The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Category: 20th Century

“August” by Francis Ledwidge

I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the poetry of Irish poet and soldier Francis Ledwidge as of late, so I anticipate uploading more of his work in the future. “August” is a personal favorite. Feel free to comment, I’d love your thoughts on Ledwidge. Are you already familiar with his work? Would you like to see more?

August

By Francis Ledwidge
From Songs of the Fields by Francis Ledwidge

SHE’LL come at dusky first of day,
White over yellow harvest’s song.
Upon her dewy rainbow way
She shall be beautiful and strong.
The lidless eye of noon shall spray
Tan on her ankles in the hay,
Shall kiss her brown the whole day long.

I’ll know her in the windrows, tall
Above the crickets of the hay.
I’ll know her when her odd eyes fall,
One May-blue, one November-grey.
I’ll watch her from the red barn wall
Take down her rusty scythe, and call,
And I will follow her away.

“The Harvest Moon” by Herbert Randall

The Harvest Moon
By Herbert Randall
From the Connecticut Magazine, Vol. 6, July-August, 1900, pg. 347

On the marge of the suburnt meadow
The dusk came a-drifting in.
It covered the glow of twilight;
The dream-weavers hushed their din
Of work at the looms of autumn,
And one by one dropt to sleep,
Till the last of their drowsy murmurs
Died into the greying deep.

Then far in the hanging distance
Appeared in the lonely air
A vision of wond’rous glory.
Upheld in the darkness there.
It smiled on the dying summer,
That wrapt like a dreamer lay;
Then up thro’ the smoky heavens
Away on its quest, away—

Up, up thro’ the trackless ether—
On, on, thro’ the vast of night
It moved like a fearless spirit,
Impelled by its own wan light.
It made not a rift in the stillness—
No rift in the great deep sky;
But the song of the wakeful pleiad
As the wanderer passed them by

Was one of an apple harvest—
Of solace and joy supreme;
The pines in the forest listened,
The elms by the shining stream
Slept, nursed by the brooding silence,
And a voice that awoke in me
Filled my soul with a quiet yearning
For the calm of eternity.

“The Mother” by Timothy Cole

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From the Century magazine, Volume 86, pg. 920.

The Mother
By Timothy Cole
From the Century magazine, Volume 86, pg. 920.

DEAR solacer and goddess of the hearth,
O mother! whose enfolding arms and breast
Cradle the infant world from dawn’s fair birth
To the sun’s ripening noon with loving girth;
How oft, in dreaming of thy sheltering rest,
Whose ingle-glow now kindles to new worth
Our souls, we see thy phantom figure blest,
Still ministrant, in light and beauty dressed.
Where light is, thitherward the spirit tends:
Mankind were yet within the womb of night,
From joy imprison’d save for thy sweet might,
Save for the flame thy love forever lends.
While beacon-like thy fire throws its spark.
We shall not fear, though all the world grow dark.

“Velvet Shoes” by Elinor Wylie

Wylie’s dainty poem, “Velvet Shoes,” rouses hushed contemplation by its dreamy, ethereal narrative. Subtle evocation is surely what has made this poem a classic to our contemporary readers.

Velvet Shoes

Let us walk in the white snow
In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet and slow,
At a tranquil pace,
Under veils of white lace.

I shall go shod in silk,
And you in wool,
White as white cow’s milk,
More beautiful
Than the breast of a gull.

We shall walk through the still town
In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
Upon silver fleece,
Upon softer than these.

We shall walk in velvet shoes:
Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews
On white silence below.
We shall walk in the snow.

In the case that I don’t transcribe a work, I source my borrowings. This transcription is borrowed from the following source, and credit goes to their transcribers.