The Birch Tree

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Touched with beauty, I stand still and gaze
In the autumn twilight. Yellow leaves and brown
The grass enriching, gleam, or waver down
From lime and elm: far--glimmering through the haze
The quiet lamps in order twinkle; dumb
And fair the park lies; faint the city's hum.

And I regret not June's impassioned prime,
When her deep lilies banqueted the air,
And this now ruined, then so fragrant lime
Cooled with clear green the heavy noon's high glare;
Nor flushed carnations, breathing hot July;
Nor April's thrush in the blithest songs of the year,
With brown bloom on the elms and dazzling sky;
So strange a charm there lingers in this austere
Resigning month, yielding to what must be.
Yet most, O delicate birch, I envy thee,
Child among trees! with silvery slender limbs
And purple sprays of drooping hair. Night dims
The grass; the great elms darken; no birds sing.
At last I sigh for the warmth and the fragrance flown.
But thou in the leafless twilight shinest alone,
Awaiting in ignorant trust the certain spring.

© Robert Laurence Binyon