Songs of the Sea Children

by Bliss Carman


 

AFTERSONG


 

These are the joyous songs 
The shy sea children sing, 
When the moon goes down the west, 
Soft as a pale moth wing;

When the gnat and the bumblebee

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In the gauze of sleep are fast, 
And a fairy summer dream 
Is the only thing will last.

These are the ever-songs 
The heart of the sea will sing,

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When ash-coloured birds are building, 
And lilac thickets ring;

When June is an open road 
For every soul that stirs; 
When scarlet voices summon,

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And not a foot defers.

These are the twilight songs 
Out of the simple North, 
Where the marchers of the night 
In silent troops go forth;

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Where Alioth sails and sails
Forever round the pole, 
And wonder brings no sad
Disquietude of soul.

And all their bodily beauty

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Must flower a moment and die, 
As the rain goes down the sea-rim, 
The streamers up the sky;

Till time as a falling echo 
Shall sift them over and o'er, 

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And the wind between the stars 
Can tell their words no more.

Yet the lyric beat and cry
Which frets the poor frail things
Shall pass from joy to joy

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Up through a thousand springs,

Teasing the sullen years 
Out of monotony, 
As reedbirds pour their rapture 
By the unwintered sea.

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