The Morning Girl

LISTEN! All the world is still;
One bleared hour and night is gone.
See the lonely moon-washed hill
Lift its head to catch the dawn!

In the east the eager light
Sets the curtained dusk a-sag;
And all the royal robe of Night
Frays cheaply -- like a rag!

Once I felt a lifting joy
When I saw the day unfurl,
Watching, just a laughing boy,
For the Morning Girl.

Oft I met her in the dew
Face to face, her sapphire eyes
Burning on me through the blue
Of the morning skies.

Then her pure and dazzling breast
Made with joy my senses swoon,
As she burned from crest to crest
Upward to the noon.

Now no more I seek her shrine,
Seek no more her golden hair
Sparkling in the morning shine
And the purple air.

Comes no more the Morning Girl,
Glows not now her golden head,
When the clouds of dawn unfurl --
Purple, yellow, red.

Now the waning of the night
Means another day is near;
Just a haggard splotch of light,
A turning of the sphere!

Would that in the coming hour
I might be that boy who knew
Fragrant import of the flower,
Lyric impulse of the dew!

John G. Neihardt (1881-1973)

First published in 1907 in A Bundle of Myrrh it was his first book to gain a national recognition. John G. Neihardt's The Morning Girl is most remarkable because a young woman from America studying sculpture under Rodin at Paris, Mona Martinsen, fell in love with the author sight unseen when she read it for the first time. They married in 1911 and lived together until her death in 1955.


Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:

CST Approved

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