Bentztown Bard Poems

The following poems were written some time between 1909 and 1946 by Folger McKinsey for his column Good Morning! for the Baltimore Sun. To learn a little more about Folger McKinsey, visit

Remembering June

It is not spring without you dear.
Here in the silent night, beneath the moon,
My heart remembers you, remembering June.
This strange, this unfamiliar thing
Is not our season of the lifted wing.
This is not spring, not spring!
No more, beloved, shall my heart ever know
The elfin peace and silver-silken glow
When here beneath the sky
We waited, you and I
To hear the mockingbird in holy song
Make us forget that anywhere is wrong,
Or strife or tears, but only peace and rest
Such as now falls upon your holy breast.

That witchery of the morning, too,
The magix silence when at dawn we woke
To hear the robin chanting just outside
Our window where the lilacs used to hide!
The woods, the crick, the old road to the town,
What mockery is this! No summer flutters down
Upon me as it did those happy days
When you companioned me on all my ways.
My eyes are just the same, my ears catch all
The whispering music as it used to fall;
My heart responds to every instant thrill–
But there is something different on the hill,
And in the meadows and along the path;
As if within, some storm of alien wrath
Had blown high beauty from the very earth,
And life had lost its worth.

It must not be: I must not cry like this;
I’ll lift my head and reach my hand, and we
Shall go together in that summer bliss
We knew together–you are still with me.
Long-lasting and forever in this lull
Of vital presence; still so beautiful
The shadow of your holy grace I’ll find
So tenderly composed upon my mind.
And this my heart shall strengthen, and again
I shall go forth among my fellow-men,
Saying: it’s very beautiful today–
For me, still here; for her, so far away!

It Isn’t Spring

It isn’t spring without you dear;
Not spring, as once of old,
When all the skies of May were near
And the daffodils were gold.
Now iris comes, and blue flags wave,
And dancing tulips paint the scene–
But it was you that kept me brave,
And you that made the grass seem green.

Yesterday in the little grove
The wild azalea flamed in bloom,
And mournfully sang there the dove,
Like a lost spirit in the gloom.
Deep in the afternoon a bird
Set up its song–but all I knew
Was that somewhere in sign or word
There was such emptiness for you.

The coming of the spring was fine
When we together saw it wake
Across the pastures like a wine,
In silver by the rippling lake.
But where has gone its magic touch,
Its spell, its rapture and desire–
Ah! Now in loneliness I clutch
For something mystical and higher.

It isn’t spring without your hand
In mine while wandering slowly through
The little paths, the whispering land,
The roads so old that seemed so new!
Not spring without you in my heart,
Nor joy of spring for me–Nay, nay!
It will come back, the veil will part–
And you will bring me home to May!

The Loveliest Dream

The loveliest dream I ever had
Was the dream I had of you,
When my soul was free and my heart was glad
And the skies were soft and blue–
For we walked in the gardens of loveliness
In the long dream of the night;
And your voice was sweet and you hand was soft
And you eyes with love were bright.

I shall remember it through the years;
A dream like that don’t die,
Though life may shadow our way with tears
And out hearts may utter a sigh–
For you shone so fair in heavenly grace,
You seemed so true and fine;
And I kist your lips and helf your face
In these two soft hands of mine.

Other visions have come since then,
Dreams of the strange and queer,
Of power and glory–but never again
Has a dream been quite so dear–
The loveliest dream I will ever know–
It haunts me, holds me up–
For yours was the face within its glow,
And your lips were my drinking cup.

After That Sorrow

After that sorrow, that grief and that care;
After that loss and that pang of despair;
After that shadow, that grief and that loss;
After that burden of lifting the cross–
Oh, for the quiet, the peace and relief
Of knowing that all of our care is so brief!

After the illness, the ache and the pain,
To have the sweet healing of patience again,
The love and the quiet, the peace and the rest,
With something like magic to dwell in your breast,
To comfort and cheer you and give back cheer
And to to drive away agony, horror and fear!

After that trouble, that anger and hate;
After that wondering about your poor fate;
After the tears and the bitter distress,
To sink in the arms of a faith that can bless,
To life up with courage and go on your way,
Reborn and remade for a happier day!

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