helen-hay-whitneyLabor Day weekend is, for many, a time of ending. The “summer is over” feeling leaves certain among us feeling bereft for what the summer didn’t bring and others sad over how many good things need to be left behind.

For others, the days following Labor Day bring renewed energy and sense of purpose. How often have you heard people say that, for them, September marks the real new year?

Today’s poem is by a woman who seemingly had everything: great wealth and its accoutrements, deep personal connections, grace within stratospheric social status, comfort and friendships in the capitals of the world, and a generosity that extended far and deep.

Helen Hay Whitney was also a poet. Here we see that when she returned to her engaged and enormous life, she took with her the comfort of something simple that she had learned to love.                                                                 

My Brook

Earth holds no sweeter secret anywhere
Than this my brook, that lisps along the green
Of mossy channels, where slim birch trees lean
Like tall pale ladies, whose delicious hair,
Lures and invites the kiss of wanton air.
The smooth soft grasses, delicate between
The rougher stalks, by waifs alone are seen,
Shy things that live in sweet seclusion there.

And is it still the same, and do the eyes
Of every silver ripple meet the trees
That bend above like guarding emerald skies?
I turn, who read the city’s beggared book,
And hear across the moan of many seas
The whisper and the laughter of my brook.

                                                Helen Hay Whitney This poem is in the public domain

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