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Poems About Water

Table of Contents

  1. Prairie Waters by Night by Carl Sandburg
  2. The Cataract of Lodore by Robert Southey
  3. The Little Rill by Anonymous
  4. The Outlet by Emily Dickinson
  5. The Bridge by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  6. The Flute of Spring by Bliss Carman
  7. A Sunstroke by John B. Tabb
  8. Inland Waters by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
  9. Deep Waters by Ellen P. Allerton
  10. Pebbles by Frank Dempster Sherman
  11. The Branch by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  12. At the Water by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  13. Water Noises by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  14. On Venice Waters by Ruby Archer
  15. Songs by Annette Wynne
  16. The Oasis by Andrew Downing
  17. Fountain Poems

  18. The Fountain by James Russell Lowell
  19. The Fountain Is So Happy by Annette Wynne
  20. Inscription on the Shanklin Fountain by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  21. River Poems

  22. The Old Mill by the River by Isaac McLellan
  23. The Tide River by Charles Kingsley
  24. Casco River by Daniel Clement Colesworthy
  25. The River and the Tree by Margaret E. Sangster
  26. Stream Poems

  27. The Rivulet by William Cullen Bryant
  28. The Rivulet by Lucy Larcom
  29. The Streamlet by James W. Whilt
  30. The Two Streams by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  31. To the Mountain Stream by Ruby Archer
  32. The Stream's Lesson by Frances A. Shaw
  33. To a Mountain Stream by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  34. Winter Streams by Bliss Carman
  35. Summer Streams by Bliss Carman
  36. By the Stream by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  37. Brook Poems

  38. The Brook by Alfred Tennyson
  39. The Brook by John B. Tabb
  40. A Brook by Raymond Garfield Dandridge
  41. Lake Poems

  42. Lake Ontario by Elizabeth Ellet
  43. Morning View of Lake Michigan by Ellen P. Allerton
  44. By an Inland Lake by William Stanley Braithwaite
  45. Marsh Poems

  46. The Marsh by John B. Tabb
  47. Marsh-Grass by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
  48. Swamp Poems

  49. The Edge of the Swamp by William Gilmore Simms

  1. Prairie Waters by Night

    by Carl Sandburg.

    Chatter of birds two by two raises a night song joining a litany of running water—sheer waters showing the russet of old stones remembering many rains.

    And the long willows drowse on the shoulders of the running water, and sleep from much music; joined songs of day-end, feathery throats and stony waters, in a choir chanting new psalms.

    It is too much for the long willows when low laughter of a red moon comes down; and the willows drowse and sleep on the shoulders of the running water.

  2. Inscription on the Shanklin Fountain

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    O traveller, stay thy weary feet;
    Drink of this fountain, pure and sweet;
    It flows for rich and poor the same.
    Then go thy way, remembering still
    The wayside well beneath the hill,
    The cup of water in his name.

  3. The Cataract of Lodore

    by Robert Southey

    "How does the water
    Come down at Lodore?"
    My little boy asked me
    Thus, once on a time;
    And moreover he tasked me
    To tell him in rhyme.
    Anon, at the word,
    There first came one daughter,
    And then came another,
    To second and third
    The request of their brother,
    And to hear how the water
    Comes down at Lodore,
    With its rush and its roar,
    As many a time
    They had seen it before.
    So I told them in rhyme,
    For of rhymes I had store;
    And 'twas in my vocation
    For their recreation
    That so I should sing;
    Because I was Laureate
    To them and the King.

    From its sources which well
    In the tarn on the fell;
    From its fountains
    In the mountains,
    Its rills and its gills;
    Through moss and through brake,
    It runs and it creeps
    For a while, till it sleeps
    In its own little lake.
    And thence at departing,
    Awakening and starting,
    It runs through the reeds,
    And away it proceeds,
    Through meadow and glade,
    In sun and in shade,
    And through the wood-shelter,
    Among crags in its flurry,
    Here it comes sparkling,
    And there it lies darkling;
    Now smoking and frothing
    Its tumult and wrath in,
    Till, in this rapid race
    On which it is bent,
    It reaches the place
    Of its steep descent.

    The cataract strong
    Then plunges along,
    Striking and raging
    As if a war waging
    Its caverns and rocks among;
    Rising and leaping,
    Sinking and creeping,
    Swelling and sweeping,
    Showering and springing,
    Flying and flinging,
    Writhing and ringing,
    Eddying and whisking,
    Spouting and frisking,
    Turning and twisting,
    Around and around
    With endless rebound:
    Smiting and fighting,
    A sight to delight in;
    Confounding, astounding,
    Dizzying and deafening the ear with its sound.

    Collecting, projecting,
    Receding and speeding,
    And shocking and rocking,
    And darting and parting,
    And threading and spreading,
    And whizzing and hissing,
    And dripping and skipping,
    And hitting and splitting,
    And shining and twining,
    And rattling and battling,
    And shaking and quaking,
    And pouring and roaring,
    And waving and raving,
    And tossing and crossing,
    And flowing and going,
    And running and stunning,
    And foaming and roaming,
    And dinning and spinning,
    And dropping and hopping,
    And working and jerking,
    And guggling and struggling,
    And heaving and cleaving,
    And moaning and groaning;

    And glittering and frittering,
    And gathering and feathering,
    And whitening and brightening,
    And quivering and shivering,
    And hurrying and skurrying,
    And thundering and floundering;

    Dividing and gliding and sliding,
    And falling and brawling and sprawling,
    And driving and riving and striving,
    And sprinkling and twinkling and wrinkling,
    And sounding and bounding and rounding,
    And bubbling and troubling and doubling,
    And grumbling and rumbling and tumbling,
    And clattering and battering and shattering;

    Retreating and beating and meeting and sheeting,
    Delaying and straying and playing and spraying,
    Advancing and prancing and glancing and dancing,
    Recoiling, turmoiling and toiling and boiling,
    And gleaming and streaming and steaming and beaming,
    And rushing and flushing and brushing and gushing,
    And flapping and rapping and clapping and slapping,
    And curling and whirling and purling and twirling,
    And thumping and plumping and bumping and jumping,
    And dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing;
    And so never ending, but always descending,
    Sounds and motions for ever and ever are blending
    All at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar,—
    And this way the water comes down at Lodore.

