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The Dancer

Holding out your delicate fingers,
Tilting your little head when the wind comes blowing.

You will shake your twinkling locks,
You will leap and skip, little tree,
Tree on the hillside—

And twirl yourself away.


How will your greenness stay
Now your roots are cut away?
The little tendrils that climbed so high,
The little green leaves still fluttering in the sun,
Will shrivel and wither to dust when your sap is dry.
Your pleasant days are done.

Oh, you turned these bricks into a happy place,
Dancing and growing;

Dancing and throwing

The dancing grace

Of your shadows over the wall
When the winds made your little leaves stir.
When your shade was full of the call
And nesting of birds, you were happy hearing the whir

Of their wings.

Oh, wings and summer days
Will miss you; and men, whose treeless ways
You gladdened in the dusty town.
I wish that we could keep your pleasant sheen;
I wish you need not fade and be cut down.
But buildings are more worth than vines, you know,

Old vine. Forgive this wasting of your precious green:

Forgive us that we had to let you go!


Under the high-arching bridge
The shadow arch
Bends itself,
Down into the water;
And lies in the water
As motionless
As the arch above it is motionless:
Masonry of the dusk.


What will you find
In the depths of the wind—
What does it hold?
Fold on fold on flowing fold
Clasp it, and your fingers press


Only a soft emptiness;
Only air is in your hand.
Yet this nothing may command
The purposes of men and seas,
Ordering them with a mighty ease;
With that same, that ancient power
That was born in time's first hour,
In the beginning of change and days.
But never its strength delays
Or grows old, or will weary or rest;
Nor the years diminish its wild invisible zest.

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At these people of the earth
And their imaginings?

Oh, but do not laugh at us unkindly,
Remember how little time we live—
And you live so long!


The words were beautiful, Before I had read them.

I laid my fingers along the edges,
Over the fold your hands had folded—
I laid my face to the face of my letter.

Softly came down and closed in about me A solitude, A separate world; In which was no sound or motion or being, Only the whispering of the paper Stirring to life in my brain.

All day I carried it
Against me,
Like a bird;
Against my heart where my life is,
Like a secret waiting in my heart,

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Do you also know it,
Did you catch the beam?
Have you felt the fire,
Has your day the dream?
Did you drink as I did?
Was it long ago?
Does your memory of it
Burn and glow 2
Do you wait its coming,
Wish it back again?
Have you known the rapture?
Known the pain?


I will put on my gay dress,
My corals and locket;
On my hair a blue ribbon,
And my softest shoes.
I will go and dance
Where the mirror will show me;
I will go and dance
And turn myself and courtesy—
(Oh, the mirror will be glad 1)—
And courtesy way way down,

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