May in Kingston

Henry Abbey

Our old colonial town is new with May:   
  The loving trees that clasp across the streets   
Grow greener-sleeved with bursting buds each day.   
  Still this year’s May the last year’s May repeats;   
Even the old stone houses half renew           
Their youth and beauty, as the old trees do.   
High over all, like some divine desire   
  Above our lower thoughts of daily care,   
The gray, religious, heaven-touching spire   
  Adds to the quiet of the springtime air;           
And over roofs the birds create a sea,   
That has no shore, of their May melody.   
Down through the lowlands now of lightest green,   
  The undecided creek winds on its way.   
There the lithe willow bends with graceful mien,           
  And sees its likeness in the depths all day;   
While in the orchards, flushed with May’s warm light,   
The bride-like fruit-trees dwell, attired in white.   
But yonder loom the mountains old and grand,   
  That off, along dim distance, reach afar,           
And high and vast against the sunset stand   
  A dreamy range, long and irregular—   
A caravan that never passes by,   
Whose camel-backs are laden with the sky.   
So, like a caravan, our outlived years           
  Loom on the introspective landscape seen   
Within the heart; and now, when May appears,   
  And earth renews its vernal bloom and green,   
We but renew our longing, and we say:   
“Oh, would that life might ever be all May!           
“Would that the bloom of youth that is so brief,   
  The bloom, the May, the fulness ripe and fair   
Of cheek and limb, might fade not as the leaf;   
  Would that the heart might not grow old with care,   
Nor love turn bitter, nor fond hope decay;           
But soul and body lead a life of May!”