  4. The Edge of the Swamp

    by William Gilmore Simms

    'Tis a wild spot and hath a gloomy look;
    The bird sings never merrily in the trees,
    And the young leaves seem blighted. A rank growth
    Spreads poisonously round, with pow'r to taint,
    With blistering dews, the thoughtless hand that dares
    To penetrate the covert. Cypresses
    Crowd on the dank, wet earth; and, stretched at length,
    The cayman—a fit dweller in such home—
    Slumbers, half buried in the sedgy grass,
    Beside the green ooze where he shelters him.
    A whooping crane erects his skeleton form,
    And shrieks in flight. Two summer ducks, aroused
    To apprehension as they hear his cry,
    Dash up from the lagoon with marvellous haste,
    Following his guidance. Meetly taught by these,
    And startled at our rapid, near approach,
    The steel-jawed monster, from his grassy bed,
    Crawls slowly to his slimy, green abode,
    Which straight receives him. You behold him now,
    His ridgy back uprising as he speeds
    In silence to the centre of tile stream,
    Whence his head peers alone. A butterfly,
    That, travelling all the day, has counted climes
    Only by flowers, to rest himself a while,
    Lights on the monster's brow. The surly mute
    Straightway goes down so suddenly, that he,
    The dandy of the summer flow'rs and woods,
    Dips his light wings and spoils his golden coat
    With the rank water of that turbid pond.
    Wondering and vex'd, the pluméd citizen
    Flies, with an hurried effort, to the shore,
    Seeking his kindred flow'rs; but seeks in vain:
    Nothing of genial growth may there be seen,
    Nothing of beautiful! Wild, ragged trees,
    That look like felon spectres—fetid shrubs,
    That taint the gloomy atmosphere—dusk shades,
    That gather, half a cloud and half a fiend
    In aspect, lurking on the swamp's wild edge—
    Gloom with their sternness and forbidding frowns
    The general prospect. The sad butterfly,
    Waving his lacker'd wings, darts quickly on,
    And, by his free flight, counsels us to speed
    For better lodgings, and a scene more sweet
    Than these drear borders offer us to-night.

  5. The Little Rill

    by Anonymous

    Run, run, thou tiny rill;
    Run, and turn the village mill;
    Run, and fill the deep, clear pool
    In the woodland's shade so cool,
    Where the sheep love best to stray
    In the sultry summer day;
    Where the wild birds bathe and drink,
    And the wild flowers fringe the brink.

    Run, run, thou tiny rill,
    Round the rocks, and down the hill;
    Sing to every child like me;
    The birds will join you, full of glee:
    And we will listen to the song
    You sing, your rippling course along.

  6. The Fountain

    By James Russell Lowell, one of the most noted of American poets; also well known as an essayist and lecturer. He was born at Cambridge, Mass., in 1819, and died there in 1891.

    Into the sunshine,
    Full of the light,
    Leaping and flashing,
    From morn till night!

    Into the moonlight,
    Whiter than snow,
    Waving so flower-like
    When the winds blow!

    Into the starlight,
    Rushing in spray,
    Happy at midnight,
    Happy by day!

    Ever in motion,
    Blithesome and cheery,
    Still climbing heavenward,
    Never aweary;

    Glad of all weathers,
    Still seeming best,
    Upward or downward,
    Motion, thy rest;

    Full of a nature
    Nothing can tame,
    Changed every moment,
    Ever the same;

    Ceaseless aspiring,
    Ceaseless content,
    Darkness or sunshine
    Thy element;

    Glorious fountain!
    Let my heart be
    Fresh, changeful, constant,
    Upward like thee!

  7. The Fountain Is So Happy

    by Annette Wynne

    The fountain is so happy.
    The fountain is so glad,
    You cannot make it sorry
    You cannot make it sad.

    It loves the sunshine and the air,
    It loves to spring and dart,
    But all the fountain's joyousness
    Begins inside its heart.

    It bubbles up with happiness,
    It sparkles all day through,
    It bubbles and flows over
    And shares its joy with you.

  8. The Outlet

    by Emily Dickinson

    My river runs to thee:
    Blue sea, wilt welcome me?

    My river waits reply.
    Oh sea, look graciously!

    I'll fetch thee brooks
    From spotted nooks, —

    Say, sea,
    Take me!

  9. The Bridge

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    I stood on the bridge at midnight,
    As the clocks were striking the hour,
    And the moon rose o'er the city,
    Behind the dark church tower.

    I saw her bright reflection
    In the waters under me,
    Like a golden goblet falling
    And sinking into the sea.

    And far in the hazy distance
    Of that lovely night in June,
    The blaze of the flaming furnace
    Gleamed redder than the moon.

    Among the long, black rafters
    The wavering shadows lay,
    And the current that came from the ocean
    Seemed to lift and bear them away;

    As, sweeping and eddying through them,
    Rose the belated tide,
    And, streaming into the moonlight,
    The seaweed floated wide.

    And like those waters rushing
    Among the wooden piers,
    A flood of thoughts came o'er me
    That filled my eyes with tears

    How often, oh, how often,
    In the days that had gone by,
    I had stood on that bridge at midnight
    And gazed on that wave and sky!

    How often, oh, how often,
    I had wished that the ebbing tide
    Would bear me away on its bosom
    O'er the ocean wild and wide.

    For my heart was hot and restless,
    And my life was full of care,
    And the burden laid upon me
    Seemed greater than I could bear.

    But now it has fallen from me,
    It is buried in the sea;
    And only the sorrow of others
    Throws its shadow over me.

    Yet, whenever I cross the river
    On its bridge with wooden piers,
    Like the odor of brine from the ocean
    Comes the thought of other years.

    And I think how many thousands
    Of care-encumbered men,
    Each bearing his burden of sorrow,
    Have crossed the bridge since then.

