In The Seed

You have chosen coldly to cast away
The love they tell you is faithless found.
Pity or trust it is vain to pray–
Your heart they have hardened, your senses bound.
You have broken the wreaths that clasped you round,
The strength of the vine and the opening flower:
Love, torn and trampled on stony ground,
Is left to die in its blossom hour.

Well, go your ways; but, wherever they lead,
They can not leave me wholly behind.
From the flower, as it falls, there falls a seed
Whose roots round the roots of life shall wind.
So sure as the soul in the flesh is shrined,
So sure as the fire in the cloud is set,
Be you ever so cold or ever so blind,
You shall find and fathom and feel me yet.

As the germ of a tree in the close dark earth
Struggles for life in its breathless tomb,
Quickening painfully into birth,
Writhing its way up to light and room;
As it spreads its growth till the great boughs loom
A shade and a greenness wide and high,
And the birds sing under the myriad bloom,
And the top looks into the infinite sky;

So shall it be with the love to-day
Flung under your feet as a worthless thing.
The hour and the spot I can not say
Where the seed, fate-sown, at last shall spring:
Beyond, it may be, the narrow ring
Of our little world in swarming space,
After weary length of journeying,
It shall drop from the wind to its destined place.

But somewhere, I know, it shall reach its height!
Sometime it shall conquer this cruel wrong!
The sun by day, and the moon by night,
Shower and season, shall bear it along.
You will sleep and wake while it waxes strong
And green beside the appointed ways,
Till, full of blossom and dew and song,
You shall find it there after many days.

Perchance it shall be amid long despair
Of toiling over the desert sand;
When your eyes are burned by the level glare,
And the staff is fire to your bleeding hand.
Then the waving of boughs in a silent land,
And a wonder of green afar shall spread,
And your feet as under a tent shall stand,
With shadow and sweetness about your head;

And my soul, like the unseen scent of the flower,
Shall circle the heights and the depths of the tree:
Nothing of all in that consummate hour
That shall not come as part of me!
This world or that may my triumph see–
But love and life can never be twain,
And time as a breath of the wind shall be,
When we meet and grow together again!

Kate Putnam Osgood

Source: Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, December 1872

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