My Garden

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I could put my woods in song And tell what's there enjoyed, All men would to my gardens throng, And leave the cities void. In my plot no tulips blow,-- Snow-loving pines and oaks instead; And rank the savage maples grow From Spring's faint flush to Autumn red. My garden is a forest ledge Which older forests bound; The banks slope down to the blue lake-edge, Then plunge to depths profound. Here once the Deluge ploughed, Laid the terraces, one by one; Ebbing later whence it flowed, They bleach and dry in the sun. The sowers made haste to depart,-- The wind and the birds which sowed it; Not for fame, nor by rules of art, Planted these, and tempests flowed it. Waters that wash my garden-side Play not in Nature's lawful web, They heed not moon or solar tide,-- Five years elapse from flood to ebb. Hither hasted, in old time, Jove, And every god,--none did refuse; And be sure at last came Love, And after Love, the Muse. Keen ears can catch a syllable, As if one spake to another, In the hemlocks tall, untamable, And what the whispering grasses smother. ├ćolian harps in the pine Ring with the song of the Fates; Infant Bacchus in the vine,-- Far distant yet his chorus waits. Canst thou copy in verse one chime Of the wood-bell's peal and cry, Write in a book the morning's prime, Or match with words that tender sky? Wonderful verse of the gods, Of one import, of varied tone; They chant the bliss of their abodes To man imprisoned in his own. Ever the words of the gods resound; But the porches of man's ear Seldom in this low life's round Are unsealed, that he may hear. Wandering voices in the air And murmurs in the wold Speak what I cannot declare, Yet cannot all withhold. When the shadow fell on the lake, The whirlwind in ripples wrote Air-bells of fortune that shine and break, And omens above thought. But the meanings cleave to the lake, Cannot be carried in book or urn; Go thy ways now, come later back, On waves and hedges still they burn. These the fates of men forecast, Of better men than live to-day; If who can read them comes at last He will spell in the sculpture,'Stay.'