    I see the long procession
    Still passing to and fro,
    The young heart hot and restless,
    And the old, subdued and slow!

    And forever and forever,
    As long as the river flows,
    As long as the heart has passions,
    As long as life has woes;

    The moon and its broken reflection
    And its shadows shall appear
    As the symbol of love in heaven,
    And its wavering image here.

  10. The Flute of Spring

    by Bliss Carman

    I know a shining meadow stream
    That winds beneath an Eastern hill,
    And all year long in sun or gloom
    Its murmuring voice is never still.

    The summer dies more gently there,
    The April flowers are earlier,—
    The first warm rain-wind from the Sound
    Sets all their eager hearts astir.

    And there when lengthening twilights fall
    As softly as a wild bird's wing,
    Across the valley in the dusk
    I hear the silver flute of spring.

  11. A Sunstroke

    by John B. Tabb

    The Sun courted Water,
    Earth's loveliest daughter,
    And strove to abduct her in vain:
    For, when he had caught her,
    And to the clouds brought her,
    Home she came running in rain.

  12. Ice

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    When Winter scourged the meadow and the hill
    And in the withered leafage worked his will,
    The water shrank, and shuddered, and stood still,—
    Then built himself a magic house of glass,
    Irised with memories of flowers and grass,
    Wherein to sit and watch the fury pass.

  13. The Summer Pool

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    This is a wonder-cup in Summer's hand.
    Sombre, impenetrable, round its rim
    The fir-trees bend and brood. The noons o'erbrim
    The windless hollow of its iris'd strand
    With mote-thick sun and water-breathings bland.
    Under a veil of lilies lurk and swim
    Strange shapes of presage in a twilight dim,
    Unwitting heirs of light and life's command.

    Blind in their bondage, of no change they dream,
    But the trees watch in grave expectancy.
    The spell fulfils,—and swarms of radiant flame,
    Live jewels, above the crystal dart and gleam,
    Nor guess the sheen beneath their wings to be
    The dark and narrow regions whence they came.

  14. Brooklyn Bridge

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    No lifeless thing of iron and stone,
    But sentient, as her children are,
    Nature accepts you for her own,
    Kin to the cataract and the star.

    She marks your vast, sufficing plan,
    Cable and girder, bolt and rod,
    And takes you, from the hand of man,
    As some new handiwork of God.

    You thrill through all your chords of steel
    Responsive to the living sun,
    And quickening in your nerves you feel
    Life with its conscious currents run.

    Your anchorage upbears the march
    Of time and the eternal powers.
    The sky admits your perfect arch.
    The rock respects your stable towers.

  15. The Meeting of the Waters

    by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

    Flowing streams in all your windings stray,
    And fill the bosom of the swelling deep,
    There welcome to the home of waters stay,
    Where all your murmurs gently sink to sleep.

    Thus friendship, sweet resemblance of your course,
    In numerous channels the blest union fills;
    And as the dew of Hermon gently pours,
    It falls on Zion, fairest of the hills.

  16. Song of the Chattahoochee

    by Sidney Lanier

    Out of the hills of Habersham,
    Down the valleys of Hall,
    I hurry amain to reach the plain,
    Run the rapid and leap the fall,
    Split at the rock and together again,
    Accept my bed, or narrow or wide,
    And flee from folly on every side
    With a lover's pain to attain the plain
    Far from the hills of Habersham,
    Far from the valleys of Hall.

    All down the hills of Habersham,
    All through the valleys of Hall,
    The rushes cried "Abide, abide,"
    The wilful waterweeds held me thrall,
    The laving laurel turned my tide,
    The ferns and the fondling grass said "Stay,"
    The dewberry dipped for to work delay,
    And the little reeds sighed "Abide, abide
    Here in the hills of Habersham,
    Here in the valleys of Hall."

    High o'er the hills of Habersham,
    Veiling the valleys of Hall,
    The hickory told me manifold
    Fair tales of shade, the poplar tall
    Wrought me her shadowy self to hold,
    The chestnut, the oak, the walnut, the pine,
    O'erleaning, with flickering meaning and sign,
    Said, "Pass not, so cold, these manifold
    Deep shades of the hills of Habersham,
    These glades in the valleys of Hall."

    And oft in the hills of Habersham,
    And oft in the valleys of Hall,
    The white quartz shone, and the smooth brookstone
    Did bar me of passage with friendly brawl,
    And many a luminous jewel lone
    —Crystals clear or a-cloud with mist,
    Ruby, garnet, and amethyst—
    Made lures with the lights of streaming stone,
    In the clefts of the hills of Habersham,
    In the beds of the valleys of Hall.

    But oh, not the hills of Habersham,
    And oh, not the valleys of Hall
    Avail: I am fain for to water the plain.
    Downward the voices of Duty call—
    Downward, to toil and be mixed with the main.
    The dry fields burn, and the mills are to turn,
    And a myriad flowers mortally yearn,
    And the lordly main from beyond the plain
    Calls o'er the hills of Habersham,
    Calls through the valleys of Hall.

  17. The River and the Tree

    by Margaret E. Sangster

    "You are white and tall and swaying," sang the river to the tree,
    "And your leaves are touched with silver—but you never smile on me;
    For your branches murmur love songs to the sun-kissed turquoise sky,
    And you seem so far above me that I always hurry by!"

    "You are laughing in your shallows, you are somber in your deeps,
    And below your shining surface there's a heart that never sleeps;
    But all day you pass me, dancing, and at evening time you dream,
    And I didn't think you liked me," sang the birch-tree to the stream.

    So they got a bit acquainted on a glowing summer day,
    And they found they liked each other (which is often times the way);
    And the river got so friendly, and it ran so very slow,
    That the birch-tree shone reflected in the water down below!

  18. The River's Lesson

    by William Osborn Stoddard

    Under the canopied bank we lie,
    And the muddy river is rushing by,
    Yellow and foul from its eddying stray
    Through a thousand miles of wandering way,
    Gross and turbid;—and yet, I know
    That this same troubled and mingled flow
    Shall one day clear as the crystal be,
    After it dies in the deep, far sea.

