Summer—like for an instant the autumn sun bursts out,
And the light through the turning elms is green and clear;
It slants down the path and ragged marigolds glow
Fiery again, last flames of the dying year.
A blue—tit darts with a flash of wings, to feed
Where the coconut hangs on the pear tree over the well;
He digs at the meat like a tiny pickaxe tapping
With his needle—sharp beak as he clings to the swinging shell.
Then he runs up the trunk, sure—footed and sleek like a mouse,
And perches to sun himself; all his body and brain
Exult in the sudden sunlight, gladly believing
That the cold is over and summer is here again.
But I see the umber clouds that drive for the sun,
And a sorrow no argument ever can make away
Goes through my heart as I think of the nearing winter,
And the transient light that gleams like the ghost of May;
And the bird unaware, blessing the summer eternal,
Joyfully labouring, proud in his strength, gay—plumed,
Unaware of the hawk and the snow and the frost—bound nights,
And of his death foredoomed.