― 118 ―


WHEN we were children they used to tell us
God set His bow in the sky
As a sign to His wildering waste of waters,
Lest the world should be drowned thereby;
And our hearts were glad when we saw His rainbow
Breaking the clouds on high.

And was it a ghost of the wee-folk whispered,
Or a story at twilight told,
That a leprechaun hid at the foot of the rainbow
With a crock full of fairy gold—
In the wistful, wonderful days of childhood
Ere hope and the heart grew cold?

So we chased the rainbows of days departed
Through fields of a fadeless May,
Light as thistledown, fleet as swallows,
Wild as the wind at play;
And the fairy gold at the foot of the rainbow
Was ever a field away.

Ah, ever since then in the changing seasons
We've followed our rainbow, still
Just a field away, and its bow above us,
Its foot on the flinty hill—
Song at the heart and a flame before us,
Leading us, mind and will.

Through tangled tracks of beliefs and doubtings,
Through thicket and thorn and scathe,
We've followed the gleam as it fled before us,
A baffling, beautiful wraith.
We've been chasing rainbows, mystical rainbows,
For the gold of abiding faith.

  ― 119 ―
Through briar and brake, through the lone waste places,
Heart-fain as a homing dove,
With the lights of dream on our lifted faces
A-yearn to the skies above,
We've been chasing rainbows, magical rainbows,
For the gold of enduring love.

Through storm and stress of our blind Spring sowing,
Through dreams of insurgent youth,
Down strange, strong winds from her high hills blowing
Discord unkind, uncouth,
We've been chasing rainbows, glorious rainbows,
For the gold of eternal truth.

And, alas! in the years by the locust eaten,
Where the lambent lotus gleams
In the dusk, and the panthers of life are hidden
By the sinister border streams,
We've been chasing rainbows, pitiful rainbows,
In the jungles of broken dreams!

O Laughter and Love, and O ears that hearken
Their music, come well or ill,
All dreams must die and all days must darken
Till dusk creeps over the hill.
Yet perhaps the rainbows were God's own rainbows?
Perhaps there are fairies still?