    I have watched it long, with an aching brow,
    Bending above it, and wonder now
    If the river, so full of grime and strife,
    May not be an emblem of human life,
    And if many a soul that has wandered and toiled,
    All corrupted and gross and soiled,
    At the end may not calmly glide
    Into that last great swallowing tide,
    And clear and pure as the crystal be,
    After it dies in that deep, far sea.

  19. The Tide River

    by Charles Kingsley

    Clear and cool, clear and cool,
    By laughing shallow, and dreaming pool;
    Cool and clear, cool and clear,
    By shining shingle, and foaming weir;
    Under the crag where the ouzel sings,
    And the ivied wall where the church-bell rings,
    Undefiled, for the undefiled;
    Play by me, bathe in me, mother and child.

    Dank and foul, dank and foul,
    By the smoky town in its murky cowl;
    Foul and dank, foul and dank,
    By wharf and sewer and slimy bank;
    Darker and darker the further I go,
    Baser and baser the richer I grow;
    Who dare sport with the sin defiled?
    Shrink from me, turn from me, mother and child.

    Strong and free, strong and free,
    The flood-gates are open, away to the sea;
    Free and strong, free and strong,
    Cleansing my streams as I hurry along
    To the golden sands, and the leaping bar,
    And the taintless tide that awaits me afar;
    As I lose myself in the infinite main,
    Like a soul that has sinned and is pardoned again.
    Undefiled, for the undefiled,
    Play by me, bathe in me, mother and child.

  20. Inland Waters

    by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

    Inland waters by the sea,
    Sad in your tranquillity,
    How good if you could share the shock
    Of breakers beating on the rock;
    How good if you could fly in spray
    On your rainbow wings away;
    How good if sea-gulls on your breast,
    With wide wings dipping, came to rest!

    How dull it is that you should stay
    Locked within your hills alway;
    How sad it is you cannot know
    Great ships passing to and fro;
    How calm the winds that bring no breath
    Of terror, danger, pain, and death!—
    And yet how many lives must be
    Like inland waters by the sea.

  21. Deep Waters

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    Laughing and shouting its rocks among,
    The brook threads the upland lea:
    But, for all its song so loudly sung,
    And the small uproar of its babbling tongue,
    'Tis a shallow thing in its glee.

    Solemn and still doth the river go,
    As it winds through its vale of rest:
    Calm is its mien and its tide is slow,
    Smooth is its face and its voice is low—
    Yet fleets may ride on its breast.

    Oh! the river is great in its silent might,
    As it rolleth eternally:
    But, with all its calm, so still, so bright,
    In a passionate longing day and night,
    It stretches its hands to the sea.

    The brook and the river are each alike;
    And the one all men may know;
    For its fretful current with noises rife,
    And its grief and joy, and its petty strife,
    Are seen in its shallow flow.

    The other so peaceful seems,
    So still; and we fancy a soul at rest:
    But, little we know what strength of will,
    What mighty pulses that throb and thrill,
    Are hid in the silent breast.

    A clear, cool eye, with a changeless glow,
    The clasp of a steady palm,
    May cover the tide that sweeps below,
    In a strong and resistless undertow,
    Yet we say, "how cool and calm!"

  22. Pebbles

    by Frank Dempster Sherman

    Out of a pellucid brook
    Pebbles round and smooth I took;
    Like a jewel, every one
    Caught a color from the sun, —
    Ruby red and sapphire blue,
    Emerald and onyx too,
    Diamond and amethyst, —
    Not a precious stone I missed;
    Gems I held from every land
    In the hollow of my hand.

    Workman Water these had made;
    Patiently through sun and shade,
    With the ripples of the rill
    He had polished them, until
    Smooth, symmetrical and bright,
    Each one sparkling in the light
    Showed within its burning heart
    All the lapidary’s art;
    And the brook seemed thus to sing:
    Patience conquers everything!

  23. The Branch

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    We stopped at the branch on the way to the hill.
    We stopped at the water a while and played.
    We hid our things by the osage tree
    And took off our shoes and stockings to wade.

    There is sand at the bottom that bites at your feet,
    And there is a rock where the waterfall goes.
    You can poke your foot in the foamy part
    And feel how the water runs over your toes.

    The little black spiders that walk on the top
    Of the water are hard and stiff and cool.
    And I saw some wiggletails going around,
    And some slippery minnows that live in the pool.

    And where it is smooth there is moss on a stone,
    And where it is shallow and almost dry
    The rocks are broken and hot in the sun,
    And a rough little water goes hurrying by.

  24. At the Water

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    I liked to go to the branch today;
    I liked to play with the wiggletails there.
    And five little smells and one big smell
    Were going round in the air.

    One was the water, a little cold smell,
    And one was mud and that was more,
    And one was the smell of cool wet moss,
    And one was some fennel up on the shore.

    And the one big smell came out of the mint,
    And one was something I couldn't tell.
    And the five little ones and the big one
    All went together very well.

  25. Water Noises

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    When I am playing by myself,
    And all the boys are lost around,
    Then I can hear the water go;
    It makes a little talking sound.

    Along the rocks below the tree,
    I see it ripple up and wink;
    And I can hear it saying on,
    "And do you think? And do you think?"

    A bug shoots by that snaps and ticks,
    And a bird flies up beside the tree
    To go into the sky to sing.
    I hear it say, "Killdee, killdee!"

    Or else a yellow cow comes down
    To splash a while and have a drink.
    But when she goes I still can hear
    The water say, "And do you think?"

  26. Casco River

    by Daniel Clement Colesworthy

    Of the rivers bright and golden,
    Rolling onward to the sea,
    In their beauty and their grandeur,
    Thou the dearest art to me.

