city flowers

by George Bancroft Duren

Image: Myles Zhang

The flowers are as gay and sweet
That bloom along my city street
As those that drink the summer rain
Along some quiet country lane.

And dew that covers them at night
Is just as crystalline and white
As dew which lacquers those asleep
In some secluded woodland keep.

And in their fragrant breath there lives
The same delight a flower gives
Which dreams beneath a country sky–
And not where traffic thunders by.

George Bancroft Duren was an editor of the Newark Evening News. This poem appeared in his 1926 collection Earthbound.

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the christmas tree speaks

by George Bancroft Duren

Image: Mitsu Yasakawa/The Star-Ledger
Image: Mitsu Yasakawa/The Star-Ledger

From the silent forests
I have come to keep
Tryst with all the children
Who dreamed me in their sleep.

Trim me with your baubles,
Chains of pearl and gold,
Death has touched my needles
And I shall soon grow cold.

Pin a crown of diamonds
Upon my topmost bough
That has known no splendor
But sun and snow ’til now.

Clothe me in a raiment
Beset with bubble gems:
Loop fair strands of silver
Around my withering stems.

Deck me with these trinkets
Though they be shroud to me;
It is sweet and fitting
To die a Christmas tree.

Sweet to leave the forest,
Sweet to leave the wild,
Sweet to die if dying
Brings gladness to a child.

This offering comes from Duren’s 1926 collection Earthbound.

cobwebs

by George Bancroft Duren

Image: imgur.com
Image: imgur.com

Life is like a cobweb:
And we the spiders toiling at the rapid looms of time,
Weave steadily life’s tapestry with a rich thread of years,
Binding the strands of passing days together as we climb
Up to the cobweb’s summit through the sparkling dew of tears.

So with the spider when October comes,
Turning each green leaf to a rattling husk,
We find the finished cobweb hanging there
Deserted in the melancholy dusk.

Life has its grim October, too,
And when it calls we each must leave behind
The cobweb of whatever life we spun
So those to come may test its mesh and find
Our character by what the loom has done.

Newark News editor George Bancroft Duren included these lines in his 1921 collection Written in Sand.

two elegies for summer

SEPTEMBER

by Emilie Fichter Cadmus

Summer is dying—in the long wet grass
The filmy cobwebs lay:
Time is flying—for the cricket chirped
At the close of the shortening day.
Summer is dying—there’s an Autumn haze
Beyond the sun’s bright sheen;
The wind is sighing—‘tis the voice of Death
That speaks through the waving green.

 

DEATH OF SUMMER

by George Bancroft Duren

Shadows are lengthening across the sky,
And trees have doffed their frocks of youthful green
For robes of richer hue, while in between
The clustered stars an opal moon gleams high
Above the woods where sleeping violets lie
Tucked in their leafy beds; the winds are keen
With earthy smells, and everywhere are seen
The last gifts of a summer soon to die.

Death! Yet how unlike other ends this one.
With tenderness old summer decks each tree
In brightest raiment, and with fragrant breath,
Whispering softly that her life is done,
She gently falls asleep: we hardly see
That she has gone, so beautiful her death.

wading
Image: New Jersey State Library

Manuscripts of verses by Emilie Fichter Cadmus and her daughter Mildred Cadmus Childs are preserved in the collections of the New Jersey Historical Society.

The sonnet by Newark Evening News editor George Bancroft Duren was included in his 1921 collection Written in Sand.

to an old house

by George Bancroft Duren

Image: Vincent Jannelli via American Gallery
Image: Vincent Jannelli via American Gallery

Dawn breaks with golden splendor on your roof:
Its molten sunbeams drip along the eaves,
Lighting the windows with a morning smile–
Just as they used to.

And starry night with hands invisible
Blots out the gold and blinds the windows’ eyes,
And shadows quicken on your lacquered roof–
Just as they used to.

Daybreak and dusk: they come and go the same.
And yet there is a difference and a pain:
I am not there to greet each sun and moon–
Nor shall I be again.

George Bancroft Duren was an editor of the Newark Evening News where several of his poems first appeared. This one is taken from his collection Earthbound, published in 1926.