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Poems About Adventure

Table of Contents

  1. Adventure by Hilda Conkling
  2. Adventure by Helen Cowles LeCron
  3. Adventurers by Madison Cawein
  4. The Enchanted Traveller by Bliss Carman
  5. Pioneers! O Pioneers! by Walt Whitman
  6. The Pioneers by Hannah Flagg Gould
  7. Birch and Paddle by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  8. Columbus by Helen L. Smith
  9. Butterfly Adventure by Hilda Conkling
  10. Fierce Adventures by Annette Wynne
  11. A Norse Lad by Oscar H. Roesner

  1. Adventure

    by Hilda Conkling

    I went slowly through the wood of shadows,
    Thinking always I should meet some one:
    There was no one.

    I found a hollow
    Sweet to rest in all night long:
    I did not stay.

    I came out beyond the trees
    To the moaning sea.
    Over the sea swam a cloud the outline of a ship:
    What if that ship held my adventure
    Under its sails?

    Come quickly to me, come quickly,
    I am waiting.
    I am here on the sand;
    Sail close!
    I want to go over the waves . . .
    The sand holds me back.
    Oh adventure, if you belong to me,
    Don't blow away down the sky!

  2. Adventure

    by Helen Cowles LeCron

    They called it just a book. It came
    At Christmas with the other things.
    They called it just a book . . . To me,
    An eager child, it seemed to be
    A great white ship that sailed the sea—
    A ship with silver wings!

    They called it just a book, and said
    'Twas mine to keep. They never knew
    How far from home I fared that year—
    To palm-fringed beaches, white and queer,
    Where swaggered many a buccaneer,
    And opal dreams came true!
    A book . . . They never knew.

  3. Adventurers

    by Madison Cawein

    Seemingly over the hill-tops,
    Possibly under the hills,
    A tireless wing that never drops,
    And a song that never stills.

    Epics heard on the stars' lips?
    Lyrics read in the dew?—
    To sing the song at our finger-tips,
    And live the world anew!

    Cavaliers of the Cortés kind,
    Bold and stern and strong,—
    And, oh, for a fine and muscular mind
    To sing a new-world's song!

    Sailing seas of the silver morn,
    Winds of the balm and spice,
    To put the old-world art to scorn
    At the price of any price!

    Danger, death, but the hope high!
    God's, if the propose fail!
    Into the deeds of a vaster sky
    Sailing a dauntless sail.

  4. The Enchanted Traveller

    by Bliss Carman

    We travelled empty-handed
    With hearts all fear above,
    For we ate the bread of friendship,
    We drank the wine of love.

    Through many a wondrous autumn,
    Through many a magic spring,
    We hailed the scarlet banners,
    We heard the blue-bird sing.

    We looked on life and nature
    With the eager eyes of youth,
    And all we asked or cared for
    Was beauty, joy, and truth.

    We found no other wisdom,
    We learned no other way,
    Than the gladness of the morning,
    The glory of the day.

    So all our earthly treasure
    Shall go with us, my dears,
    Aboard the Shadow Liner,
    Across the sea of years.

