A Winter Holiday

by Bliss Carman


 

FLYING FISH


 

WHERE the Southern liners go,
In the push of the purple seas,
When sky and ocean merge
Their blue immensities,

A creature novel and fine

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Will break from the foam and play,
Swift as a leaf on the wind,
Part of the light and spray.

Will scud like a gust of snow,
Silver diaphanous things,

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As if, when the sun gave will,
The sea for his part gave wings.

For æons the Titan deep
Forged and fashioned and framed,
In the great water-mills,

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Forms that no man has named.

With hammer of thunderous seas,
With smooth attrition of tides,
Shaping each joint and valve,
Putting the heart in their sides,

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Blindly he labored and slow,
With patience ungrudging and vast,
Moulding the marvels he wrought
Nearer some purpose at last.

Not his own. Those creatures of his

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Were endowed with an alien spark,
And a hint of groping mind
That made for an unseen mark.

For part was the stroke of force,
Fortuitous, blind, and fell,

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And part was the breath of soul
Inhabiting film and cell.

Finer and frailer they grew;
Must dare and be glad and aspire,
Out of the nether gloom

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Into the pale sea-fire,

Out of the pale sea-day
Into the sparkle and air,
Quitting the elder home
For the venture bright and rare.

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Ah, Silver-fin, you too
Must follow the faint ahoy
Over the welter of life
To radiant moments of joy!