Palma

by Frances Fuller Victor

What tellest thou to heaven,

Thou royal tropic tree?

At morn or noon or even,

Proud dweller by the sea,

What is thy song to heaven?

The homesick heart that fainted

In torrid sun and air,

With peace becomes acquainted

Beholding thee so fair—

With joy becomes acquainted:

And charms itself with fancies

About thy kingly race—

With gay and wild romances

That mimic thee in grace—

Of supple, glorious fancies.

I feel thou art not tender,

Scion of sun and sea—

The wild-bird does not render

To thee its minstrelsy—

Fearing thou art not tender:

But calm, serene and saintly,

As highborn things should be:

Who, if they love us faintly,

Make us love reverently,

Because they are so saintly.

To be loved without loving,

O proud and princely palm!

Is to fancy our ship moving

With the ocean at dead calm—

The joy of love is loving.

Because the Sun did sire thee,

The Ocean nurse thy youth,

Because the Stars desire thee,

The warm winds whisper truth,

Shall nothing ever fire thee?

What is thy tale to heaven

In the sultry tropic noon?

What whisperest thou at even

To the dusky Indian Moon—

Has she sins to be forgiven?

Keep all her secrets; loyal

As only great souls are—

As only souls most royal,

To the flower or to the star

Alike are purely loyal.

O Palma, if thou hearest,

Thou proud and princely tree!

Thou knowest that my Dearest

Is emblemed forth in thee—

My kingly Palm, my Dearest.

I am his Moon admiring,

His wooing Wind, his Star;

And I glory in desiring

My Palm-tree from afar—

Glad as happier lovers are,

Am happy in desiring!