SPRING APPLE TREE
An apple-tree in Spring shakes me,—to see it grow,
Its branches whitely weighted with unmelting snow.
So might a hunch-backed girl stand, beautiful and dumb,
As trembling, the tree stands, and strikes my genius
numb. . . .
It looks into the wide, pale shallows, mirror-clear,
Seeking to shed the dews that stain it like a tear;
And stilled with horror, groans like a rude, rusty cart,
Seeing the dismal hunch mocked by the pool's bright art.
When steely sleep alights upon the silent lake
For the bent apple-tree, as for a sick girl's sake,
I come to offer tenderness the boughs would miss,
I press upon the petal-perfumed tree a kiss.
Then trustingly, with tears, the tree confides her care
To me, and brushes with a touch my back-blown hair.
Her boughs encircle me, her little twigs enlace,
And I lift up my lips to kiss her flowering face.