    I have seen the Juniata
    Sweep its verdant banks along;
    Listened to the Rappahannock
    In its rudest, wildest song;

    I have watched the broad Ohio,
    Swelling from a thousand streams,
    And the quiet, meek Scioto,
    Brighter than a poet's dreams;

    Heard the roaring of Niagara,
    Wonder of the western world;
    Seen the towering, icy mountains
    In its "hell of waters" hurled;

    Stood beside the Susquehanna,
    And the rolling Merrimack;
    On the noble Mississippi
    Marked the Indian s arrowy track;

    By the beauteous Androscoggin
    In a trance of glory stood,
    Listening to a thousand echoes
    From the deep, surrounding wood;

    In Penobscot's verdant valley
    Lingered with the savage wild,
    Till I seemed to catch the spirit
    Of untutored nature's child;

    On the banks of sinuous Nonesuch
    Lingered many a sunny day,
    Till the evening shadows tore me
    From my peaceful joys away;

    Sailed upon the glorious Hudson,
    Floated on old Congin's breast;
    But such beauties never stirred me
    As on Casco's bosom rest.

    Golden river! well I love thee—
    Heaven of childhood's happy day,
    When upon thy sparkling waters
    I was wont to leap and play.

    Gone are schoolmates; cot and palace
    Crumbled by the tooth of time;
    But thou rollest in thy beauty,
    Filling me with thoughts sublime

    Generations come and linger
    For a season and are gone,
    But, unchanging and forever,
    Gloriously thou rollest on.

  27. On Venice Waters

    by Ruby Archer

    It is night in Venice,—night.
    Ah—forever let us dream
    In the starry mystic gleam
    On the drifting walls alight
    With a pale, reflected glamor
    Of the waters' dusk and white.

    In a gondola we glide
    By those ancient palace walls,
    And anon soft music falls,—
    Crystal music on the tide,
    While a sculptured Fate or Amor
    Half-revealed, the shadows hide.

    Arch of white divides the gloom,
    And a deeper shade beneath
    Marks a bridge where many a wreath
    In old days of war and doom
    Passed above in joy or sorrow—
    Laurel crown or deck of tomb.

    Mark the long, lithe silhouette
    Of the leaning gondolier,
    And his languored singing hear,—
    Jewel words in silver set.
    How the untrained accents borrow
    Beauty from unknown regret!

  28. The Old Mill by the River

    by Isaac McLellan

    Here in the years when life was bright
    With dewy mornings and sunset light,
    In the pleasant season of leafy June,
    In each idle, holiday afternoon
    I lov'd to wander with willow wand—
    I lov'd on the river border to stand
    And take the trout or the yellow bream
    That leap'd, that glanc'd athwart the stream.

    With broken window, with hingeless door,
    Thro' which the slanting sunbeams pour;
    With leaning gable, and settling wall,
    O'er which the draperied ivies fall;
    With rafter moldy, worm-eaten beam,
    O'er which the silken cobwebs stream,
    Fast by the river-banks serene
    The old forsaken mill is seen.
    Its roof shows many a chasm and rent,
    Its creaking vane is crack'd and bent,
    In and out the swallows fly
    Under the eaves their dwellings lie.
    The leather-wing'd bats, when day is dim,
    Thro' vacant rooms and granaries skim;
    Its shingles that ages ago were new,
    Splendid with painters' lavish hue,
    Are faded now and swing in the gale,
    Scarce held by the loosen'd rusty nail;
    The clapboards rattle and clank amain
    In gusts of the snow-fall and the rain,
    For the dust of many a lapsing year
    Hath writ its wasteful chronicle here.
    The dam o'er which the waters pour
    Is settling and crumbling by the shore;
    The slippery logs and mossy stone
    Yield to the current one by one;
    And swift thro' many a rent abyss
    The spouting rivulets foam and hiss,
    And soon must the crazy fabric decay,
    And the torrent sweep uncheck'd away.
    The water-wheel so black and vast,
    With beam like a battle-vessel's mast
    That once would churn with mighty sweep
    The boiling waters so dark and deep,
    Lies now a wreck in humbled pride,
    Trembling with each assault of the tide.
    Under the crumbling, blacken'd wheel
    The crystal bubbles circle and reel;
    Over and under the eddies boil
    Round molder'd timber and rotting post;
    In many a circling ripple they coil
    In sudden plunge, in wild turmoil,
    Now seen an instant, then quickly lost.

  29. Songs

    by Annette Wynne

    The brook has a way to spend the day
    Lords and ladies never know,
    Going where it wants to go,
    Running where it wants to run,
    In the shadows, in the sun,
    Where the little minnows play,
    That's the way to spend the day,
    Says the brook.

    The bird has a way to spend the day
    Different from the brook and you,
    Flying where the skies are blue,
    Over turrets, chimneys, winging
    All its heart in small songs flinging,
    Every note and twist is play,
    That's the way to spend the day,
    Says the bird.

  30. The Oasis

    by Andrew Downing

    Deep in the desert's fiery heart—
    From bloom and verdure far apart—
    A fountain thrust its helping hand
    Up through the arid, burning sand;
    And lo! embroidery of green
    Along its silent course was seen;
    Its waters wandered o'er the plain
    To bless "The Land of Little Rain."

    So in some desert-place of life,
    Where drouth prevails, and storms are rife,
    Some healing fountain, hid from sight,
    Some radiant sun of love and light,
    Some potent sovereign of the hour,
    Asserts its strange, mysterious power—
    Repeats the miracle of spring,
    And sets the desert blossoming.

  31. Children Bringing Water from a Spring

    by Lydia Sigourney

    Ye have found the wealth of the gushing spring,
    Where the verdant branches meet,
    And your simple vases have freely fill'd
    With its sparkling waters sweet.

    While watching, perchance, at the cottage door,
    Your mother exults to see
    Her beautiful ones, returning home
    With their innocent smile of glee.

    And when the heat of the noon is high,
    Your father, amid his care,
    Will lean on the top of his shining spade,
    And bless the draught ye bear.

    But ye are drinking of childhood's spring,
    Whose bubbling waters clear,
    Have never a poisonous weed to sting,
    Or a dreg of guilt and fear.

    Have ye heard of a spring that doth never fail,
    'Mid the summer's parching heat?
    Which Winter hath never had power to seal,
    Or to staunch with his icy feet?

