When the gold is on the willow

When the gold is on the willow, and the purple on the brier,
Not hoary hair or heavy care can still my wild desire
To race across the uplands, over Memory’s tender turf,
And dive out of my sorrows in the dogwood’s bloomy surf.
O blue were violets in our youth, and blue were April skies,
And blue the early song-bird’s wings, but bluer were the eyes
That, in that land of long ago, looked thro’ the window pane,
And saw the tulips nod to us amid the slanting rain,
Where all the dusk was glowing with our ruddy cottage fire,
When the gold was on the willow, and the purple on the brier.

When the gold is on the willow, and the purple on the brier,
The ducats of the dandelions have paid old Winter’s hire,
And sent him shuffling northward in garb of tattered snow;
White-tasseled birches after him their balmy odors throw.
Carousing in the bramble brake the brown bees, boozing, sip,
And up the river’s cataracts the shining salmon slip.
The schoolboy’s spirit leaveth him upon the weary seat,
And over loamy furrows leaps, with lightsome heart, to greet
The chipmunk on the mossy wall, the bullfrog in the mire,
When the gold is on the willow, and the purple on the brier.

When the gold is on the willow, and the purple on the brier,
He whistles the cantata of the blackbird’s noisy choir,
And all the murmurous music of a manumitted stream
Sings soft around his naked feet, where shallow ripples gleam,
As if the loops of crystal wherein the lad doth wade
Had threaded through the lilies of some Paradise arcade,
And little laughing angels had tucked their tunics high,
To plash across its limpid shoals before it left the sky;
And still it lilts the melody of lute, and harp, and lyre,
When the gold is on the willow, and the purple on the brier.

When the gold is on the willow, and the purple on the brier,
It may be sin to say it, but I fear that I shall tire
Of heaven’s eternal summer, and sometimes I will yearn
To see across the greening swale, a budding maple burn.
My soul can ne’er be satisfied where sweet Spring never hath
Her way along the mountain side or by the meadow path,
Where kingcups never catch the sun, or bluebells mock the sky,
Or trout beneath the foam-wreaths hide, or bass jump at the fly,
And, in some homesick moment, for a furlough I’ll inquire,
When the gold is on the willow, and the purple on the brier.
By Robert Mcintyre

The Willow

8 thoughts on “When the gold is on the willow

  1. Very pleasant, and a beautiful photograph. I’m not familiar with Robert Mcintyre. I see he’s an American poet but I can’t find much more about him.
    Cheers, Alen

    1. Hi Alen. I found the poem on blackcatpoems.com. Not much to find about RobertMcintyre elsewhere.
      But you can have another beauty from his hand here:
      When Day cometh over the dim mountain tops,
      She seeth, far down in the enchanted copse,
      Her fair face reflected in that magic glass
      Laid on the lawn where the Merced doth pass.
      Lo, the vale hangs inverted, enfolded in firs,
      Thro’ fathoms of crystal the soaring lark whirrs,
      And seemeth to sink into eternity
      In the marvelous mirror of Yosemite.

      She lingereth there, o’er the sky lintel bent,
      And seeth beneath her the blue firmament,
      Watching the mists of the morning that scale
      The path of the winding and perilous trail,
      The steeps of the Sierra’s gray monochrome,
      The storm-smitten summit of awful Souoth Dome,
      When by the great portal of red Porphyry
      The sun drives his car into Yosemite.

      Below, in clear water, the tall turrets swing,
      The bold cedar-trees to the terraces cling,
      The sevenfold rainbow is flinging its span
      From Bridal Veil Falls unto El Capitan.
      As spun by the sun from the foamy cascade,
      When arching across the aërial glade,
      It looks like the girder of God’s balcony,
      From which He looks down into Yosemite.

      Sometimes in the dawning the clouds seem to stand
      On a far-away ledge, like an angelic band
      That pauses in flight, on the opaline verge
      Where the sky and the snow into mystery merge;
      Then Day to the seraphs shout o’er the abyss,
      “O shining and sinless ones, answer me this:
      Can aught in your heaven of heavens e’er be
      As sublime as this splendor of Yosemite?”
      All the best,
      Hanna

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