There is a river and there is a boat
(I read it all in a far-away tale)—
O faster! O faster! you do but float;
Pull away with your oars, shake out your sail!
A woman, I know, must sail in a skiff,
And reach a ship ere it reaches the sea;
But it is a wonderful matter if
The woman who sits here is really me!
O faster! O faster! you scarcely
The ship has grown large that was but a speck!
We have reached the ship—we have boarded her—
And I SEE who is standing on her deck!
I see who stands there, I hear and see
His incredulous joy and startled cry,
His beautiful wonder at sight of me;
I feel his embraces, and then—I die!
I know not how long I was lying dead;
I know not what happen’d day after day:
But I know whose breast supported my head;
I know in whose arms I passively lay.
I know whose voice I was hearing again;
With no vivid emotion through me sent,
But only with that sweet absence of pain
The young call repose, and the old, content.
I know of the presence that o’er
Through all that I suffer’d a perfect ease;
I know all this because I am dead—
I suppose the dead can know what they please!
Can I be dead? It is foolish to die,
Earth shining brighter than any bright star.
Death, do you know it is Harry and I?
Heaven is here—must I seek it afar?
Death, seize thy prey from the world-weary track;
Let not the happy by thee be remov’d;
Slowly and softly and sweetly come back,
Life that she loves to a girl that is lov’d!
* * * * *
Cut through the waves, happy ship ’neath my feet;
Scatter thy prow with beneficent spray!
Never an admiral leading a fleet
Felt as triumphant as I do to-day!
Ocean around us, and Heaven above;
Hands clasp’d together in innocent bliss;
Heart meeting heart with the fulness of love—
Can there be anything sweeter than this?
Seeking a home on a far-distant shore,
Mid gigantic forests and splendid flow’rs,
Where sorrow cannot bewilder us more,
Or fear reach a solitude perfect as ours.
Crossing blue oceans ’neath heavens
Seeking new worlds with new winters and springs;
Even the old stars are changing to new,
Lovely confusion of wonderful things!
Almost forgetting to feel a regret—
Almost forgotten the world whence we came—
Only our hearts, Harry, cannot forget;
Only our love will be ever the same!
Talking together through nights and through
Talking together through days and through nights;
Facing futurity’s fathomless haze;
Piercing its shadows with delicate lights.