Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
 
V. Trees: Flowers: Plants
The Grape-Vine Swing
William Gilmore Simms (1806–1870)
 
LITHE and long as the serpent train,
  Springing and clinging from tree to tree,
Now darting upward, now down again,
  With a twist and a twirl that are strange to see;
Never took serpent a deadlier hold,        5
  Never the cougar a wilder spring,
Strangling the oak with the boa’s fold,
  Spanning the beach with the condor’s wing.
 
Yet no foe that we fear to seek,—
  The boy leaps wild to thy rude embrace;        10
Thy bulging arms bear as soft a cheek
  As ever on lover’s breast found place;
On thy waving train is a playful hold
  Thou shalt never to lighter grasp persuade,
While a maiden sits in thy drooping fold,        15
  And swings and sings in the noonday shade!
 
O giant strange of our Southern woods!
  I dream of thee still in the well-known spot,
Though our vessel strains o’er the ocean floods,
  And the northern forest beholds thee not;        20
I think of thee still with a sweet regret,
  As the cordage yields to my playful grasp,—
Dost thou spring and cling in our woodlands yet?
  Does the maiden still swing in thy giant clasp?
 
 
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