But not a shadow dims your joyance sweet,
No baffled hope or memory darkly clad;
You lay your whiteness at the Lord’s dear feet,
And are all glad.
O coward soul! arouse thee and draw near,
Led by these fragrant acolytes to-day!
Let their sweet confidence rebuke thy fear,
Thy cold delay.
Come with thy darkness to the healing light,
Come with thy bitter, which shall be made sweet,
And lay thy soil beside the lilies white,
At His dear feet!
Long reaches of wet grasses sway
Where ran the sea but yesterday,
And white-winged boats at sunset drew
To anchor in the crimsoning blue.
The boats lie on the grassy plain,
Nor tug nor fret at anchor chain;
Their errand done, their impulse spent,
Chained by an alien element,
With sails unset they idly lie,
Though morning beckons brave and nigh;
Like wounded birds, their flight denied,
They lie, and long and wait the tide.
About their keels, within the net
Of tough grass fibres green and wet,
A myriad thirsty creatures, pent
In sorrowful imprisonment,
Await the beat, distinct and sweet,
Of the white waves’ returning feet.
My soul their vigil joins, and shares
A nobler discontent than theirs;
Athirst like them, I patiently
Sit listening beside the sea,
And still the waters outward glide:
When is the turning of the tide?
Come, pulse of God; come, heavenly thrill!
We wait thy coming,—and we will.
The world is vast, and very far
Its utmost verge and boundaries are;
But thou hast kept thy word to-day
In India and in dim Cathay,
And the same mighty care shall reach
Each humblest rock-pool of this beach.
The gasping fish, the stranded keel,
This dull dry soul of mine, shall feel
Thy freshening touch, and, satisfied,
Shall drink the fulness of the tide.
All night the thirsty beach has listening lain,
With patience dumb,
Counting the slow, sad moments of her pain;
Now morn has come,
And with the morn the punctual tide again.
I hear the white battalions down the bay
Charge with a cheer;
The sun’s gold lances prick them on their way,—
They plunge, they rear,—
Foam-plumed and snowy-pennoned, they are here!
The roused shore, her bright hair backward blown,
Stands on the verge
And waves a smiling welcome, beckoning on
The flying surge,
While round her feet, like doves, the billows crowd and urge.
Her glad lips quaff the salt, familiar wine;
Her spent urns fill;
All hungering creatures know the sound, the sign,—
Quiver and thrill,
With glad expectance crowd and banquet at their will.
I, too, the rapt contentment join and share;
My tide is full;
There is new happiness in earth, in air:
And fresh the world but now so bare and dull.