On the Creek

by
Charles G.D. Roberts
divider

Dear Heart, the noisy strife
And bitter carpings cease.
Here is the lap of life,
Here are the lips of peace.

Afar from stir of streets,
The city's dust and din,
What healing silence meets
And greets us gliding in!

Our light birch silent floats;
Soundless the paddle dips.
Yon sunbeam thick with motes
Athro' the leafage slips,

To light the iris wings
Of dragon-flies alit
On lily-leaves, and things
Of gauze that float and flit.

Above the water's brink
Hush'd winds make summer riot;
Our thirsty spirits drink
Deep, deep, the summer quiet.

We slip the world's gray husk,
Emerge, and spread new plumes;
In sunbeam-fretted dusk,
Thro' populous golden glooms,

Like thistledown we slide,
Two disembodied dreams,—
With spirits alert, wide-eyed,
Explore the perfume-streams.

For scents of various grass
Stream down the veering breeze;
Warm puffs of honey pass
From flowering linden-trees;

And fragrant gusts of gum,
From clammy balm-tree buds,
With fern-brake odors, come
From intricate solitudes.

The elm-tops are astir
With flirt of idle wings.
Hark to the grackles' chirr
Whene'er an elm-bough swings!

From off yon ash-limb sere
Out-thrust amid green branches,
Keen like an azure spear
A kingfisher down launches.

Far up the creek his calls
And lessening laugh retreat;
Again the silence falls,
And soft the green hours fleet.

They fleet with drowsy hum
Of insects on the wing;—
We sigh—the end must come!
We taste our pleasure's sting.

No more, then, need we try
The rapture to regain.
We feel our day slip by,
And cling to it in vain.

But, Dear, keep thou in mind
These moments swift and sweet!
Their memory thou shall find
Illume the common street;

And thro' the dust and din,
Smiling, thy heart shall hear
Quiet waters lapsing thin,
And locusts shrilling clear.

From In Divers Tones.

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Added 22 November 2008.
Updated 22 November 2008.