Wild Clematis

by Dora Read Goodale (1866 - 1915)

from All Round the Year, Verses from Sky Farm


Where the woodland streamlets flow,
Gushing down a rocky bed,
Where the tasseled alders grow,
Lightly meeting over head,
When the fullest August days,
Give the richness what they know,
Then the wild clematis comes,
With her wealth of tangled blooms,
Reaching up and drooping low.

And her fresh leaves only shade
That which is within her bower,
Like a curtain, lightly made,
Half to hide her virgin flower;
None too close to let the wind
Find a place to breathe between,
Where the wild bee cannot miss
All the sweetness that there is,
Underneath her tent of green.

And the sunlight flickers in,
So to touch her maiden breast;
And between her twists of vine
Sings the woodbird to his nest;
And the air is wondrous sweet,
And the twilight lingers long, -
And the young birds learn to fly
In among her greenery,
And she hears their earlist song.

But when Autumn days are here,
And the woods of Autumn burn,
Then her leaves are black and sere
Quick with early frosts to turn!
As the golden Summer dies,
So her silky green has fled,
And the smoky clusters rise
As from fires of sacrifice,
Sacred incense to the dead!

Notes: Wild Clematis is known in the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden by it's other common name - Virgin's Bower. Click the link for photos and details.