O the green glimmer of apples in the orchard,
Lamps in a wash of rain!
O the wet walk of my brown hen through the stackyard!
O tears on the window-pane!
Nothing now will ripen the bright green apples
Full of disappointment and of rain;
Brackish they will taste, of tears, when the yellow dapples
Of autumn tell the withered tale again.
All round the yard it is cluck! my brown hen.
Cluck! and the rain-wet wings;
Cluck! my marigold bird, and again
Cluck! for your yellow darlings.
For a grey rat found the gold thirteen
Huddled away in the dark.
Flutter for a moment, oh, the beast is quick and keen,
Extinct one yellow-fluffy spark!
Once I had a lover bright like running water,
Once his face was open like the sky,
Open like the sky looking down in all its laughter
On the buttercups, and the buttercups was I.
What then is there hidden in the skirts of all the blossom?
What is peeping from your skirts, O mother hen?
’Tis the sun that asks the question, in a lovely haste for wisdom;
What a lovely haste for wisdom is in men!
Yea, but it is cruel when undressed is all the blossom
And her shift is lying white upon the floor,
That a grey one, like a shadow, like a rat, a thief, a rain-storm,
Creeps upon her then and ravishes her store!
O the grey garner that is full of half-grown apples!
O the golden sparkles laid extinct!
And O, behind the cloud-leaves, like yellow autumn dapples,
Did you see the wicked sun that winked?