56 Works of Susan Coolidge
The boys and girls had fastened the last sprig of holly upon the walls, and then gone to their homes, leaving the old church silent and deserted. The sun had set in a sky clear and yellow as topaz. Christmas eve had fairly come, and now the moon was rising, a full moon, and all [...]
I know where it lurks and hides,In the midst of the busy house,In the midst of the children’s glee,All clay its shadow bides:Nobody knows but me.
On a closet-shelf it dwells,In the darkest corner of all,Mid rolls of woollen and fur,And faint, forgotten smellsOf last year’s lavender.
That a ghost has its dwelling thereNobody else would guess,–“Only [...]
Thank God for life: life is not sweet always.Hands may he heavy-laden, hearts care full,Unwelcome nights follow unwelcome days,And dreams divine end in awakenings dull.Still it is life, anil life is cause for praise.This ache, this restlessness, this quickening sting,Prove me no torpid and inanimate thing,Prove me of Him who is of life the Spring.I [...]
Yes, God has made me a woman,And I am content to beJust what He meant, not reaching outFor other things, since HeWho knows me best and loves me most has ordered this for me.
A woman, to live my life outIn quiet womanly ways,Hearing the far-off battle,Seeing as through a hazeThe crowding, struggling world of men [...]
I sit at evening’s scented close,In fulness of the summer-tide;All dewy fair the lily glows,No single petal of the row;Has fallen to dim the rose’s pride.
Sweet airs, sweet harmonies of hue,Surround, caress me everywhere;The spells of dusk, the spells of dew,My senses steal, my reason woo,And sing a lullaby to tare,
But vainly do the warm [...]
Sitting all day in a silver mist,In silver silence all the day,Save for the low, soft kiss of spray,And the lisp of sands by waters kissed,As the tide draws up the bay.
Little I hear and nothing I see,Wrapped in that veil by fairies spun;The solid earth is vanished for me,And the shining hours speed noiselessly,A [...]
Could my heart hold another one?I cannot tell.Sometimes it seems an ample dome,Sometimes a cell,
Sometimes a temple filled with saints,Serene and fair,Whose eyes are pure from mortal taintsAll lilies are.
Sometimes a narrow shrine, in whichOne precious fareSmiles ever from its guarded niche,With deathless grace.
Sometimes a nest, where weary things,And weal; and shy,Are brooded under mother [...]
All green and fair the Summer lies,Just budded from the bud of Spring,With tender blue of wistful skies,And winds which softly sing.
Her clock has struck its morning hours;Noon nears–the flowery dial is true;But still the hot sun veils its powers,In deference to the dew.
Yet there amid the fresh new green,Amid the young broods overhead,A single [...]
The aloes grow upon the sand,The aloes thirst with parching heat;Year after year they waiting stand,Lonely and calm, and front the beatOf desert winds; and still a sweetAnd subtle voice thrills all their veins:“Great patience wins; it still remains,After a century of pains,To you to bloom and be complete.”
I grow upon a thorny waste;Hot noontide [...]
I’ll tell you how the leaves came down.The great Tree to his children said,“You’re getting sleepy, Yellow and Brown,Yes, very sleepy, little Red;It is quite time you went to bed.”
“Ah!” begged each silly, pouting leaf,“Let us a little longer May;Dear Father Tree, behold our grief,‘Tis such a very pleasant dayWe do not want to go [...]
Over the lapsing lagune all the dayUrging my gondola with oar-strokes light,Always beside one shadowy waterwayI pause and peer, with eager, jealous sight,Toward the Piazza where Pepita stands,Wooing the hungry pigeons from their flight.
Dark the canal; but she shines like the sun,With yellow hair and dreaming, wine-brown eyes.Thick crowd the doves for food. She gives [...]
What is a home? A guarded space,Wherein a few, unfairly blest,Shall sit together, face to face,And bask and purr and be at rest?
Where cushioned walls rise up betweenIts inmates and the common air,The common pain, and pad and screenFrom blows of fate or winds of care?
Where Art may blossom strong and free,And Pleasure furl her [...]
When earth was young and men were few,And all things freshly born and newSeemed made for blessing, not for ban,Kintu, the god, appeared as man.Clad in the plain white priestly dress,He journeyed through the wilderness,His wife beside. A mild-faced cowThey drove, and one low-bleating lamb;He bore a ripe banana-bough,And she a root of fruitful yam:This [...]
In the deep shadow of the porchA slender bind-weed springs,And climbs, like airy acrobat,The trellises, and swingsAnd dances in the golden sunIn fairy loops and rings.