  5. Pioneers! O Pioneers!

    by Walt Whitman

    Come, my tan-faced children,
    Follow well in order, get your weapons ready;
    Have you your pistols? have you your sharp edged axes?
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    For we cannot tarry here,
    We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
    We, the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    O you youths, western youths,
    So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship,
    Plain I see you, western youths, see you tramping with the foremost,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Have the elder races halted?
    Do they droop and end their lesson, wearied, over there beyond the seas?
    We take up the task eternal, and the burden, and the lesson,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    All the past we leave behind;
    We debouch upon a newer, mightier world, varied world,
    Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor and the march,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    We detachments steady throwing,
    Down the edges, through the passes, up the mountains steep,
    Conquering, holding, daring, venturing, as we go, the unknown ways,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    We primeval forests felling,
    We the rivers stemming, vexing we, and piercing deep the mines within;
    We the surface broad surveying, we the virgin soil upheaving,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Colorado men are we,
    From the peaks gigantic, from the great sierras and the high plateaus,
    From the mine and from the gully, from the hunting trail we come,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    From Nebraska, from Arkansas,
    Central inland race are we, from Missouri, with the continental blood intervein’d;
    All the hands of comrades clasping, all the Southern, all the Northern,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    O resistless, restless race!
    O beloved race in all! O my breast aches with tender love for all!
    O I mourn and yet exult—I am rapt with love for all,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Raise the mighty mother mistress,
    Waving high the delicate mistress, over all the starry mistress, (bend your heads all,)
    Raise the fang’d and warlike mistress, stern, impassive, weapon’d mistress,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    See, my children, resolute children,
    By those swarms upon our rear, we must never yield or falter,
    Ages back in ghostly millions, frowning there behind us urging,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    On and on, the compact ranks,
    With accessions ever waiting, with the places of the dead quickly fill’d,
    Through the battle, through defeat, moving yet and never stopping,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    O to die advancing on!
    Are there some of us to droop and die? has the hour come?
    Then upon the march we fittest die, soon and sure the gap is fill’d,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    All the pulses of the world,
    Falling in, they beat for us, with the western movement beat;
    Holding single or together, steady moving, to the front, all for us,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Life’s involv’d and varied pageants,
    All the forms and shows, all the workmen at their work,
    All the seamen and the landsmen, all the masters with their slaves,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    All the hapless silent lovers,
    All the prisoners in the prisons, all the righteous and the wicked,
    All the joyous, all the sorrowing, all the living, all the dying,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    I too with my soul and body,
    We, a curious trio, picking, wandering on our way,
    Through these shores, amid the shadows, with the apparitions pressing,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Lo! the darting bowling orb!
    Lo! the brother orbs around! all the clustering suns and planets,
    All the dazzling days, all the mystic nights with dreams,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    These are of us, they are with us,
    All for primal needed work, while the followers there in embryo wait behind,
    We to-day’s procession heading, we the route for travel clearing,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    O you daughters of the west!
    O you young and elder daughters! O you mothers and you wives!
    Never must you be divided, in our ranks you move united,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Minstrels latent on the prairies!
    (Shrouded bards of other lands! you may sleep—you have done your work;)
    Soon I hear you coming warbling, soon you rise and tramp amid us,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Not for delectations sweet;
    Not the cushion and the slipper, not the peaceful and the studious;
    Not the riches safe and palling, not for us the tame enjoyment,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Do the feasters gluttonous feast?
    Do the corpulent sleepers sleep? have they lock’d and bolted doors?
    Still be ours the diet hard, and the blanket on the ground,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Has the night descended?
    Was the road of late so toilsome? did we stop discouraged, nodding on our way?
    Yet a passing hour I yield you, in your tracks to pause oblivious,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Till with sound of trumpet,
    Far, far off the day-break call—hark! how loud and clear I hear it wind;
    Swift! to the head of the army!—swift! spring to your places,
    Pioneers! O pioneers.

  6. The Pioneers

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Thy waves, proud OHIO, in majesty roll
    Through banks with rich verdure and flowers filly dressed,
    Like the strong tide of mind—like the bright flow of soul,
    That heaves nobly on to the fair, blooming WEST.

    Thy music is set to the motion of years,
    Like thee, bearing down to a fathomless flood;
    But ours, to the march of the bold PIONEERS,
    Who purchased thy borders with peril and blood.

    They fearless went forth where the red heathen foe
    With tomahawk raised, as in ambush he lay,
    And poison-tipped arrows to speed from his bow,
    Concealed like a serpent, infested the way.

    They saw the tall flame, when the council-fire glared
    Along the deep gloom through the wilderness spread.
    They heard the loud whoop, when the knife was prepared
    Its trophy to cleave from the white victim's head!

    The apple tree then, 'mid the trees of the wood,
    They reared among savages human and brute,
    And felled the dark forest around it that stood,
    To let in the sun-beams, and ripen the fruit.

    Their footsteps are traced by the lily and vine;
    Where they lopped the boughs, stands the full-headed sheaf,
    And here, from the pillow, the oil and the wine,
    The weary find rest, and the wounded, relief.

    Where all was in nature's first wildness and night,
    Till they ventured forth, an invincible band,
    The SUN of eternity pours down his light—
    The beauty of holiness spreads o'er the land!

    Roll on, proud OHIO! and long as the voice,
    That sounds from thy waters posterity hears,
    'T will come in bold numbers to hearts that rejoice,
    In chorus responding, 'The brave PIONEERS!'

  7. Birch and Paddle

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    Friend, those delights of ours
    Under the sun and showers,—

    Athrough the noonday blue
    Sliding our light canoe,

    Or floating, hushed, at eve,
    When the dim pine-tops grieve!

