Gardens and Stairways; those are words that thrill me
Always with vague suggestions of delight.
Stairways and Gardens. Mystery and grace
Seem part of their environment; they fill me
With memories of things veiled from my sight,
In some far place.

Gardens. The word is overcharged with meaning;
It speaks of moonlight and a closing door;
Of birds at dawn--of sultry afternoons.
Gardens. I seem to see low branches screening
A vine-roofed arbor with a leaf-tiled floor
Where sunlight swoons.

Stairways. The word winds upward to a landing,
Then curves and vanishes in space above.
Lights fall, lights rise; soft lights that meet and blend.
Stairways; and some one at the bottom standing
Expectantly with lifted looks of love.
Then steps descend.

Gardens and Stairways. They belong with song--
With subtle scents of perfume, myrrh and musk--
With dawn and dusk--with youth, romance, and mystery,
And times that were and times that are to be.
Stairways and gardens.

World Voices by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
New York : Hearst's International Library Company 1916.

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