

In this ancient year,

Of the spirit of mirth

Again finding birth

In the glow

And the shout and the cheer,

Rising out of the earth?

A BRIEF FOR THE BIRD
God,

Being weary of chaos, and shaping the spheres,

Was beginning to nod ;

And thinking of music to lighten the toil

Of making a world out of thunder and tears,

Created a bird,

And gave it so much as a spare barren branch

Whereon to be free

And blazon the glee

Of a wild feathered thing

That would sing

Of the lost heavens sought by the breeze,

And hidden in trees.

Presently shaken

By thunder, and stirred

By the wind of His word,

Leaf after leaf

Began to awaken,

45



Then to appear

And cast a cool shadow a ladle

Of shade

For a tear

Freshly laid

In the song that the world in its cradle

First heard.

And the world, being rocked,

Fell asleep ;

And saw in a dream

That beauty in sound

Was heaven refound;

And beauty in hue

Was a dream coming true;

And beauty in truth

Was a vision for angels and mortals to deem

As a Spirit of Treasure to covet and keep

In trust,

Beyond rust,

Beyond ruth,

In vaults strangely guarded and locked.

Vast

And veiled in the flickering present and vanishing past,

Is the wonder that hardly a word

Of esteem,

Deserved of all men and of all that they dream,

In silences broken,

Sung yet or yet spoken,

Has plainly been heard

By the bird.

46



REVERIE
To Cecilia

In a world that has no end,
Fancy free us, little friend.

Let us idle to and fro

In the Land of Thus-and-So.

Others on a rock may build
Castles for the sun to gild.

Ours are more or less than grand,
Being built on dreams and sand.


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