    Have ye heard of a fount that can cleanse the heart,
    And peace to the lost restore?
    Go seek for it now, in the dawn of your life,
    And taste it, and thirst no more.

    Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

    – John 4:9-11
    The Bible, KJV
  32. Lake Poems

  33. Lake Ontario

    by Elizabeth Ellet

    Deep thoughts o'ershade my spirit while I gaze
    Upon the blue depths of thy mighty breast:
    Thy glassy face is bright with sunset rays,
    And thy far-stretching waters are at rest,
    Save the small wave that on thy margin plays,
    Lifting to summer airs its flashing crest;
    While the fleet hues across thy surface driven,
    Mingle afar in the embrace of heaven.

    Thy smile is glorious when the morning's spring
    Gives half its glowing beauty to the deep;
    When the dusk swallow dips his drooping wing,
    And the gay winds that o'er thy bosom sweep,
    Tribute from dewy woods and violets bring,
    Thy restless billows in their gifts to steep.
    Thou'rt beautiful when evening moonbeams shine,
    And the soft hour of night and stars is thine.

    Thou hast thy tempests, too; the lightning's home
    Is near thee, though unseen; thy peaceful shore,
    When storms have lash'd these waters into foam,
    Echoes full oft the pealing thunder's roar.
    Thou hast dark trophies: the unhonour'd tomb
    Of those now sought and wept on earth no more:
    Full many a goodly form, the loved and brave,
    Lies whelm'd and still beneath thy sullen wave.

    The world was young with thee; this swelling flood
    As proudly swell'd, as purely met the sky,
    When sound of life roused not the ancient wood,
    Save the wild eagle's scream, or panther's cry.
    Here on this verdant bank the savage stood,
    And shook his dart and battle-axe on high,
    While hues of slaughter tinged thy billows blue,
    As deeper and more close the conflict grew.

    Here, too, at early morn, the hunter's song
    Was heard from wooded isle and grassy glade;
    And here at eve, these cluster'd bowers among,
    The low, sweet carol of the Indian maid,
    Chiding the slumbering breeze and shadows long,
    That kept her lingering lover from the shade:
    While, scarcely seen, thy willing waters o'er,
    Sped the light bark that bore him to the shore.

    Those scenes are past. The spirit of changing years
    Has breathed on all around save thee alone.
    More faintly the receding woodland hears
    Thy voice, once full and joyous as its own.
    Nations have gone from earth, nor trace appears
    To tell their tale—forgotten or unknown.
    Yet here, unchanged, untamed, thy waters lie,
    Azure, and clear, and boundless as the sky.

  34. Morning View of Lake Michigan

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    Here on this rugged bluff I stand alone
    And look out on the waters. Could I tell—
    Which I cannot—all that I see and feel;
    Could I but give the swelling thoughts a tone
    That press up to my lips—a song so sweet,
    So thrilling in its tuneful harmonies,
    Should send out on the air its rythmic beat,
    That heedless wights should pause amid the street,
    And listen with bowed heads and tearful eyes.

    My eyes are wet. The beauty of the lake
    At this still morning hour, draped in its veil
    Of dreamy mist so soft, transluscent, pale;
    Its music, as the blue waves gently break,
    Move me to tears. Yet am I all alone;
    No sympathetic glances kindle mine,
    No answering eye, where kindred feelings shine,
    Another heart interprets to my own.

    Ah, well! Here are the softly gleaming waves,
    Here are the gold-fringed clouds, above, below,
    Which from yon heaven and from the waters glow;
    Here is sunshine, which my forehead laves,
    And there the white-winged ships go sailing by;
    The cool wind blows, and lightly lifts my hair.
    Can there be solitude amid a scene so fair?
    Can one be lonely with such company?

    Behind me lies the city, fast asleep,
    Save early workmen going to their toil
    With sounding tread. The long day's dusty moil
    Clanks not along the streets. The convent bell,
    Whose tones above the dreamers softly swell,
    Unheeded, troubles not their slumber deep.
    The sleeping city and pale blue lake,
    The convent bell, the low waves' ceaseless break,
    The morning mists—all these shall memory keep.

  35. By an Inland Lake

    by William Stanley Braithwaite

    Long drawn, the cool, green shadows
    Steal o'er the lake's warm breast,
    And the ancient silence follows
    The burning sun to rest.

    The calm of a thousand summers,
    And dreams of countless Junes,
    Return when the lake-wind murmurs
    Thro' golden, August noons.

  36. Marsh Poems

  37. The Marsh

    by John B. Tabb

    The woods have voices, and the sea,
    Her choral-son and threnody:
    But thou alike to sun and rain
    Dost mute and motionless remain.

    As pilgrims to the shrine of Sleep,
    Through all thy solemn spaces creep
    The Tides — a moment on thy breast
    To pause in sacramental rest;
    Then, flooded with the mystery,
    To sink reluctant to the sea,
    In landward loneliness to yearn
    Till to thy bosom they return.

  38. Marsh-Grass

    by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

    I saw the marsh-grass blowing;
    It took me far away;
    For I was bom where marsh-grass
    Was endlessly at play.

    Its ripples were the gladdest things
    That one could ever see,
    So who would think that marsh-grass
    Would bring the tears to me?

  39. The Streamlet

    by James W. Whilt

    Tell me little streamlet,
    As you onward flow;
    Why in such a hurry,
    Whither do you go?

    The stream slowed up a moment
    Within the alder's shade;
    "I go to join my brothers,
    And of us are rivers made.

    We water the hills and meadows,
    We turn the mills' great wheel,
    We carry logs to the mill-dam,
    Where they're cut by teeth of steel.

    We furnish power for the motor
    That pulls the railroad train;
    And after they have used our power,
    It is given back again.

    So you see we enjoy working,
    That's why we laugh all day,
    For when one's heart is in one's work,
    Why! work is greatest play!

    And growing broader and deeper,
    We carry ships on our breasts,
    'Till at last we reach the ocean,
    And there we have time to rest."

  40. The Two Streams

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

    Behold the rocky wall
    That down its sloping sides
    Pours the swift rain-drops, blending as they fall,
    In rushing river-tides!

