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Kowhai Gold

[David McKee Wright]

page 126

The Kissing of Pegeen
In the valley of little red trees
The grey dogs were hunting the hare;
With the kirtle of green to her knees
Came the fairy Pegeen to me there;
With the hare running under the trees
Pegeen made a song to me there.

Yellow girls, with the sun on their feet,
Ran in and out of the wood;
Sure, the air with their voices was sweet
Around the green place where I stood—
Och, the grass in the toes of their feet
Was green with a laugh where they stood.

Pegeen, fairy girl, she could sing
Till the daffodils stept to the tune,
And a thorn-tree, in bud at the Spring,
Let up a clean leaf to the noon.
Pegeen, fairy girl, it was Spring,
And the sun was just warm at the noon.

Och! dimples she had to be sure,
With her hair like the wing of a crow,
And the white of her neck was a cure
For a heart that was beating too slow—
Och, Pegeen, fairy girl!  To be sure,
Mine couldn't be beating too slow.

'Twas the laugh of the girls in the sun,
'Twas the green on the lap of the world,
page 127 'Twas the way my wits fluttered and spun,
'Twas the way that her eyelashes curled
Made me mad for a kiss in the sun,
Where her lips at the corner were curled.

Pegeen, fairy girl, she could dance;
'Twas not easy to come at her waist.
Och! she puckered my soul with her glance,
But her lips had a wonderful taste;
Sure, the fairy girl led me a dance
Till I caught her pink mouth for a taste.

There's a fairy path over the hill,
There's a fairy bridge over the stream;
'Twas her song that was leading me still
And I went like a man in a dream.…
There were little red trees on the hill,
And the end of the road was a dream.

Sure, I dreamt like a little brown hare,
'Twas me that the grey dogs would chase.
Och, fur is too handy to wear!
Give me back the red kiss on my face!
Pegeen, I'm a little brown hare,
Och, give a man back his poor face!

Yellow girls, with the sun on their feet,
Run in and out of the wood.
Troth, the sound of their voices is sweet,
And the swish of their kirtles is good.…
There are little black toes on my feet,
And to stop the grey dogs would be good.

page 128

The Singers
We shall walk daintily in later dew
On sweet, far mornings speaking these grave words,
Wearing worn silver on our garments blue
While Spring is full of nests and cheeping birds.

And when the clocks chime on and hearts forget,
We shall be very still, as are the wise,
Nursing the dreams that make us fairer yet
For the wide wondering of newer eyes.

Above our heads shall soar large roof and dome,
Long windows flaking colour through the gloom,
Where the great music has its silent home
And rich old bindings in the shadows bloom.

But we shall rise and go away, away
Down happy meadows to the calling seas,
And speak all moments of the yellow day
Or sing to moonlight in the lisping trees.

Leaves rustle brownly in the autumn wind.
All books shall fade.  But in a realm apart,
We shall go fearlessly through all the blind,
Green places of the ever-singing heart.

And we shall hear and know, too glad for pride,
The hot, sweet words our rebel dreamings hurled
Against cold Thought's despair come as a tide
Flooding across the evening of the world.