Fragrant Quote for February 3rd- Belated by Helen Hunt Jackson

Fragrant Quote for February 3rd- Belated by Helen Hunt Jackson

BELATED.

IN a September day I came
Seeking that flower of sweetest name
Of all, from which the lavish June
With boundless fragrance fills the noon,
In woods where her best blossoms hide.
"O sweet Twin-Flower!" I longing cried,
Hopeless but eager, "is there still
One tiny pink bell left? And will
Thy guardian fairy condescend
To guide my feet, that I may bend,
In reverent and fond delight,
Once more at the transcendent sight?"
The spicy woods were still and cool;
In many a little mossy pool
Bright leaves were floating round and round;
The partridge mother's watchful sound,
The sighs of dying leaves that fell,
Were all that broke the silent spell.
In mats and tangles everywhere,
The Twin-Flower vines lay, green and fair,
With subtle beauty all their own,
Wreathing each hillock and each stone,
Stretching in slender coiling shoot,
Far out of sight of parent root,
Making white silken fibres fast
To all the mosses as they passed;
But trembling, empty, withered, bare,
Stood all the thread-like flower-stems there.
"Too late," I said, and rambled on,
Sadder because the flowers were gone,
Yet glad, and laden with green vines
Of everything that climbs and twines;
With glossy ferns, and snowy seeds
Strung thick on scarlet stems, like beads,
And Tiarellas packed between
In mottled, scalloped disks of green,
And purple Asters fit for hem
Of High-Priest's robes, and, shading them
Like sunlit tree-tops waving broad,
Great branching stalks of Golden Rod.
So, glad and laden, through the wood
I went, till on its edge I stood,
When at my very feet I saw,
With sudden joy, half joy, half awe,
Low nestled in a dead log's cleft
One pale Twin-Flower, the last one left.
So near my hasty step had been
To trampling it, it quivered in
The air, and like a fairy bell
Swung to and fro, with notes that fell
No doubt on hidden ears more fine,
And more of kin to it than mine.
"O dear belated thing!" I cried,
And knelt like worshipper beside
The mossy log. The wood, so still,
With sudden echo seemed to fill.
Repeated on each side I heard
In soft rebuke my thoughtless word,
"Belated "!
No! ah. never yet
The smallest reckoning was set
Too slow, too fast, by Nature's hand.
Her hours appointed faithful stand.
Her million doors wide-open stay.
Love cannot lose nor leave his way,
Comes not too soon, comes not too late.
Twin-Flowers and hearts their lovers wait.