Guest poem sent in by Neha Khanna
(Poem #1942) A Daydream
On a sunny brae alone I lay One summer afternoon; It was the marriage-time of May, With her young lover, June. From her mother's heart seemed loath to part That queen of bridal charms, But her father smiled on the fairest child He ever held in his arms. The trees did wave their plumy crests, The glad birds carolled clear; And I, of all the wedding guests, Was only sullen there! There was not one, but wished to shun My aspect void of cheer; The very gray rocks, looking on, Asked, "What do you here?" And I could utter no reply; In sooth, I did not know Why I had brought a clouded eye To greet the general glow. So, resting on a heathy bank, I took my heart to me; And we together sadly sank Into a reverie. We thought, "When winter comes again, Where will these bright things be? All vanished, like a vision vain, An unreal mockery! "The birds that now so blithely sing, Through deserts, frozen dry, Poor spectres of the perished spring, In famished troops will fly. "And why should we be glad at all? The leaf is hardly green, Before a token of its fall Is on the surface seen!" Now, whether it were really so, I never could be sure; But as in fit of peevish woe, I stretched me on the moor, A thousand thousand gleaming fires Seemed kindling in the air; A thousand thousand silvery lyres Resounded far and near: Methought, the very breath I breathed Was full of sparks divine, And all my heather-couch was wreathed By that celestial shine! And, while the wide earth echoing rung To that strange minstrelsy The little glittering spirits sung, Or seemed to sing, to me: "O mortal! mortal! let them die; Let time and tears destroy, That we may overflow the sky With universal joy! "Let grief distract the sufferer's breast, And night obscure his way; They hasten him to endless rest, And everlasting day. "To thee the world is like a tomb, A desert's naked shore; To us, in unimagined bloom, It brightens more and more! "And, could we lift the veil, and give One brief glimpse to thine eye, Thou wouldst rejoice for those that live, BECAUSE they live to die." The music ceased; the noonday dream, Like dream of night, withdrew; But Fancy, still, will sometimes deem Her fond creation true.
Note: brae (n., Scots): a hillside The most interesting bit in this poem, for me, is in these lines - "Now, whether it were really so, I never could be sure;" I wonder, why does the poet say this when the entire "May marrying June" sequence would appear fantastic enough to most of us? Is the section above these lines to be taken as 'factual reporting', and the section from these lines onwards as a 'fancy'? "But Fancy, still, will sometimes deem Her fond creation true." Other than that, I find that the language is simple; the rhyming makes it very hummable. The descriptions are very vivid, as if she stood there and she saw a wedding. It is as if she is pointing towards the greens in spring and telling you their history (like someone would point at an ancient palace and say "here is where that king lived"). And then she turns towards you with her eyes wide and tells you something you are never going to believe (and that someone then turns to you and says "no one really knows - but people still hear sounds on moonlit nights..."). Neha