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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

In Tropic Rains

By John Boyle O’Reilly (1844–1890)

From “The King of the Vasse”

THE BUSH is whispering in her pent-up glee,

As myriad roots bestir them to be free,

And drink the soaking moisture; while bright heaven

Shows clear, as inland are the spent clouds driven;

And oh! that arch, that sky’s intensate hue!

That deep, God-painted, unimagined blue

Through which the golden sun now smiling sails,

And sends his love to fructify the vales

That late he seemed to curse! Earth throbs and heaves

With pregnant prescience of life and leaves;

The shadows darken ’neath the tall trees’ screen,

While round their stems the rank and velvet green

Of undergrowth is deeper still; and there,

Within the double shade and steaming air,

The scarlet palm has fixed its noxious root,

And hangs the glorious poison of its fruit;

And there, ’mid shaded green and shaded light,

The steel-blue silent birds take rapid flight

From earth to tree and tree to earth; and there

The crimson-plumaged parrot cleaves the air

Like flying fire, and huge brown owls awake

To watch, far down, the stealing carpet-snake,

Fresh-skinned and glowing in his changing dyes,

With evil wisdom in the cruel eyes

That glint like gems as o’er his head flits by

The blue-black armor of the emperor-fly;

And all the humid earth displays its powers

Of prayer, with incense from the hearts of flowers

That load the air with beauty and with wine

Of mingled color, as with one design

Of making there a carpet to be trod,

In woven splendor, by the feet of God!

And high o’erhead is color: round and round

The towering gums and tuads, closely wound

Like cables, creep the climbers to the sun,

And over all the reaching branches run

And hang, and still send shoots that climb and wind

Till every arm and spray and leaf is twined,

And miles of trees, like brethren joined in love,

Are drawn and laced; while round them and above,

When all is knit, the creeper rests for days

As gathering might, and then one blinding blaze

Of very glory sends, in wealth and strength,

Of scarlet flowers o’er the forest’s length!