The Dread Voyage Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

ON A SUMMER SHORE


 

LONG years have gone, and yet it seems
      But scarce an hour ago,
I lay upon a moss-grown rock,
      And watched the ebb and flow
Of waters, where cool shades above
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      Glassed in cool depths below.

You stood beside me sweet and fair,
      A basket on your arm,
Red-heaped with luscious fruit we’d picked
      Down at the old shore farm;

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You stood and in the shore-wood made
      A picture glad and warm.

Like heaving pearl the blue by rocked
      Against its limestone wall,
Far off in reeling dreams of blue

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      The heavens seemed to fall
About the world, and there you stood,
      Unconscious, queen of all.

From far-off fields the low of kine,
      Soft bird-notes, airy streams,

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That stole in here, far, broken notes
      Of all the day’s hushed dreams;
And you, one slender shaft of light,
      In all the world’s wide gleams.

We spoke no love, for I was shy,

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      And you were shyer then;
Mine was a boy’s faint heart, and yours
      Still outside of love’s ken;
But such sweet moments are full rare
      In barren years of men.
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And often when the heart is worn
      And life grows sorrow-wise,
I dream again a blue, north bay,
      A gleam of summer skies;
And by my side a young girl stands
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      With heaven in her eyes.

You are a dream, a face, a wraith,
      You drift across my pain,
I lock you in my sacred past
      Where all love’s ghosts remain;

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But life hath nought for me so sweet
      As you can bring again.