Katharine Lee Bates

Aug. 12, 1859 - Mar. 28, 1929


The Changing Road

by Katharine Lee Bates

Beneath the softly falling snow
The wood whose shy anemones
We plucked such little while ago
Becomes a wood of Christmas trees.

Our paths of rustling silken grass
Will soon be ermine bands of white
Spotted with tiny steps that pass
On silent errands in the night.

The river will be locked in hush
But frosted like a fairy lawn
With knots of crystal flowers that flush
By moonlight, blanching in the dawn.

Flown are our minstrels, golden-wing
And rosy-breast and ruby-throat,
But all the pines are murmuring
A sweet, orchestral under-note.

So trustfully our hands we lay
Within the old, kind hands of Time,
Who holds on his mysterious way
From rime to bloom, from bloom to rime,

And lets us run beside his knee
O'er rough and smooth, and touch his load,
And play we bear the burden, we,
And revel in the changing road,

Till ivory dawn and purple noon
And dove-grey eve have one by one
Traced on the skies their ancient rune,
And all our little strength is done.

Then Time shall lift a starry torch
In signal to his gentle Twin,
Who, stooping from a shining porch,
Gathers the drowsy children in.

I wonder if, through that strange sleep
Unstirred by clock or silver chime,
Our dreams will not the cadence keep
Of those unresting feet of Time,

And follow on his beauteous path
From snow to flowers, from flowers to snow,
And marvel what high charge he hath,
Whither the fearless footsteps go.


Yellow Clover: A Book Of Remembrance
Copyright 1922
E. P. Dutton & Company, New York