Its cup-shaped blossoms, brimmed with dew,Like pearly chalices,Hold cooling fountains, to refreshThe butterflies and bees;And humming-birds on vibrant wingsHover, to drink at ease.
And up and down the garden-bed,Mid box and [...]
The day was hot and the day was dumb,Save for cricket’s chirr or the bee’s low hum,Not a bird was seen or a butterfly,And ever till noon was over, the sunGlared down with a yellow and terrible eye;
Glared down in the woods, where the breathless boughsHung heavy and faint in a languid drowse,And the ferns [...]
The angel opened the doorA little way,And she vanished, as melts a star,Into the day,And, for just a second’s space,Ere the bar he drew,The pitying angel paused,And we looked through.
What did we see within?Ah! who can tell?What glory and glow of lightIneffable;What peace in the very air,What hush and calm,Soothing each tired soulLike healing balm!
After the earthquake shock or lightning dartComes a recoil of silence o’er the lands,And then, with pulses hot and quivering hands,Earth calls up courage to her mighty heart,Plies every tender, compensating art,Draws her green, flowery veil above the scar,Fills the shrunk hollow, smooths the riven plain,And with a century’s tendance heals againThe seams and gashes [...]
“For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Thy kingdom here?Lord, can it be?Searching and seeking everywhereFor many a year,“Thy kingdom come” has been my prayer.Was that dear kingdom all the while so near?
Blinded and dullWith selfish sin,Have I been sitting at the gatesCalled Beautiful,Where Thy fair angel stands and waits,With hand upon the lock [...]
Lonely and cold and fierce I keep my way,Scourge of the lands, companioned by the storm,Tossing to heaven my frontlet, wild and gray,Mateless, yet conscious ever of a warmAnd brooding presence close to mine all day.
What is this alien thing, so near, so far,Close to my life always, but blending never?Hemmed in by walls whose [...]
As purely white as is the drifted snow,More dazzling fair than summer roses are,Petalled with rays like a clear rounded star,When winds pipe chilly, and red sunsets glow,Your blossoms blow.
Sweet with a freshening fragrance, all their own,In which a faint, dim breath of bitter lies,Like wholesome breath mid honeyed flatteries;When other blooms are dead, and [...]
Why should I weary you, dear heart, with words,Words all discordant with a foolish pain?Thoughts cannot interrupt or prayers do wrong,And soft and silent as the summer rainMine fall upon your pathway all day long.
Giving as God gives, counting not the costOf broken box or spilled and fragrant oil,I know that, spite of your strong [...]
The baby Summer lies asleep and dreaming–Dreaming and blooming like a guarded rose;And March, a kindly nurse, though rude of seeming,Is watching by the cradle hung with snows.
Her blowing winds but keep the rockers swinging,And deepen slumber in the shut blue eyes,And the shrill cadences of her high singingAre to the babe but wonted lullabies.
In covert of a leafy porch,Where woodbine clings,And roses drop their crimson leaves,He sits and sings;With soft brown crest erect to hear,And drooping wings.
Shut in a narrow cage, which barsHis eager flight,Shut in the darker prison-houseOf blinded sight,Alike to him are sun and stars,The day, the night.
But all the fervor of high noon,Hushed, fragrant, strong,And [...]
What whispered Love the day he fled?Ah! this was what Love whispered;“You sought to hold me with a chain;I fly to prove such holding vain.
“You bound me burdens, and I boreThe burdens hard, the burdens sore;I bore them all unmurmuring,For Love can bear a harder thing.
“You taxed me often, teased me, wept;I only smiled, and [...]
“Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter, passing by, might overshadow some of them.”
Mid the thronged bustle of the city street,In the hot hush of noon,I wait, with folded hands and nerveless feet.Surely He will come soon.Surely [...]
They know the time to go!The fairy clocks strike their inaudible hourIn field and woodland, and each punctual flowerBows at the signal an obedient headAnd hastes to bed.
The pale AnemoneGlides on her way with scarcely a good-night;The Violets tie their purple nightcaps tight;Hand clasped in hand, the dancing Columbines,In blithesome lines,
Drop their last courtesies,Flit from [...]
Hope stood one morning by the way,And stretched her fair right hand to me,And softly whispered, “For this dayI’ll company with thee.”
“Ah, no, dear Hope,” I sighing said;“Oft have you joined me in the morn,But when the evening came, you fledAnd left me all forlorn.
“‘Tis better I should walk aloneThan have your company awhile,And then [...]
We started in the morning, a morning full of glee,All in the early morning, a goodly company;And some were full of merriment, and all were kind and dear:But the others have pursued their way, and left me sitting here.
My feet were not so fleet as theirs, my courage soon was gone,And so I lagged and [...]
