Lilacs, False blue, White Purple, Colour of lilac, Your great puffs of flowers Are everywhere in this my New England. Among your heart-shaped leaves Orange orioles hop like music-box birds and sing Their little weak soft songs; In the crooks of your branches The bright eyes of song sparrows sitting on spotted eggs Peer restlessly through the light and shadow Of all Springs. Lilacs in dooryards Holding quiet conversations with an early moon; Lilacs watching a deserted house Settling sideways into the grass of an old road; Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom Above a cellar dug into a hill. You are everywhere. You were everywhere. You tapped the window when the preacher preached his sermon, And ran along the road beside the boy going to school. You stood by pasture-bars to give the cows good milking, You persuaded the housewife that her dish pan was of silver. And her husband an image of pure gold. You flaunted the fragrance of your blossoms Through the wide doors of Custom Houses-- You, and sandal-wood, and tea, Charging the noses of quill-driving clerks When a ship was in from China. You called to them: "Goose-quill men, goose-quill men, May is a month for flitting." Until they writhed on their high stools And wrote poetry on their letter-sheets behind the propped-up ledgers. Paradoxical New England clerks, Writing inventories in ledgers, reading the "Song of Solomon" at night, So many verses before bed-time, Because it was the Bible. The dead fed you Amid the slant stones of graveyards. Pale ghosts who planted you Came in the night-time And let their thin hair blow through your clustered stems. You are of the green sea, And of the stone hills which reach a long distance. You are of the elm-shaded streets with little shops where they sell kites and marbles, You are of great parks where everyone walks and nobody is at home. You cover the blind sides of greenhouses And lean over the top to say a hurry-word through the glass To your friends, the grapes, inside.
a collection that won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1926, after Amy's death.