A City Afternoon

Green afternoon serene and bright, along my street you sail away
Sun-dappled like a ship of light that glints upon a rippled bay.
Afar, freight-engines call and toll; the sprays flash on the fragrant grass;
The children and the nurses stroll; the charging motors plunge and pass.
Invisibly the shadows grow, empurpling in a rising tide
The walks where light-gowned women go, white curb, gray asphalt iris-dyed.
A jolting trolley shrills afar; nasturtiums blow, and ivy vines;
Wet scents of turf and black-smoothed tar float down the roof-trees’ vergent lines.
Where will you go, my afternoon, that glints so still and swift away,
Blue-shaded like a ship of light bound outward from a wimpled bay?
Oh—thrilling, pulsing, dark and bright, shall you, your work, your pain, your mirth,
Fly into the immortal night and silence of our mother earth?
She bore all Eden’s green and dew, and Persia’s scented wine and rose,
And, flowering white against the blue, acanthus leaf and marbled pose.
And deep the Maenad’s choric dance, Crusader’s cross, and heathen crest
Lie sunk with rose and song and lance all veiled and vanished in her breast.

And all those afternoons once danced and sparkled in the sapphire light
And iris shade as you have glanced, green afternoon, in vibrant flight.
As, down dim vistas, echoing, dead afternoons entreat our days,
What breath of beauty will you sing to souls unseen and unknown ways?
How close and how unanswering, green afternoon, you pulse away,
So little and so great a thing—deep towards the bourne of every day.