Myriad rivers seek the sea,The sea rejects not any one;A myriad rays of light may beClasped in the compass of one sun;And myriad grasses, wild and free,Drink of the dew which faileth none.
A myriad worlds encompass ours;A myriad souls our souls enclose;And each, its sins and woes and powers,The Lord He sees, the Lord He [...]
A grievous day of wrathful winds,Of low-hung clouds, which scud and fly,And drop cold rains, then lift and showA sullen realm of upper sky.
The sea is black as night; it roarsFrom lips afoam with cruel spray,Like some fierce, many-throated packOf wolves, which scents and chases prey.
Crouched in my little wind-swept nook,I hear the menacing voices [...]
The boat cast loose her moorings;“Good-by” was all we said.“Good-by, Old World,” we said with a smile,And never looked back as we sped,A shining wake of foam behind,To the heart of the sunset red.
Heavily drove our plunging keelThe warring waves between;Heavily strove we night and day,Against the west-wind keen,Bent, like a foe, to bar our [...]
“Entre deux amants il y a toujours l’an qui baise et l’autre qui tend la joue.”
I says he loves me well, and IBelieve it; in my hands, to makeOr mar, his life lies utterly,Nor can I the strong plea deny.Which claims my love for his love’s sake.
He says there is no face so fairAs mine; [...]
My morn was all dewy rose and pearl,Peace brimmed the skies, a cool and fragrant airCaressed my going forth, and everywhereThe radiant webs, by hope and fancy spun,Stretched shining in the sun.
Then came a noon, hot, breathless, still,–No wind to visit the dew-thirsty flowers,Only the dust, the road, the urging hours;And, pressing on, I never [...]
Softly drops the crimson sun:Softly down from overhead,Drop the bell-notes, one by one,Melting in the melting red;Sign to angel bands unsleeping,–“Day is done, the dark is dread,Take the world in care and keeping.
“Set the white-robed sentries close,Wrap our want and wearinessIn the surety of repose;Let the shining presences,Bearing fragrance on their wings,Stand about our beds [...]
Slow buds the pink dawn like a roseFrom out night’s gray and cloudy sheath;Softly and still it grows and grows,Petal by petal, leaf by leaf;Each sleep-imprisoned creature breaksIts dreamy fetters, one by one,And love awakes, and labor wakes,–The morning comes before the sun.
What is this message from the lightSo fairer far than light can be?Youth [...]
“Although St. Franceses was unwearied in her devotions, yet if, during her prayers, she was called away by her husband or any domestic duty, she would close the book cheerfully, saying that a wife and a mother, when called upon, must quit her God at the alter to find Him in her domestic affairs.”–Legends of [...]
Ah! grown a dim and fairy shade,Dear child, who, fifteen years ago,Out of our arms escaped and fledWith swift white feet, as if afraid,To hide beneath the grass, the snow,that sunny little head.
This is your birthday! Fair, so fair,And grown to gracious maiden-height,And versed in heavenly lore and ways;White-vested as the angels are,In very light [...]
She stood in the open door,She blessed them faint and low:“I must go,” she said, “must goAway from the light of the sun,Away from you, every one;Must see your eyes no more,–Your eyes, that love me so.
“I should not shudder thus,Nor weep, nor be afraid.Nor cling to you so dismayed,Could I only pierce with ray [...]
I sit alone in the gray,The snow falls thick and fast,And never a sound have I heard all dayBut the wailing of the blast,And the hiss and click of the snow, whirling to and fro.
There seems no living thingLeft in the world but I;My thoughts fly forth on restless wing,And drift back wearily,Storm-beaten, buffeted, hopeless, [...]
Go, sun, since go you must,The dusky evening lowers above our sky,Our sky which was so blue and sweetly fair;Night is not terrible that we should sigh.A little darkness we can surely bear;Will there not be more sunshine–by and by?
Go, rose, since go you must,Flowerless and chill the winter draweth nigh;Closed are the blithe and [...]
How easily He turns the tides!Just now the yellow beach was dry,Just now the gaunt rocks all were bare,The sun beat hot, and thirstilyEach sea-weed waved its long brown hair,And bent and languished as in pain;Then, in a flashing moment’s space,The white foam-feet which spurned the sandPaused in their joyous outward race,Wheeled, wavered, turned them [...]
Long reaches of wet grasses swayWhere ran the sea but yesterday,And white-winged boats at sunset drewTo anchor in the crimsoning blue.The boats lie on the grassy plain,Nor tug nor fret at anchor chain;Their errand done, their impulse spent,Chained by an alien element,With sails unset they idly lie,Though morning beckons brave and nigh;Like wounded birds, their [...]
