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941                                 The Plum Tree by the House

IN morning light my damson show’d
Its airy branches oversnow’d
On all their quickening fronds,
That tingled where the early sun
Was flowing soft as silence on
Palm trees by coral ponds.
Out of the dark of sleep I come
To find the clay break into bloom,
The black boughs all in white!
I said, I must stand still and watch
This glory, strive no more to match
With similes things fair.
I am not fit to conjure up
A bird that’s white enough to hop
Unstain’d in such a tree;
Nor crest him with the bloom to come
In purple glory on the plum.
Leave me alone with my delight
To store up joy against the night,
This moment leave to me!
Why should a poet strain his head
To make his mind a marriage bed;
Shall Beauty cease to bear?
There must be things which never shall
Be match’d or made symmetrical
On Earth or in the Air;
Branches that Chinese draughtsmen drew,
Which none may find an equal to,
Unless he enter there
Where none may live—and more’s the pity!—
The Perfect, the Forbidden City,
That’s built—ah, God knows where!
Then leave me while I have the light
To fill my mind with growths of white,
Think of them longer than
Their budding hour, their springing day,
Until my mind is more than May;
And, maybe, I shall plan
To make them yet break out like this
And blossom where their image is,
More lasting and more deep
Than coral boughs in light inurn’d,
When they are to the earth return’d;
And I am turn’d to sleep.

942                                          The Image-Maker

HARD is the stone, but harder still
The delicate preforming will
That guided by a dream alone,
Subdues and moulds the hardest stone,
Making the stubborn jade release
The emblem of eternal peace.

If but the will be firmly bent,
No stuff resists the mind’s intent;
The adamant abets his skill
And sternly aids the artist’s will,
To clothe in perdurable pride
Beauty his transient eyes descried.


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