I saw the little leaves that have
So gay a dance, their tiny veins
Skilfully painted by some grave
Firm hand that spared not love nor pains.
And here a mystery was wrought
In secret letters hard to find ó
Each leaf was shapely; each a thought
Made perfect in the dreamerís mind.
In caverns deep beneath the earth
The strong roots twist. They do not know
How their boughs rock with Aprilís mirth,
Nor feel the ripening autumnís glow.
And the swift tides of sap that pass
From gloom to sunlight have no words
To tell the lovely scents of grass,
The plash of rain, the cry of birds;
Yet still the blind, brown fingers grope
And wrench asunder rocky bars
For no reward but some dim hope
And far-off knowledge of the stars.
Oh Life, in caverns dark as these
We build, and break. In depths profound
As any plumbed by ancient trees
We wander blindly underground.
And blindly from strange streams we drink
The very milk of Mother Earth ó
The secret rivers, on whose brink
Nor daffodil nor scent has birth.
Nor may we know how swiftly these
Dark tides shall gift our boughs with wings ó
Shall blossom into melodies
And starry-plumed immortal things.
But where the tree of Man grows tall
And soars to straightness from its clod,
Widen the flowers that shall not fall,
Whereof the perfume pleases God.