    What tonic days were they
    Where shy streams dart and play,—

    Where rivers brown and strong
    As caribou bound along,

    Break into angry parle
    Where wildcat rapids snarl,

    Subside, and like a snake
    Wind to the quiet lake!

    We've paddled furtively,
    Where giant boughs hide the sky,—

    Have stolen, and held our breath,
    Thro' coverts still as death,—

    Have left with wing unstirred
    The brooding phoebe-bird,

    And hardly caused a care
    In the water-spider's lair.

    For love of his clear pipe
    We've flushed the zigzag snipe,—

    Have chased in wilful mood
    The wood-duck's flapping brood,—

    Have spied the antlered moose
    Cropping the young green spruce,

    And watched him till betrayed
    By the kingfisher's sharp tirade.

    Quitting the bodeful shades
    We've run thro' sunnier glades,

    And dropping craft and heed
    Have bid our paddles speed.

    Where the mad rapids chafe
    We've shouted, steering safe,—

    With sinew tense, nerve keen,
    Shot thro' the roar, and seen,

    With spirit wild as theirs,
    The white waves leap-like hares.

    And then, with souls grown clear
    In that sweet atmosphere,

    With influences serene
    Our blood and brain washed clean,

    We've idled down the breast
    Of broadening tides at rest,

    And marked the winds, the birds,
    The bees, the far-off herds,

    Into a drowsy tune
    Transmute the afternoon.

    So, Friend, with ears and eyes
    Which shy divinities

    Have opened with their kiss,
    We need no balm but this,—

    A little space for dreams
    On care-unsullied streams,—

    'Mid task and toil, a space
    To dream on Nature's face!

  8. Columbus

    by Helen L. Smith

    A harbor in a sunny, southern city;
    Ships at their anchor, riding in the lee;
    A little lad, with steadfast eyes, and dreamy,
    Who ever watched the waters lovingly.

    A group of sailors, quaintly garbed and bearded;
    Strange tales, that snared the fancy of the child:
    Of far-off lands, strange beasts, and birds, and people,
    Of storm and sea-fight, danger-filled and wild.

    And ever in the boyish soul was ringing
    The urging, surging challenge of the sea,
    To dare,—as these men dared, its wrath and danger,
    To learn,—as they, its charm and mystery.

    Columbus, by the sunny, southern harbor,
    You dreamed the dreams that manhood years made true;
    Thank God for men—their deeds have crowned the ages—
    Who once were little dreamy lads like you.

  9. Butterfly Adventure

    by Hilda Conkling

    I saw a butterfly
    Dark-brown and dusty
    Like a plain traveler.
    But when the sun shone on him
    He wore sapphire-blue and opal
    And winking half-moons of gold powder. . .
    All the brown vanished away!

    How could I know
    He was iridescent?
    Nature seems to hide
    When you look at her with sleepy eyes,
    But with eyes wide-open in the open light
    You see her shine to all the colors
    Of the sun.

  10. Fierce Adventures

    by Annette Wynne

    Between the bookcase and the wall
    'Is raised a castle, gray and tall,
    The desk top is a wooden moat,
    The rocking chair's a pirate boat,—
    My little boy, turned six to-day,
    Has fierce adventures in his play.

    My little maid goes venturing, too,
    O bold grim robbers—what a crew!
    She helps to take the gold—but then
    She hurries back to home again
    For she must set the things for tea
    With beautiful house-wifery.

    The table's set upon the floor,
    The pirate marches in,
    And eats and eats and asks for more
    With true piratic din.

    O ye who never knew the life
    Of dragon-hunting, golden strife
    Of pirates on a windy sea
    Returning meekly home for tea;
    Who never heard the black knight's call—
    I fear ye have not lived at all!

  11. A Norse Lad

    by Oscar H. Roesner

    He watches the great ships swinging
    Like birds on the tide's vast flow,
    And out of the past swift winging
    Come visions that grip and glow—
    Fierce fights of forgotten rover,
    Adventurous deeds and bold
    Of ancestors who sailed over
    Grim seas with some Viking old;

    And stirred by an old, old longing,
    An urge that dead ages fling,
    He thrills to memories thronging
    Of some long gone old sea king,
    And dreams with a deep emotion
    Of wonderful days to be
    When he sails over the ocean
    A thrall to its mystery.

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