John G. Neihardt: Ballad of a Child

Ballad of a Child

John G. Neihardt

Yearly thrilled the plum tree With the mother-mood; Every June the rose stock Bore her wonder-child: Every year the wheatlands Reared a golden brood: World of praying Rachaels, Heard and reconciled!
"Poet," said the plum tree's Singing white and green, "What avails your mooning, Can you fashion plums?" "Dreamer," crooned the wheatland's Rippling vocal sheen, "See my golden children Marching as with drums!"
"By a god begotten," Hymned the sunning vine, "In my lyric children Purple music flows!" "Singer," breathed the rose bush, "Are they not divine?" "Have you any daughters Mighty as a rose?"
Happy, happy mothers! Cruel, cruel words! Mine are ghostly children, Haunting all the ways; Latent in the plum bloom, Calling through the birds, Romping with the wheat brood In their shadow plays!
Gotten out of star-glint, Mothered of the Moon; Nurtured with the rose scent, Wild elusive throng! Something of the vine's dream Crept into a tune; Something of the wheat-drone Echoed in a song.
Once again the white fires Smoked among the plums; Once again the world-joy Burst the crimson bud; Golden-bannered wheat broods Marched to fairy drums; Once again the vineyard Felt the Bacchic blood.
"Lo, he comes, — the dreamer" — Crooned the whitened boughs, "Quick with vernal love-fires — Oh, at last he knows! See the bursting plum bloom There above his brows!" "Boaster!" breathed the rose bush, "'Tis a budding rose!"
Droned the glinting acres, "In his soul, mayhap, Something like a wheat-dream Quickens into shape!" Sang the sunning vineyard, "Lo, the lyric sap Sets his heart a-throbbing Like a purple grape!"
Mother of the wheatlands, Mother of the plums, Mother of the vineyard — All that loves and grows — Such a living glory To the dreamer comes, Mystic as a wheat-song, Mighty as a rose!
Star-glint, moon-glow, Gathered in a mesh! Spring-hope, white fire By a kiss beguiled! Something of the world-joy Dreaming into flesh! Bird-song, vine-thrill Quickened to a child!