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Poem by Henry Van Dyke


When Tulips Bloom


     I

WHEN tulips bloom in Union Aquare,
And timid breaths of vernal air
    Go wandering down the dusty town, 
Like children lost in Vanity Fair;

When every long, unlovely row
Of westward houses stands aglow,
    And leads the eyes to sunset skies 
Beyond the hills where green trees grow;

Then wearly seems the street parade,
And weary books, and weary trade:
    I'm only wishing to go a-fishing; 
For this the month of May was made.

    II

I guess the pussy-willows now
Are creeping out on every bough
    Along the brook; and robins look 
For early worms behind the plough.

The thistle-birds have changed their dun,
For yellow coats, to match the sun;
    And in the same array of flame 
The Dandelion Show's begun.

The flocks of young anemones
Are dancing round the budding trees:
    Who can help wishing to go a-fishing 
In days as full of joy as these?

    III

I think the meadow-lark's clear sound
Leaks upward slowly from the ground,
    While on the wing the bluebirds ring 
Their wedding-bells to woods around.

The flirting chewink calls his dear
Behind the bush; and very near,
    Where water flows, where green grass grows, 
Song-sparrows gently sing, "Good cheer."

And, best of all, through twilight's calm
The hermit-thrush repeats his psalm.
    How mush I'm wishing to go a-fishing 
In days so sweet with music's balm!

    IV

'Tis not a proud desire of mine;
I ask for nothing superfine;
    No heavy weight, no salmon great, 
To break the record, or my line.

Only an idle little stream,
Whose amber waters softly gleam,
    Where I may wade, through woodland shade, 
And cast the fly, and loaf, and dream:

Only a trout or two, to dart
From foaming pools, and try my art:
    'Tis all I'm wishing--old-fashioned fishing, 
And just a day on Nature's heart.



Henry Van Dyke


Henry Van Dyke's other poems:
  1. A Legend of Service
  2. Patria
  3. Sea-Gulls of Manhattan
  4. The Ancestral Dwelling
  5. Christ of Everywhere


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