Maurice Thompson

Spring's Torch-Bearer

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Oriole--athlete of the air--
Of fire and song a glowing core,
From tropic wildernesses fair,
Spring's favorite lampadephore,


A hot flambeau on either wing
Rimples as you pass me by;
'T is seeing flame to hear you sing,
'T is hearing song to see you fly.


Below the leaves in fragrant gloom,
Cool currents lead you to your goal,
Where bursting jugs of rich perfume
Down honeyed slopes of verdure roll.


In eddies, round some hummock cold,
Where violets weave their azure bredes,
You flash a torch o'er rimy mould
And rouse the dormant balsam seeds.


Upon the sassafras a flare,
And through the elm a wavering sheen,
A flicker in the orchard fair,
A flame across the hedgerow green.


Your voice and light are in my dream
Of vanished youth, they warm my heart;
With every chirrup, every gleam,
Sweet currents from old fountains start.


I take me wings and fly with you,
Once more the boy of long ago.
Oh, days of bloom! Oh, honey-dew!
Hark! how the flutes of fairy blow!


You whisk wild splendors through the trees,
And send keen fervors down the wind,
You singe the jackets of the bees,
And trail an opal mist behind.


When flowery hints foresay the berry,
On spray of haw and tuft of brier,
Then, wandering incendiary,
You set the maple swamps afire!

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Maurice Thompson