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Father Ryan's Poems (5)

2006-09-08 16:13

    Rhyme

    One idle day —— A mile or so of sunlit waves off shore —— In a breezeless bay, We listless lay —— Our boat a "dream of rest" on the still sea ——And —— we were four.

    The wind had died That all day long sang songs unto the deep; It was eventide, And far and wide Sweet silence crept thro' the rifts of sound With spells of sleep.

    Our gray sail cast The only cloud that flecked the foamless sea; And weary at last Beside the mast One fell to slumber with a dreamy face, And —— we were three.

    No ebb! no flow! No sound! no stir in the wide, wondrous calm; In the sunset's glow The shore shelved low And snow-white, from far ridges screened with shade Of drooping palm.

    Our hearts were hushed; All light seemed melting into boundless blue; But the west was flushed Where sunset blushed, Thro' clouds of roses, when another slept And —— we were two.

    How still the air! Not e'en a sea-bird o'er us waveward flew; Peace rested there! Light everywhere! Nay! Light! some shadows fell on that fair scene, And —— we are two.

    Some shadows! Where? No matter where! all shadows are not seen; For clouds of care To skies all fair Will sudden rise as tears to shining eyes, And dim their sheen.

    We spake no word, Tho' each I ween did hear the other's soul. Not a wavelet stirred, And yet we heard The loneliest music of the weariest waves That ever roll.

    Yea! Peace, you swayed Your sceptre jeweled with the evening light; And then you said: "Here falls no shade, Here floats no sound, and all the seas and skies Sleep calm and bright."

    Nay! Peace, not so! The wildest waves may feel thy sceptre's spell And fear to flow, But to and fro —— Beyond their reach lone waves on troubled seas Will sink and swell.

    No word e'en yet; Were our eyes speaking while they watched the sky? And in the sunset Infinite regret Swept sighing from the skies into our souls —— I wonder why?

    A half hour passed —— 'Twas more than half an age; 'tis ever thus. Words came at last, Fluttering and fast As shadows veiling sunsets in the souls Of each of us.

    The noiseless night Sped flitting like a ghost where waves of blue Lost all their light, As lips once bright Whence smiles have fled; we or the wavelets sighed, And —— we were two.

    The day had gone: And on the dim, high altar of the dark, Stars, one by one, Far, faintly shone; The moonlight trembled, like a mother's smile, Upon our bark.

    We softly spoke: The waves seemed listening on the lonely sea, The winds awoke; Our whispers broke The spell of silence; and two eyes unclosed, And —— we were three.

    "The breeze blows fair," He said; "the waking waves set towards the shore." The long brown hair Of the other there, Who slumbered near the mast with dreamy face Stirred —— we were four.

    That starry night, A mile or so of shadows from the shore, Two faces bright With laughter light Shone on two souls like stars that shine on shrines; And —— we were four.

    Over the reach Of dazzling waves our boat like wild bird flew; We reached the beach, Nor song, nor speech Shall ever tell our sacramental thought When —— we were two.

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