Summer Dawn

written by

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SOME summer mornings — when you've taken tea
Too late the night before — perhaps you'll see,
If at some Berkshire farmhouse far away
You chance to wake while yet the sky is gray,
A glory, to your landscape-painter men
Unknown, yet worthy of a poet's pen.
Look from your window. Long gray banks of cloud
The fields, the hills, the distant view enshroud.
Faint stars still glimmer in the heavens above.
Below dim shapes of fog o'er stream and grove
Hang wreathing, shifting in the sluggish breeze.
Are yonder shadows mist or mist-clad trees?
For what is cloud and what is land no eye
(Sleepy at least like yours) can yet descry.
And now the rushing streams, by day unheard,
You hear, and now the twitter of a bird,
And now another, till at last the hills
And woods are all alive with fugues and trills.
The sheep begin to bleat, the cows to low;
Three hoarse, young roosters try their best to crow,
Responding to some thirsty, quacking duck,
Or hen who folds her chicks with motherly cluck.
Now morning spreads apace. The stars are drowned.
Trees loom above the fog; and all around
The landscape is transfigured in the light
Of pearly skies. Westward the wings of Night
Are folded as she steals unseen away.
Now in the far northeast an amber gray
Gleams under bars of long dark-pencilled cloud.
The crows above the woods are cawing loud.
Brighter and brighter up the dewy slope
The coming sunrise floods the lands with hope.
The clouds from north to south begin to blush.
Old Graylock answers with a rosy flush.
One mountain peak looms up with crimsoned sides;
A moment more, and in the mist it hides.
And now the valleys catch the sun below,
And elms and barn-rods redden in the glow.
O for a pencil rapid as the light
To paint the glories bursting on the sight!
Making the plain New England landscape seem
The unfamiliar scenery of a dream.
For this might be in Arcady — my rhyme
Some Eastern shepherd's of the olden time.
Here might I pipe with Tityrus in the grove;
Here to fair Amaryllis whisper love;
Here the wild woodland haunts of Dryads seek —
But what is that! The locomotive's shriek
Calls me from Dreamland and the Arcadian dawn.
The sun is up. The mystery is gone.
Another book of poesy the West
Has opened. Let the bards of old go rest.

© Christopher Pearse Cranch