HOW long it seems since that mild April night,
When, leaning from the window, you and I
Heard, clearly ringing from the shadowy bight,
The loon’s unearthly cry!
Southwest the wind blew, million little waves
Ran rippling round the point in mellow tune,
But mournful, like the voice of one who raves,
That laughter of the loon!
We called to him, while blindly through the haze
Uprose the meagre moon behind us, slow,
So dim, the fleet of boats we scarce could trace,
Moored lightly just below.
We called, and, lo, he answered! Half in fear
We sent the note back. Echoing rock and bay
Made melancholy music far and near;
Sadly it died away.
That schooner, you remember? Flying ghost!
Her canvas catching every wandering beam,
Aerial, noiseless, past the glimmering coast
She glided like a dream.
Would we were leaning from your window now,
Together calling to the eerie loon,
The fresh wind blowing care from either brow,
This sumptuous night of June!
So many sighs load this sweet inland air,
’T is hard to breathe, nor can we find relief:
However lightly touched, we all must share
This nobleness of grief.
But sighs are spent before they reach your ear;
Vaguely they mingle with the water’s rune;
No sadder sound salutes you than the clear,
Wild laughter of the loon.