All night the thirsty beach has listening lain,With patience dumb,Counting the slow, sad moments of her pain;Now morn has come,And with the morn the punctual tide again.
I hear the white battalions down the bayCharge with a cheer;The sun’s gold lances prick them on their way,–They plunge, they rear,–Foam-plumed and snowy-pennoned, they are here!
The roused shore, [...]
She has been just a year in Heaven.Unmarked by white moon or gold sun,By stroke of clock or clang of bell,Or shadow lengthening on the way,In the full noon and perfect day,In Safety’s very citadel,The happy hours have sped, have run;And, rapt in peace, all pain forgot,She whom we love, her white soul shriven,Smiles at [...]
Each day upon the yellow Nile, ’tis said.Joseph, the youthful ruler, cast forth wheat,That haply, floating to his father’s feet,–The sad old father, who believed him dead,–It might be sign in Egypt there was bread;And thus the patriarch, past the desert sandsAnd scant oasis fringed with thirsty green,Be lured toward the love that yearned unseen.So, [...]
Dry leaves upon the wall,Which flap like rustling wings and seek escape,A single frosted cluster on the grapeStill hangs–and that is all.
It hangs forgotten quite,–Forgotten in the purple vintage-day,Left for the sharp and cruel frosts to slay,The daggers of the night.
It knew the thrill of spring;It had its blossom-time, its perfumed noons;Its pale-green spheres were [...]
This is the street and the dwelling,Let me count the houses o’er;Yes,–one, two, three from the corner,And the house that I love makes four.
That is the very windowWhere I used to see her headBent over book or needle,With ivy garlanded.
And the very loop of the curtain,And the very curve of the vine,Were full of the [...]
A STORY OF OLD FLORENCE.
So it is come! The doctor’s glossy smileDeceives me not. I saw him shake his head,Whispering, and heard poor Giulia sob without,As, slowly creaking, he went down the stair.Were they afraid that I should be afraid?I, who had died once and been laid in tomb?They need not.
Little one, look not so [...]
Darlings of June and brides of summer sun,Chill pipes the stormy wind, the skies are drear;Dull and despoiled the gardens every one:What do you here?
We looked to see your gracious blooms ariseMid soft and wooing airs in gardens green,Where venturesome brown bees and butterfliesShould hail you queen.
Here is no bee nor glancing butterfly;They fled on [...]
If I were told that I must die to-morrow,That the next sunWhich sinks should bear me past all fear and sorrowFor any one,All the fight fought, all the short journey through:What should I do?
I do not think that I should shrink or falter,But just go on,Doing my work, nor change, nor seek to alterAught that [...]
The punctual tide draws up the bay,With ripple of wave and hiss of spray,And the great red flower of the light-house towerBlooms on the headland far away.
Petal by petal its fiery roseOut of the darkness buds and grows;A dazzling shape on the dim, far cape,A beckoning shape as it comes and goes.
A moment of bloom, [...]
She stood among the liliesIn sunset’s brightest ray,Among the tall June lilies,As stately fair as they;And I, a boyish lover then,Looked once, and, lingering, looked again,And life began that day.
She sat among the lilies,My sweet, all lily-pale;The summer lilies listened,I whispered low my tale.O golden anthers, breathing balm,O hush of peace, O twilight calm,Did you [...]
“Do their errands; enter into the sacrifice with them; be a link yourself in the divine chain, and feel the joy and life of it.”–ADELINE D. T. WHITNEY
What can I do for thee, Beloved,Whose feet so little while agoTrod the same way-side dust with mine,And now up paths I do not knowSpeed, without sound or [...]
A little, rudely sculptured bed,With shadowing folds of marble lace,And quilt of marble, primly spreadAnd folded round a baby’s face.
Smoothly the mimic coverlet,With royal blazonries bedight,Hangs, as by tender fingers setAnd straightened for the last good-night.
And traced upon the pillowing stoneA dent is seen, as if to blessThe quiet sleep some grieving oneHad leaned, and [...]
Love me for what I am, Love. Not for sakeOf some imagined thing which I might be,Some brightness or some goodness not in me,Born of your hope, as dawn to eyes that wakeImagined morns before the morning break.If I, to please you (whom I fain would please),Reset myself like new key to old tune,Chained thought, [...]
Nourished by peaceful suns and gracious dew,Your sweet youth budded and your sweet lives grew,And all the world seemed rose-beset for you.
The rose of beauty was your mutual dower,The stainless rose of love, an early flower,The stately blooms of ease and wealth and power.
And treading thus on pathways flower-bestrewn,It well might be, that, cold and [...]