The Loom of Life Part 9

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The Loom of Life is a Webnovel created by Cotton Noe.
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Cheap wits don’t make no noise ‘Bout Wes, ’cause he destroys Their wisdom, which annoys The humorist, more or less.

Unless your jokes ‘ll fit You’d best reserve your wit, And entirely omit, ‘Fore Perkins, boys call Wes.

THE FIRST MESS OF GREENS

You may boast of landscapes golden With the harvest’s ripenin’ grain, Or of Autumn pensive foldin, All her flowers to sleep again; But to me the woods a-ringin’

With the notes of happy birds When the April buds is springin’

Is a song too sweet for words: And the beautifullest, since you ask it, In art or nature’s scenes, Is Kate with knife and basket, A-getherin’ of greens.

It pears to lift the veil of years And opens up to view, A scene that brings me soothin’ tears As sweet as tender dew To gra.s.s that suns have withered dry: I can see her jist as plain, Though Father Time has dimmed my eye, And ricollect the pain, I suffered while she paused a-thinkin’

What such an answer means; And the “Stay and help us, John,” a-winkin’

“Eat our first mess of greens.”

I’ve heard my neighbor Johnson say His choice was chicken pie; And Perkins lows he likes to stay His stomach with a fry: And Jones, he says, says he, “I think Good old Kentucky rye Suits me the best; give me a drink, Whenever I am dry.”

But I have never tasted meat, Nor cabbage, corn nor beans, Nor fluid food one half as sweet As that first mess of greens.

It’s not the pictur’ near as much As the thoughts that gethers round, That always gives the paintin’ such Distinction and renown.

There’s nothin’ in a gra.s.sy knoll So beautiful to see, And yit I think within my soul It beats a flowery lea.

And oh, I’d git _Munkasket_, If I only had the means, To paint me Kate with basket A-getherin’ of greens.

WES BANKS

Wes Banks, you know, he teaches school, Has teached for nigh on forty year, And I jist want to say right here, That though he may not fit your rule, Wes Banks, by jings, he ain’t no fool.

And if you bet your dough ‘gin Wes, You’ll want your money back, I guess.

Wes Banks, he never wears a tie– Them things, you know, some call cravats, Nor collar neither, and jist that’s The very tarnal reason why I bet on Wes, and that’s no lie: No man can lead Wes by the nose If he don’t wear the latest clothes.

Wes Banks, you know, I’m speakin’ uv: He lives way out on old Line Fork, As good a place as in New York; Out where the birds sing lays of love, The wren, the thrush, the turtle dove– Sometimes, it seems, because of Wes, Who loves their music, more or less.

Wes claims that now for forty year He has prescribed strong peachtree tea For cusses, which he says that he Could not intrest except by fear: Wes makes this claim while standing here Before his boys now teaching school, Who can’t remember such a rule.

Now Wes, he’s awful in his speech: He says I “seed” and “done” and “haint,”

And lots of things that’s wrong and quaint; But many’s them who pray and preach And go to school and learn to teach And wear a darned sight better clothes, Still never learn what Wesly knows.

Well, Wes ain’t much at inst.i.tutes; Don’t like to make a public talk, And demonstrate with board and chalk.

No, he ain’t much on sich disputes; But Wes at school gits down and roots: Up here Wes Banks is jist a wag, With striped candy in a bag.

Old Wes is poor as money goes, But rich in love and charity; His heart goes out in sympathy To barefoot boy with bleeding toes, And girls in torn and tattered clothes; And with his heart goes Wes’s coin, To heal the wound and gird the loin.

And this is why tonight I rise To speak how Wesly Bank’s life Through forty years of schoolroom strife By living truth has conquered lies, And made his students good and wise: You can’t size Wes by looks or speech, No more than some by what they preach.

