African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

H. Cordelia Ray, "The Months" (1920)



To herald in another year,
With rhythmic note the snowflakes fall
Silently from their crystal courts,
To answer Winter's call.
Wake, mortal! Time is winged anew!
Call Love and Hope and Faith to fill
The chambers of thy soul to-day;
Life hath its blessings still!


The icicles upon the pane
Are busy architects; they leave
What temples and what chiseled forms
Of leaf and flower! Then believe
That though the woods be brown and bare,
And sunbeams peep through cloudy veils,
Though tempests howl through leaden skies,
The springtime never fails!


Robin! Robin! call the Springtime!
March is halting on his way;
Hear the gusts. What! snowflakes falling!
Look not for the grass to-day.
Ay, the wind will frisk and play,
And we cannot say it nay.


She trips across the meadows,
The weird, capricious elf!
The buds unfold their perfumed cups
For love of her sweet self;
And silver-throated birds begin to tune their lyres,
While wind-harps lend their strains to Nature's magic choirs.


Sweet, winsome May, coy, pensive fay,
Comes garlanded with lily-beds,
And apple blooms shed incense through the bow'r,
To be her dow'r;
While through the deafy dells
A wondrous concert swells
To welcome May, the dainty fay.


Roses, roses, roses,
Creamy, fragrant, dewy!
See the rainbow shower!
Was there e'er so sweet a flower?[Pg 88]
I'm the rose-nymph, June they call me.
Sunset's blush is not more fair
Than the gift of bloom so rare,
Mortal, that I bring to thee!


Sunshine and shadow play amid the trees
In bosky groves, while from the vivid sky
The sun's gold arrows fleck the fields at noon,
Where weary cattle to their slumber hie.
How sweet the music of the purling rill,
Trickling adown the grassy hill!
While dreamy fancies come to give repose
When the first star of evening glows.


Haste to the mighty ocean,
List to the lapsing waves;
With what a strange commotion
They seek their coral caves.
From heat and turmoil let us oft return,
The ocean's solemn majesty to learn.


With what a gentle sound
The autumn leaves drop to the ground;
The many-colored dyes,
They greet our watching eyes.[Pg 89]
Rosy and russet, how they fall!
Throwing o'er earth a leafy pall.


The mellow moon hangs golden in the sky,
The vintage song is over, far and nigh
A richer beauty Nature weareth now,
And silently, in reverence we bow
Before the forest altars, off'ring praise
To Him who sweetness gives to all our days.


The leaves are sere,
The woods are drear,
The breeze that erst so merrily did play,
Naught giveth save a melancholy lay;
Yet life's great lessons do not fail
E'en in November's gale.


List! list! the sleigh bells peal across the snow;
The frost's sharp arrows touch the earth and lo!
How diamond-bright the stars do scintillate
When Night hath lit her lamps to Heaven's gate.
To the dim forest's cloistered arches go,
And seek the holly and the mistletoe;
For soon the bells of Christmas-tide will ring
To hail the Heavenly King!

Published in The Upward Path1920

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