They tell me she is beautiful, my City,
That she is colorful and quaint, alone
Among the cities. But I, I who have known
Her tenderness, her courage, and her pity,
Have felt her forces mould me, mind and bone,
Life after life, up from her first beginning.
How can I think of her in wood and stone!
To others she has given of her beauty,
Her gardens, and her dim, old, faded ways,
Her laughter, and her happy, drifting hours,
Glad, spendthrift April, squandering her flowers,
The sharp, still wonder of her Autumn days;
Her chimes that shimmer from St. Michael's steeple
Across the deep maturity of June,
Like sunlight slanting over open water
Under a high, blue, listless afternoon.
But when the dusk is deep upon the harbor,
She finds me where her rivers meet and speak,
And while the constellations ride the silence
High overhead, her cheek is on my cheek.
I know her in the thrill behind the dark
When sleep brims all her silent thoroughfares.
She is the glamor in the quiet park
That kindles simple things like grass and trees.
Wistful and wanton as her sea-born airs,
Bringer of dim, rich, age-old memories.
Out on the gloom-deep water, when the nights
Are choked with fog, and perilous, and blind,
She is the faith that tends the calling lights.
Hers is the stifled voice of harbor bells
Muffled and broken by the mist and wind.
Hers are the eyes through which I look on life
And find it brave and splendid. And the stir
Of hidden music shaping all my songs,
And these my songs, my all, belong to her.
This poem is in the public domain.
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DuBose Heyward (1885 -1940) wrote poetry, children’s books, fiction, plays, and screenplays. Best known for his novel, Porgy, which was the basis for the opera Porgy and Bess, DuBose was born and lived most of his life in Charleston, South Carolina. He and his friend Hervey Allen founded the Poetry Society of South Carolina.
Beautiful! Thanks,Jayne, for bringing this poem to us. Phyllis
Posted 11/08/2012 09:44 AM
So glad you shared this glorious poem along with a bit of history.
Posted 11/08/2012 09:10 AM
What a lovely thing this is! And how glad I am to see it here this morning!
Posted 11/08/2012 05:40 AM