PHILOSOPHY AT A BANQUET

Old Socrates who thought he knew A philosophic thing or two, Believed that man was made to walk Or lounge about the streets and talk Of life and death and virtues true, And what a fellow ought to do; While poor Xantippe, so I’m told, Remained at home to drudge and scold.

But Epicurus seemed to think That man was made to eat and drink, A doctrine quite as orthodox, I sometimes think, as old man Soc’s; For what philosophy’s complete That can not take an hour to eat?

I like old Socry, to be sure, But here I’m just an Epicure.

ANENT HALLEY’S COMET

Oh, how sick of Halley’s comet!

Almost makes me want to vomit.

Can’t pick up a magazine, Halley’s comet isn’t seen.

When the weary day is done, Still no peace unless you shun Every living soul you meet Talking comet on the street.

Should you occupy the pews, See the Hipp or read the news, Fall asleep and chance to dream, Halley’s comet still the theme.

Dust to-day got in my eye,– Halley’s comet pa.s.sing by.

Both the sense of sound and sight, Suffering from this comet’s blight.

When the days were hot and dry, Halley’s comet in the sky.

All through April frost and rain, Halley’s comet raising Cain.

Whoso seeks for faith or knowledge Goes to church or enters college, Hears naught else but this discussed.– Shooting stars and comet dust.

Taft and Teddy’s well be dead, Like Old England’s monarch _Ed_,– Just as well as be forgot Midst this meteoric rot.

Automobile pa.s.ses by, Like a comet in the sky.

Leaving in its awful trail, Wreaths of smoke just like a tail; See a fellow sniff the air, Stop, turn pale, and trembling, swear: “Wonder now has science lied?

That gas smells like cyanide.”

Learned, ign’rant, rich and poor, All are full of comet lore.

Life had charms that once were sweet; Earth, hast now no safe retreat?

If this talk will not abate, Lord, I pray this be our fate; May this globe dissolve or fail, Pa.s.sing through the comet’s tail!

The Loom of Life Part 5

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The Loom of Life is a Webnovel created by Cotton Noe.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

Helen of Troy thy face was fair, And fair thy radiant golden hair, Thy form, in every molded part, But not thy false and fickle heart, Helen of Troy.

Betrayed by Aphrodite’s wiles, Oenone’s life lost all its smiles, And tasted sorrow to the lees, When Paris sailed for sunset seas, Where reigned the queen of all the isles.

Thy beauty, poignant as a dart, Drave G.o.d-like men to wild despair, And lit the skies with lurid glare But oh, thy false and fickle heart, Helen of Troy!

COW BELLS

Oh, the distant m.u.f.fled tinkling Of the cow bells in the vale, When the dawning stars are twinkling And the silent dews are sprinkling Fresh the daisies in the dale.

How they flood the soul with music Sad as song of nightingale– Tinkling melodies of magic, Vague, uncertain, longing, tragic,– Just the cow bells in the vale!

HOLLYHOCKS

It may not be quite orthodox To say so in society, And yet I think the hollyhocks, Of every known variety, That bloom and bless the humble home, Are sisters sweet of charity,– Fair nuns that wear a beauteous cowl,– G.o.d’s priestesses unto the soul That lives in righteous poverty.

BURNS

_Acrostic_

Warm-heated bard, in thee I find Infinite soul, irradiant mind; Long-suffering worth and love refined Lent thee their ken.

In Robert Burns the heart enshrined E’en mice and men.

ROBERT LOVEMAN

He knows Will Shakespeare’s human heart And feels his G.o.dlike brain; And sings his soul a kindred part In rondeau and quatrain.

BOOKS

‘Tis early morn and on the green The children are at play; The sunlight falls in sparkling sheen, Their hearts are blithe and gay: A shadow flits across the scene– The hour has come that sadness brings, The master rings, the master rings, ‘Tis books!

‘Tis late at eve, and o’er the green The weary toilers pa.s.s; The shadows fall, the sky’s serene, And dew is on the gra.s.s: A light breaks in upon the scene– The hour has come that gladness brings, The Master rings, the Master rings, ‘Tis books!