    Yon stream, whose sources run
    Turned by a pebble's edge,
    Is Athabasca, rolling toward the sun
    Through the cleft mountain-ledge.

    The slender rill had strayed,
    But for the slanting stone,
    To evening's ocean, with the tangled braid
    Of foam-flecked Oregon.

    So from the heights of Will
    Life's parting stream descends,
    And, as a moment turns its slender rill,
    Each widening torrent bends,—

    From the same cradle's side,
    From the same mother's knee,—
    One to long darkness and the frozen tide,
    One to the Peaceful Sea!

  41. The Stream's Lesson

    by Frances A. Shaw

    See'st thou a joy of happy days
    Flit from thy love and yearning,
    'Tis well into a stream to gaze,
    Where all goes past returning.

    To read the lesson written here;
    No boon that mortals cherish,
    No love, no friendship, howe'er dear,
    But on time's tide shall perish.

    Look steadfastly, and surely know,
    Bereft one, 'mid thy weeping,
    That howe'er fast thy tears may flow,
    Faster the tide is sweeping.

    Learn that oblivion follows grief,
    For lost days, friend or lover;
    That life, like joy and woe is brief,—
    It too is passing over.

  42. To the Mountain Stream

    by Ruby Archer

    High on the mountain top
    The sun and snow
    Were wed.
    Thou art their child,
    And free hast fled
    To far-off worlds below
    With impulse wild.
    Snow-pure, yet vital as the sun
    Thy heart is.
    Thou carolest the dream,
    The fond, eternal dream
    Of Mother Nature, ever-loving one.
    Thou art so pulsing near
    The earth and stone,
    Thy listening may hear
    The thrilling tone
    Of all creation's under-song.
    Sing loud, sing long
    The cadence to mine ear—
    I love it!
    The mountain spirits live
    And move in joy
    In thy light motion.
    The wild flowers give
    Their delicate, pure limbs
    Unto thy spray to lave.
    They crave
    Thy pool that brims
    Upon the rocks—
    Great castles of the storm-kings—
    Thy pretty shocks
    Go misting
    In rainbow banners bright.
    Now mingled day and night
    Of shadow-hearted canon
    A moment holds thee
    All unresisting,
    And roughly folds thee
    In arms of stone.
    On, swift, impetuous,
    Light leaping
    Out of the narrow channel
    Unto the broad sun-sea,
    Heedless of weeping
    In the mosses far behind.
    O Bright, O Pure, O Free!
    Brother of Cloud and Wind!
    Thou fling'st a jeweled gauntlet
    To the aspen and the pine.
    Look how the boulders kneel
    To quaff thy brightness.
    Pity them—ne'er to feel
    Thy wayward lightness.
    Like a young deer
    Thy springing leap
    Bids fear
    Now broadening languorously
    Thy lucent breast
    Gives mirror to a flight of clouds
    And pallid daylight moon.
    A lightsome bridge
    From ridge to ridge
    Bounds playfully above thee,
    And pauses there entranced
    Perforce to love thee.
    O Mountain Stream,
    Fleet as a dream,
    Wild as a wish all unsubdued,—
    Thy power to sing
    Thy thought,
    To find release
    For impulse in thee.
    Alone doth bring
    What long I sought—
    A conquering sense of peace!

  43. To a Mountain Stream

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    Glad as childish laughter
    From a childish throng,
    Sweet as bird voice after
    Daybreak is your song.

    Racing down the mountain
    On your shining feet,
    Waltzing at the fountain
    To its love song sweet.

    On and on you travel,
    Leaving me behind,
    Like a silken ravel
    With the weeds you wind.

    Laughing at distresses;
    Braving battles, too;
    Who your trouble guesses,
    And your sorrow—who?

    Tell me as you hurry
    Through the stubble field,
    Why not stop to worry—
    But no frown’s revealed.

    Sometime you must weary
    Of this constant strife;
    When the clouds are dreary,
    Tire you not of life?

    Of the dead leaves drifted
    On your saddened face,
    And the snow flakes sifted
    From the cloudland place?

    Yet you ne’er repineth,
    But alike content
    With the sun that shineth,
    And the rainstorm sent.

    Teach me half the beauty
    That your heart must know,
    And through fields of duty
    Like you, will I go.

  44. Winter Streams

    by Bliss Carman

    Now the little rivers go
    Muffled safely under snow,

    And the winding meadow streams
    Murmur in their wintry dreams,

    While a tinkling music wells
    Faintly from there icy bells,

    Telling how their hearts are bold
    Though the very sun be cold.

    Ah, but wait until the rain
    Comes a-sighing once again,

    Sweeping softly from the Sound
    Over ridge and meadow ground!

    Then the little streams will hear
    April calling far and near, —

    Slip their snowy bands and run
    Sparkling in the welcome sun.

  45. Summer Streams

    by Bliss Carman

    All day long beneath the sun
    Shining through the fields they run,

    Singing in a cadence known
    To the seraphs round the throne.

    And the traveller drawing near
    Through the meadow, halts to hear

    Anthems of a natural joy
    No disaster can destroy.

    All night long from set of sun
    Through the starry woods they run,

    Singing through the purple dark
    Songs to make a traveller hark.

    All night long, when winds are low,
    Underneath my window go

    The immortal happy streams,
    Making music through my dreams.

  46. By the Stream

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    By the stream I dream in calm delight, and watch as in a glass,
    How the clouds like crowds of snowy-hued and white-robed maidens pass,
    And the water into ripples breaks and sparkles as it spreads,
    Like a host of armored knights with silver helmets on their heads.
    And I deem the stream an emblem fit of human life may go,
    For I find a mind may sparkle much and yet but shallows show,
    And a soul may glow with myriad lights and wondrous mysteries,
    When it only lies a dormant thing and mirrors what it sees.

