Fringed gentian

Elaine Goodale Eastman (1863 - 1953)

from All Round the Year, Verses from Sky Farm


Along this quiet wood-road, winding slow,
When free October ranged its sylvan ways,
And, vaulting up the terraced steep below,
Chased laughing sunbeams thro’ the golden days,
In matchless beauty, tender and serene,
The gentian reigned, an undisputed queen.

One sudden break, half down the lengthening shade,
Revealed a dark-rimmed circle, still and lone, -
Her presence filled that sun-illumined glade,
She made the enchanted solitude her own;
The heavens above their watch eternal kept,
And, steeped in light, the embracing woodland slept.

Pale knots of grasses fringed the open space,
Her lifted cups passed lightly thro’ and thro’, -
Each chalice molded in divinest grace.
Each brimmed with pure, intense and perfect blue;
Alone, and spotless in her virgin fame,
Her life upheld the year’s immortal claim.