COME with me to the mossy places.
Where the rippling amber stream,
Mirroring our shadowy faces,
Leads us on from dream to dream.
Come with me where the leaves are still;
And the wood is hushed like a grassy hill,
A hill of silence, whose fleecy sheep
Are the clouds of sleep — the clouds of sleep!
Heavy and dark are the rain-wet ferns
Drooping over the rocky pool —
See how the steamlet ebbs and turns
Sprinkling the moss with its ripples cool!
Ah! The wisdom of life is here;
As old as I, as young as you;
Thrilling both of us thro' and thro'.
Ah! The wisdom of life is here!
In every plant and in every sod,
The old earth-wisdom here is furled;
Wisdom older than any god,
Wisdom older than the world!
There are whispers here, there are whispers deep,
Hid in these places, that can raise
Memories out of caverns of sleep,
That throw strange meanings upon our days!
Is it life, is it life, that all these years,
We've been living, tasting, and calling good?
Ah! Your eyes are full of tears!
The wood has caught you, the magic wood.
Something breaks down where the wood begins;
Something breaks down in this hidden spot!
What are our virtues? What are our sins?
It matters not! It matters not!
Round the boulders the ripples play.
The dead trunks, lying the stream across,
Catch the sun in a lovelier way
Than the living plants or the living moss.
Death, what is it? What do we care?
It is strange. It is magical. It is well.
Give me your hand — tie up your hair —
If I kissed you, the wood-gods would not tell!