SONGS UNSUNG

Unvoic-ed songs that always die On the strings of the harp that gives them birth, The flutter of hope, a breath, a sigh, The song nor asks nor gives a why– The poet’s song he deems most worth.

The silent music of the heart is sweet To listen to. The slow and measured beat Of the imprisoned soul that finds a voice In melodious sound oft may rejoice Us much; but that which sometimes plays on strings Too fine to sympathize with words e’er sings The sweetest melodies, though never heard Except by ear of him whose soul is stirred.

THE RAINBOW’S END

In childhood’s fairy hour I watched a bow The t.i.tian Sun had painted in the skies, And marveled at its wondrous hues and dyes And held my breath in silence at its glow; “The hand of G.o.d,” I cried, “Divine, I know!”

And at the thought the tears stood in my eyes.

But when I heard that awful pack of lies About the pot of gold, I said, “‘S that so!”

LINEN AND LACE

DOWN LOVER’S LANE

Down Lover’s Lane the creamy spray Of elder blooms enchants the way, And dappled shadows sport and play, Down Lover’s Lane!

Here happy redbirds glint and gloom, The wildrose sheds a sweet perfume, But death oft lurks in leaf and bloom, Down Lover’s Lane!

BENEATH THE CHESTNUT TREE

Long years ago in childhood’s hour.

Beneath an old Beech Tree, A sweeter and a daintier flower Than ever graced a lea, Unfolded all its beauteous bloom And shed its rich and rare perfume Alone, alone for me.

The dewdrop sparkling on the rose Is fresh and fair to see; I love the lily when it blows And rocks the cradled bee; But fairer than the diamond dew Or lily, was the flower that grew Beneath the old Beech Tree.

The Loom of Life Part 2

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The Loom of Life is a Webnovel created by Cotton Noe.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

BLIND TOM

Oh, happy, sad, mysterious, wondrous soul!

Imprisoned in a living dungeon deep The fates have bound thee; but they can not keep For ay that spirit in their dark control Who hear’st the music of the spheres that roll Through silent time; those beauteous…o…b.. that sweep Through s.p.a.ce and glitter in the boundless deep, Will yet thy blind, benighted life console.

What sin didst thou commit, or whom offend?

That doomed thee to a carnal cell so gross That scarce a hint of what thou really art Has ever reached the world,–who couldst transcend In matchless music, purged of all thy dross, The great Beethoven or divine Mozart.

A SONNET OF THE SEASON

The carol in my heart I send to you: It comes from out the depths of brooding time To cheer and bless in every place and clime; To purge the false, to chasten and subdue; To lift the drooping life, inspire the true To n.o.bler deeds and thoughts of love sublime.

This anthem–which I sing in sonnet rhyme– Judean shepherds heard and angels knew!

And now we fear no longer war’s alarms, For red-eyed Mars has fled at last our home: Christ took the little children in his arms And blessed them, saying, Suffer them to come To me that all the sons of men may find My kingdom here within the child-like mind.

EUTERPE

O lyric muse, thou didst not tune alone The lyre that loving Orpheus smote With subtle touch, who struck the golden note That pierced dread Pluto’s heart of stone, And won again Eurydice his own; Nor yet Erate’s lute, nor Sappho’s throat That thrilled the ear in Grecian isles remote, Where Homer sang, and Art had built her throne: But thou, Euterpe, touched blind Milton’s tongue, And swept the thousand chords of Shakespeare’s soul; Woke Byron from his hours of idle dream, And then he sang mankind a deathless song.

But thou at last didst reach the lyric goal Of art in Tennyson’s immortal theme.

SCARLET DAYS

_To F. W. B. Family_

Those scarlet days come back to me to-night Across the span of many happy years– Dreams, haunted by the music of the spheres, And glowing skies of gold and chrysolite.

