Archive for January 31st, 2014

Friday, 31 January 2014

The Urban Pan by Bliss Carman

Once more the magic days are come
With stronger sun and milder air;
The shops are full of daffodils;
There’s golden leisure everywhere.
I heard my Lou this morning shout:
“Here comes the hurdy-gurdy man!”
And through the open window caught
The piping of the urban Pan.

I laid my wintry task aside,
And took a day to follow joy:
The trail of beauty and the call
That lured me when I was a boy.
I looked, and there looked up at me
A smiling, swarthy, hairy man
With kindling eye—and well I knew
The piping of the urban Pan.

He caught my mood; his hat was off;
I tossed the ungrudged silver down.
The cunning vagrant, every year
He casts his spell upon the town!
And we must fling him, old and young,
Our dimes or coppers, as we can;
And every heart must leap to hear
The piping of the urban Pan.

The music swells and fades again,
And I in dreams am far away,
Where a bright river sparkles down
To meet a blue Aegean bay.
There, in the springtime of the world,
Are dancing fauns, and in their van,
Is one who pipes a deathless tune—
The earth-born and the urban Pan.

And so he follows down the block,
A troop of children in his train,
The light-foot dancers of the street
Enamored of the reedy strain.
I hear their laughter rise and ring
Above the noise of truck and van,
As down the mellow wind fades out
The piping of the urban Pan.

From: Carman, Bliss, Later Poems, 1922, Small, Maynard & Company: Boston, pp. 83-84.

Date: 1922

By: Bliss Carman (1861-1929)