If ever the sweet spring comes,
I'll put aside these dead books
And try to feel the herbage freshen
Along the withered boughs of old dry thoughts.
I'll walk out somewhere a garden grows,
And there I'll stand some summer evening,
Hat beside elbows on the gray stone wall,
And the wind will stir, coming from behind the hill.
Afterward I'll walk home, hands behind me,
And pause a moment before going in,
Half fancying some one has called my name,
Or been awakened to a flutter as I passed.
Of course, I'll enter, but leave the door ajar,
For someone might come in, you know,
Expectantly I'll sit to fancy the long evening through
That a pair of eyes in the summer night
Might light a candle in the dull world,
So softly that none might see to smile at,
Yet ardently enough - like a vestal candle burning -
For a little heat in a cold house.
The word on which this poem hangs is "if." Everything that follows that first word is imaginative fantasy, which would certainly explain its fanciful tone. The narrator knows that most of what he imagines is likely never to happen. After all, who makes house calls when they see an open door? That doesn't matter though. Spring, the spring of the poet's imagining, is limitless in its scope, and just that ardent imagination can bring "a little heat" to a cold house, kept in winter for what seems like so long a time.