The world of science bursting on my sight, And words of wisdom falling on my ears, The rhythmic thought of poets, priests, and seers, Wrought in my life a spell of wild delight.

Not all: three figures–Faith and Hope and Love– I see them still through years of mist and haze– Hope crowned with light, and Faith of G.o.dly ken; And Love was like a meek unconscious dove.

Dear G.o.d, although I count those scarlet days, To-night I would not have them back again.

HER EYES ARE BROWN

Her eyes are brown, oh, Edith’s eyes are brown!

I will not boast the midnight of her hair, Nor yet because her radiant cheek is fair, And like the touch of autumn’s thistle down; I will not swear I have not seen her frown; She may be rich and proud and debonair, For aught I know, I’m sure I do not care: But oh, her eyes, her eyes are Edith’s crown!

I’ve gazed upon the stars of northern skies And breathed the perfume of the southern breeze; I’ve listened to the boom of far-off seas On mystic sh.o.r.es; I’ve seen the full moon rise Through branch and bloom of old magnolia trees!

There’s nothing like the thrill of Edith’s eyes!

THE NATURALIST

The shouts of happy boys he does not hear, Nor knows that wretched men must toil for bread; The tragedy of life he has not read, Or deems it but the comedy of fear: He never lifts his eyes above the ground To gaze upon the glittering world of stars; The poet’s richest music only mars The rasping of the locust’s strident sound.

And yet I’ve never seen a wilder light Glow in the beauteous eyes of dawning love, Than flashes from this strange man’s soul at sight Of some rare flower he finds in mountain cove: Mere fungus, or the poisonous, dank mushroom, Enchants him more than rich magnolia bloom!

DEDICATION

_(To H. H. T.)_

O soul responsive to the subtlest thought That flashes o’er the mind’s electric wire, Or ever swept the strings of fancy’s lyre To music learned in schools where Shakespeare taught: O thou who knowest the springs whence Sappho caught Love’s br.i.m.m.i.n.g cup that did her song inspire, Yet dost my plain, unlettered muse admire, Who lived in better days when maidens wrought–

To thee, I dedicate my fondest rhymes In memory of happy days of yore, Together on the c.u.mberland, where Ruth, The charming rustic maid of olden times First won our love, less for her lack of lore, Than for her sweet simplicity and truth.

NEARING THE MERIDIAN

_(To M. E. W.)_

I dream to-night of happy childhood days; I see two humble homes and thrill with joy; The years come back when I was but a boy, And you had ringlets for the G.o.ds to praise: The old Old Swing, the fields of golden maize; The moving pictures in the clouds above; The mating birds, their nests, their songs of love– All this, dear Lord, through years of mist and haze!

And then I turn and look beyond the Shade, And those who wrought for us are waiting there: Our mothers with their crowns of silver hair, And radiant smiles of love that will not fade; Our fathers with the keys to all the creeds Are there still strong in faith and pure in deeds.

OUR PILGRIMAGE

_(To the Canterbury Club)_

The merry band that started long ago Upon their journey to a-Becket’s shrine, Were happy that a poet’s pen divine Inspired by all a genial wit can know, Or sympathetic human heart bestow, Recorded in immortal rhythmic line, As sweet as breath of old Provencal wine, Their pilgrim tales and songs of joy and woe.

We start to-night upon our pilgrimage, Who worship at a holier shrine than they– The living temple of the sacred muse: May she who is our patron saint infuse, Illume our souls; and raise some Pen, I pray, To leave the world a n.o.ble heritage.

The Loom of Life Part 1

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The Loom of Life is a Webnovel created by Cotton Noe.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

The Loom of Life.

by Cotton Noe.

A SKEIN OF SILVER

THE OLD-FASHIONED LOOM

The old log house where Margaret lived, whose roof had mossy grown, Reposed amid its clump of trees, a queen upon her throne.

