(20 April 1826 - 12 October 1887 / Stoke-on-Trent / England)

Sitting On The Shore

THE tide has ebbed away:
No more wild dashings 'gainst the adamant rocks,
Nor swayings amidst sea-weed false that mocks
The hues of gardens gay:
No laugh of little wavelets at their play:
No lucid pools reflecting heaven's clear brow--
Both storm and calm alike are ended now.

The rocks sit gray and lone:
The shifting sand is spread so smooth and dry,
That not a tide might ever have swept by
Stirring it with rude moan:
Only some weedy fragments idly thrown
To rot beneath the sky, tell what has been:
But Desolation's self has grown serene.

Afar the mountains rise,
And the broad estuary widens out,
All sunshine; wheeling round and round about
Seaward, a white bird flies.
A bird? Nay, seems it rather in these eyes
A spirit, o'er Eternity's dim sea
Calling--'Come thou where all we glad souls be.
O life, O silent shore,
Where we sit patient; O great sea beyond
To which we turn with solemn hope and fond,
But sorrowful no more:
A little while, and then we too shall soar
Like white-winged sea-birds into the Infinite Deep:
Till then, Thou, Father--wilt our spirits keep.

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