Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  The Summer Pool

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Cosmo Monkhouse b. 1840

The Summer Pool

THERE is a singing in the summer air,

The blue and brown moths flutter o’er the grass,

The stubble bird is creaking in the wheat,

And perch’d upon the honeysuckle-hedge

Pipes the green linnet. Oh, the golden world!

The stir of life on every blade of grass,

The motion and the joy on every bough,

The glad feast everywhere, for things that love

The sunshine, and for things that love the shade!

Aimlessly wandering with weary feet,

Watching the wool white clouds that wander by,

I come upon a lonely place of shade,—

A still green Pool, where with soft sound and stir

The shadows of o’erhanging branches sleep,

Save where they leave one dreamy space of blue,

O’er whose soft stillness ever and anon

The feathery cirrus blows. Here unaware

I pause, and leaning on my staff I add

A shadow to the shadows; and behold!

Dim dreams steal down upon me, with a hum

Of little wings, a murmuring of boughs,

The dusky stir and motion dwelling here,

Within this small green world. O’ershadow’d

By dusky greenery, tho’ all around

The sunshine throbs on fields of wheat and bean,

Downward I gaze into the dreamy blue,

And pass into a waking sleep, wherein

The green boughs rustle, feathery wreaths of cloud

Pass softly, piloted by golden airs:

The air is still,—no birds sing any more,—

And helpless as a tiny flying thing,

I am alone in all the world with God.

The wind dies—not a leaf stirs—on the Pool

The fly scarce moves; earth seems to hold her breath

Until her heart stops, listening silently

For the far footsteps of the coming rain!

While thus I pause, it seems that I have gain’d

New eyes to see; my brain grows sensitive

To trivial things that, at another hour,

Had pass’d unheeded. Suddenly the air

Shivers, the shadows in whose midst I stand

Tremble and blacken—the blue eye o’ the Pool

Is clos’d and clouded; with a sudden gleam

Oiling its wings, a swallow darteth past,

And weedling flowers beneath my feet thrust up

Their leaves, to feel the fragrant shower. Oh, hark!

The thirsty leaves are troubled into sighs,

And up above me, on the glistening boughs,

Patters the summer rain!

Into a nook,

Screen’d by thick foliage of oak and beech,

I creep for shelter; and the summer shower

Murmurs around me. Oh, the drowsy sounds!

The pattering rain, the numerous sigh of leaves,

The deep, warm breathing of the scented air,

Sink sweet into my soul—until at last,

Comes the soft ceasing of the gentle fall,

And lo! the eye of blue within the Pool

Opens again, while with a silvern gleam

Dew diamonds twinkle moistly on the leaves,

Or, shaken downward by the summer wind,

Fall melting on the Pool in rings of light!