The landscape round smiled proudly and the flowers shed sweet perfume, When Margaret plied the shuttle of the rude old-fashioned loom.

The world has grown fastidious–demands things ever new– But we could once see beauties in the rainbow’s every hue; The bee could then find nectar in a common clover bloom, And simple hearts hear music in the shuttle of the loom.

The picture that my memory paints is never seen to-day– The April sun of by-gone years has lost its brightest ray: A fancy-wrought piano in a quaint, antique old room, But Margaret sang her sweetest to the music of the loom.

She wore a simple home-spun dress, for Margaret’s taste was plain, Yet life was like a song to her, with work a sweet refrain.

The sunshine filled her days with joy, night’s shadows brought no gloom.

When Margaret plied the shuttle of the old old-fashioned loom.

Her warp of life was toiling hard, but love its beauteous woof.

The web she wove, a character beyond the world’s reproof.

O girls of wealth and beauty vain, who dress in rich costume, How sweet the shuttle’s music of this rare old-fashioned loom.

The world may grow fastidious in art and nature too, And say there is no beauty in the rainbow’s every hue; And yet the bee finds nectar in a common clover bloom, And I still love the music of the old old-fashioned loom.

THE OLD OLD CLOCK

Dear old Old Clock, thy grave tick tock I heard in my childhood days, In the solemn night, when the fire burned bright, And the lamp cast feeble rays; When grandmother close by the mantelpiece, Sat dozing or knitting, or carding fleece, Or watching the dying blaze; When mother was young and her beautiful hair Had never a silver thread; When her life was fair as her love was rare, In the years that have swiftly sped.

Thy grave tick tock, dear old Old Clock, Unchanged through the changing years, Still beating time in a ceaseless rhyme To the dirge of the rolling spheres,– Unmindful that she by the mantelpiece Is gone with her knitting and carding fleece,– Unmoved by our sorrowing tears– Brings back the days when mother’s hair Had never a silver thread, And the life still fair in its beauty rare When the snows had crowned her head.

THE OLD SPINNING WHEEL

A cabin! It nestled amid the green hills Where grew no bramble or thistle,– Mid meadows melodious with music and trills And song that the wild-throated mocking bird spills On the air from his marvelous whistle.

No carpets were seen on the broad puncheon floors, No paintings that wealth would reveal; But a statue was there that Art can not know, That filled the rude room with a musical glow,– ‘Twas Ruth at the Old Spinning Wheel!

Long years have pa.s.sed by; its music was stilled At rattle and whirr of machinery.

And the pea-fowl now screams where the mocking bird trilled, And the landscape is dead where once the heart thrilled At wildwood and picturesque scenery.

The opera may boast the diva of song, To me she makes no appeal; To flute obligato my heart is still dumb, But oh! for the song and musical hum Of Ruth and the Old Spinning Wheel!

She lived but a simple, plain rustic life, Yet charming in sooth was her beauty.

In her untutored heart was love ever rife, The seat of no conflict, no struggle or strife ‘Twixt a selfish will and duty.

I bow at her altar of beauty and truth, At the shrine of her heart do I kneel, With a prayer no mortal ever lifted above, Till my soul is atune with the music of love She sings to the Old Spinning Wheel!

This unlettered maiden was poor, but high-bred, Oh, women of fashion far above you!

And I thrilled at the graceful poise of her head And the radiant smile of my love when she said, “Why James, you know that I love you.”

Nymph-like her lithe form swayed as in dance, I awkwardly sat at the reel– A moment’s surcease of monotonous thrum,– Melodious the lull in the song and the hum Of Ruth and the Old Spinning Wheel!

The glow of the incandescent light Has banished the tallow candle; And the ox-cart is gone at steam’s rapid flight, But Love is too subtle, is too recondite For Learning or Genius to handle.

