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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 48 pages of information about Carolina Chansons.

H.A.

THE LAST CREW[6]

    I

    Spring found us early that eventful year,
    Seeming to know in her clairvoyant way
    The bitterness of hunger and despair
    That lay upon the town. 
    Out of the sheer
    Thin altitudes of day
    She drifted down
    Over the grim blockade
    At the harbor mouth,
    Trailing her beauty over the decay
    That war had made,
    Gilding old ruins with her jasmine spray,
    Distilling warm moist perfume
    From chill winter shade.

    Out of the south
    She brought the whisperings
    Of questing wings. 
    Then, flame on flame,
    The cardinals came,
    Blowing like driven brands
    Up from the sultry lands
    Where Summer’s happy fires always burn. 
    Old silences, that pain
    Had held too close and long,
    Stirred to the mocker’s song,
    And hope looked out again
    From tired eyes.

    Down where the White Point Gardens drank the sun,
    And rippled to the lift of springing grass,
    The women came;
    And after them the aged, and the lame
    That war had hurled back at them like a taunt. 
    And always, as they talked of little things,
    How violets were purpling the shade
    More early than in all remembered Springs,
    And how the tides seemed higher than last year,
    Their gaze went drifting out across the bay
    To where,
    Thrusting out of the mists,
    Like hostile fists,
    Waited the close blockade—­
    Then, dim to left and right,
    The curving islands with their shattered mounds
    That had been forts;
    Mounds, which in spite
    Of four long years of rending agony
    Still held against the light;
    Faint wraiths of color
    For the breeze to lift
    And flatten into faded red and white.

    These sunny islands were not meant for wars;
    See, how they curve away
    Before the bay,
    Bidding the voyager pause. 
    Warm with the hoarded suns of centuries,
    Young with the garnered youth of many Springs,
    They laugh like happy bathers, while the seas
    Break in their open arms,
    And the slow-moving breeze
    Draws languid fingers down their placid brows. 
    Even the surly ocean knows their charms,
    And under the shrill laughter of the surf,
    He booms and sings his heavy monotone.

    II

    There are rare nights among these waterways
    When Spring first treads the meadows of the marsh,
    Leaving faint footprints of elusive green
    To glimmer as she strays,
    Breaking the Winter silence with the harsh
    Sharp call of waterfowl;
    Rubbing dim shifting pastels in the scene
    With white of moon
    And blur of scudding cloud,
    Until the myrtle thickets
    And the sand,
    The silent streams,
    And the substantial land
    Go drifting down the tide of night
    Aswoon.

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