Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Western States: Prairies, The
The Prairie
John Hay (1838–1905)
 
THE SKIES are blue above my head,
  The prairie green below,
And flickering o’er the tufted grass
  The shifting shadows go,
Vague-sailing, where the feathery clouds        5
  Fleck white the tranquil skies,
Black javelins darting where aloft
  The whirring pheasant flies.
 
A glimmering plain in drowsy trance
  The dim horizon bounds,        10
Where all the air is resonant
  With sleepy summer sounds,—
The life that sings among the flowers,
  The lisping of the breeze,
The hot cicala’s sultry cry,        15
  The murmurous dream of bees.
 
The butterfly—a flying flower—
  Wheels swift in flashing rings,
And flutters round his quiet kin,
  With brave flame-mottled wings.        20
The wild pinks burst in crimson fire,
  The phlox’ bright clusters shine,
And prairie-cups are swinging free
  To spill their airy wine.
 
And lavishly beneath the sun,        25
  In liberal splendor rolled,
The fennel fills the dipping plain
  With floods of flowery gold;
And widely weaves the iron-weed
  A woof of purple dyes        30
Where Autumn’s royal feet may tread
  When bankrupt Summer flies.
 
In verdurous tumult far away
  The prairie-billows gleam,
Upon their crests in blessing rests        35
  The noontide’s gracious beam.
Low quivering vapors steaming dim
  The level splendors break
Where languid lilies deck the rim
  Of some land-circled lake.        40
 
Far in the east like low-hung clouds
  The waving woodlands lie;
Far in the west the glowing plain
  Melts warmly in the sky.
No accent wounds the reverent air,        45
  No footprint dints the sod,—
Lone in the light the prairie lies,
  Wrapt in a dream of God.
 
 
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