All honor to Science, let her keep her mad pace, I abate not a t.i.ttle her zeal; But the splendors of life can never efface The picture of Ruth in plain rustic grace Who wrought at the Old Spinning Wheel!

THE OLD WATER MILL

‘Twas grinding day at the Old Water Mill, But holiday with me, For I knew ere I reached the foot of the hill And heard the voice of the happy rill, The miller’s beautiful child was there That wore the tresses of sun-lit hair And smile of witchery; And the twittering swallows awhirl in the air, Told in their ecstacy That Rachel, the Golden Daffodil, Was blooming again by the Old Water Mill.

Together we cross the moss-covered log That spans the old mill race, And we hear through the mists and rising fog The boom of the dam, the croak of the frog, That wakes, on the banks of the glinting stream, The violet tranced in her winter dream, Where lights and shadows lace; And the cowslip, like the meteor’s gleam, Darts from her hiding-place, While the cataracts leap in their haste to fill The floats of the wheel at the Old Water Mill.

We sit by the dam of the placid stream And watch the whirl and churn Of the pouring floods that bubble and steam And glitter and flash in the bright sunbeam, While steadily rolls the dripping wheel That slowly grinds the farmers’ meal, Who restless wait their turn; But the lights in the miller’s face reveal Never the least concern, Who takes his toll, and whistles until The hopper is drained at the Old Water Mill.

To-day we pa.s.sed where the Old Water Mill Had stood in the long ago, But the cataracts leap no more on the hill, And the boom of the roaring dam is still, For the gleaming stream in its grief went dry, When the ruthless hand of Art pa.s.sed by And laid the Old Mill low; And the violets, cold in death, now lie Wrapped in the glistening snow; And the biting air is crisp and chill Around the ruins of the Old Water Mill.

And now we sit by the River of Time And gaze at the waves below, But its brink is covered by frost and rime, And we hear on the wind a m.u.f.fled chime Proclaiming the end of a brief sojourn: Yet the floods of life still whirl and churn As the currents ebb and flow:– By the rolling wheel we wait our turn Calm, but ready to go!

The hopper is drained, but unmoved still, The Miller who grinds in Time’s Water Mill.

WATERLOO

A meeting-house, no church at all, With stained cathedral gla.s.s, With lofty spire and arching hall, And terraced lawns of gra.s.s: No organ peals, no chanting choir, No frescoed walls that men admire Had this old meeting-house; But roses wild their petals piled About its sacred door, And locust bloom shed rich perfume, Upon the air, galore, Around the meeting-house.

It stood upon a limpid stream My childhood thought divine, Whose waters pure did ever gleam Like shimmering shine of wine; It stood, alas! but stands no more Upon the bank or pebbly sh.o.r.e Of sunny Pleasant Run; Yet in my dreams, it often seems I see thee, Waterloo, And see the flash of beaded splash Upon the waters too, While crossing Pleasant Run.

Yes, in my dreams, I often hear The songs they used to sing– Those solemn lays of reverent fear, When Christ indeed was King: Then sinners bowed when prayer was led By some poor saint the ravens fed At holy Waterloo.

How free from l.u.s.t, the simple trust Of soul that worshipped there; How free from guile were men erstwhile Whose creed was song and prayer, The creed of Waterloo.

The meeting days were always fair– G.o.d smiled on Waterloo!

And mother rode the dark brown mare, And took the mule colt, too; For fashion then did not beguile A mother’s heart with worldly wile, Ah! happy days agone!

Oh! days no more when mothers wore Sunhood and riding skirt, And fathers dressed their Sunday best, A plain check-cotton-shirt,– Ah! happy days agone!

The sunlight dances on the hills That shelter Waterloo; I see the gold of daffodils That bloom the meadow through– The hour has come, for meeting’s broke, And now the simple country folk Are leaving Waterloo!

The horses neigh; away, away!

Away, but not for home; Grandma to-day will laugh and say, “My boy, my boy has come.”

Oh, blessed Waterloo!