Helen Hay Whitney

(1875 - 1944 / United States)

Does the Pearl Know?


DOES the pearl know, that in its shade and sheen,
The dreamy rose and tender wavering green,
Are hid the hearts of all the ranging seas,
That Beauty weeps for gifts as fair as these?
Does it desire aught else when its rare blush
Reflects Aurora in the morning's hush,
Encircling all perfection can bestow,
Does the pearl know?

Does the bird know, when, through the waking dawn,
He soaring sees below the silvered lawn,
And weary men who wait to watch the day
Steal o'er the heights where he may wheel and stray?
Can he conceive his fee divine to share,
As a free, joyous peer with sun and air,
And pity the sad things that creep below,
Does the bird know?

Does the heart know, when, filled to utter brim,
The least quick throb, a sacrificial hymn
To a great god who scorns the frown of Jove,
That here it finds the awful power of love?
Think you the new-born babe in first wise sleep
Fathoms the gift the heavens have bade him keep?
Yet if this be—if all these things are so—
Does the heart know?

Submitted: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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