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MCCLELLAN, George Marion


A September Night

The full September moon sheds floods of light,

And all the bayou's face is gemmed with stars

Save where are dropped fantastic shadows down

From sycamores and moss-hung cypress trees.

With slumberous sound the waters half asleep

Creep on and on their way, twixt rankish reeds,

Through marsh and lowlands stretching to the gulf.

Begirt with cotton fields Anguilla sits

Half bird-like dreaming on her summer nest

Amid her spreading figs, and roses still

In bloom with all their spring and summer hues.

Pomegranates hang with dapple cheeks full ripe,

And over all the town a dreamy haze

Drops down. The great plantations stretching far

Away are plains of cotton downy white.

O, glorious is this night of joyous sounds

Too full for sleep. Aromas wild and sweet,

From muscadine, late blooming jessamine,

And roses, all the heavy air suffuse.

Faint bellows from the alligators come

From swamps afar, where sluggish lagoons give

To them a peaceful home. The katydids

Make ceaseless cries. Ten thousand insects' wings

Stir in the moonlight haze and joyous shouts

Of Negro song and mirth awake hard by

The cabin dance. O, glorious is this night.

The summer sweetness fills my heart with songs

I cannot sing, with loves I cannot speak.


A Butterfly in Church

What dost thou here, thou shining, sinless thing,

With many colored hues and shapely wing?

Why quit the open field and summer air

To flutter here? Thou hast no need of prayer.


'Tis meet that we, who this great structure built,

Should come to be redeemed and washed from guilt,

For we this gilded edifice within

Are come, with erring hearts and stains of sin.


But thou art free from guilt as God on high;

Go, seek the blooming waste and open sky,

And leave us here our secret woes to bear,

Confessionals and agonies of prayer.


A January Dandelion


All Nashville is a chill. And everywhere

Like desert sand, when the winds blow,

There is each moment sifted through the air,

A powdered blast of January snow.

O! thoughtless Dandelion, to be misled

By a few warm days to leave thy natural bed,

Was folly growth and blooming over soon.

And yet, thou blasted yellow-coated gem,

Full many a heart has but a common boon

With thee, now freezing on thy slender stem.

When the heart has bloomed by the touch of love's warm breath

Then left and chilling snow is sifted in,

It still may beat but there is blast and death

To all that blooming life that might have been.