  47. The Rivulet

    by William Cullen Bryant

    This little rill that, from the springs
    Of yonder grove, its current brings,
    Plays on the slope a while, and then
    Goes prattling into groves again,
    Oft to its warbling waters drew
    My little feet, when life was new.
    When woods in early green were dressed,
    And from the chambers of the west
    The warmer breezes, travelling out,
    Breathed the new scent of flowers about,
    My truant steps from home would stray,
    Upon its grassy side to play,
    List the brown thrasher's vernal hymn,
    And crop the violet on its brim,
    With blooming cheek and open brow,
    As young and gay, sweet rill, as thou.

    And when the days of boyhood came,
    And I had grown in love with fame,
    Duly I sought thy banks, and tried
    My first rude numbers by thy side.
    Words cannot tell how bright and gay
    The scenes of life before me lay.
    Then glorious hopes, that now to speak
    Would bring the blood into my cheek,
    Passed o'er me; and I wrote, on high,
    A name I deemed should never die.

    Years change thee not. Upon yon hill
    The tall old maples, verdant still,
    Yet tell, in grandeur of decay,
    How swift the years have passed away,
    Since first, a child, and half afraid,
    I wandered in the forest shade.
    Thou, ever joyous rivulet,
    Dost dimple, leap, and prattle yet;
    And sporting with the sands that pave
    The windings of thy silver wave,
    And dancing to thy own wild chime,
    Thou laughest at the lapse of time.
    The same sweet sounds are in my ear
    My early childhood loved to hear;
    As pure thy limpid waters run,
    As bright they sparkle to the sun;
    As fresh and thick the bending ranks
    Of herbs that line thy oozy banks;
    The violet there, in soft May dew,
    Comes up, as modest and as blue;
    As green amid thy current's stress,
    Floats the scarce-rooted watercress;
    And the brown ground-bird, in thy glen,
    Still chirps as merrily as then.

    Thou changest not—but I am changed,
    Since first thy pleasant banks I ranged;
    And the grove stranger, come to see
    The play-place of his infancy,
    Has scarce a single trace of him
    Who sported once upon thy brim.
    The visions of my youth are past—
    Too bright, too beautiful to last.
    I've tried the world—it wears no more
    The colouring of romance it wore.
    Yet well has Nature kept the truth
    She promised to my earliest youth
    The radiant beauty, shed abroad
    On all the glorious works of God,
    Shows freshly, to my sobered eye,
    Each charm it wore in days gone by.

    A few brief years shall pass away,
    And I, all trembling, weak, and gray,
    Bowed to the earth, which waits to fold
    My ashes in the embracing mould
    (If haply the dark will of fate
    Indulge my life so long a date),
    May come for the last time to look
    Upon my childhood's favourite brook.
    Then dimly on my eye shall gleam
    The sparkle of thy dancing stream;
    And faintly on my ear shall fall
    Thy prattling current's merry call;
    Yet shalt thou flow as glad and bright
    As when thou met'st my infant sight.

    And I shall sleep—and on thy side,
    As ages after ages glide,
    Children their early sports shall try,
    And pass to hoary age and die.
    But thou, unchanged from year to year,
    Gaily shalt play and glitter here;
    Amid young flowers and tender grass
    Thy endless infancy shalt pass;
    And, singing down thy narrow glen,
    Shalt mock the fading race of men.

  48. The Rivulet

    by Lucy Larcom

    Run, little rivulet, run!
    Summer is fairly begun.
    Bear to the meadow the hymn of the pines,
    And the echo that rings where the waterfall shines;
    Run, little rivulet, run!

    Run, little rivulet, run!
    Sing of the flowers, every one,—
    Of the delicate harebell and the violet blue;
    Of the red mountain rose-bud, all dripping with dew;
    Run, little rivulet, run!

    Run, little rivulet, run!
    Stay not till summer is done!
    Carry the city the mountain-birds' glee;
    Carry the joy of the hills to the sea;
    Run, little rivulet, run!

  49. The Brook

    by Alfred Tennyson.

    I come from haunts of coot and hern,
    I make a sudden sally
    And sparkle out among the fern,
    To bicker down a valley.

    By thirty hills I hurry down,
    Or slip between the ridges,
    By twenty thorpes, a little town,
    And half a hundred bridges.

    Till last by Philip's farm I flow
    To join the brimming river,
    For men may come and men may go,
    But I go on for ever.

    I chatter over stony ways,
    In little sharps and trebles,
    I bubble into eddying bays,
    I babble on the pebbles.

    With many a curve my banks I fret
    By many a field and fallow,
    And many a fairy foreland set
    With willow-weed and mallow.

    I chatter, chatter, as I flow
    To join the brimming river,
    For men may come and men may go,
    But I go on for ever.

    I wind about, and in and out,
    With here a blossom sailing,
    And here and there a lusty trout,
    And here and there a grayling,

    And here and there a foamy flake
    Upon me, as I travel
    With many a silvery waterbreak
    Above the golden gravel,

    And draw them all along, and flow
    To join the brimming river
    For men may come and men may go,
    But I go on for ever.

    I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
    I slide by hazel covers;
    I move the sweet forget-me-nots
    That grow for happy lovers.

    I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
    Among my skimming swallows;
    I make the netted sunbeam dance
    Against my sandy shallows.

    I murmur under moon and stars
    In brambly wildernesses;
    I linger by my shingly bars;
    I loiter round my cresses;

    And out again I curve and flow
    To join the brimming river,
    For men may come and men may go,
    But I go on for ever.

  50. The Brook

    by John B. Tabb

    It is the mountain to the sea
    That makes a messenger of me;
    And, lest I loiter on the way
    And lose what I am sent to say,
    He sets his reverie to song,
    And bids me sing it all day long.
    Farewell! for here the stream is slow,
    And I have many a mile to go.

  51. A Brook

    by Raymond Garfield Dandridge

    Reflecting ragged
    Flecks of white,
    Upon a background blue,
    A living, liquid, ribbon
    Slips, zig-zag,
    Through meadow land.

    Creeping, leaping,
    Sighing, singing,
    Piu Piano
    At even flow,
    At the rapids.

  52. The Brook in February

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    A snowy path for squirrel and fox,
    It winds between the wintry firs.
    Snow-muffled are its iron rocks,
    And o'er its stillness nothing stirs.

    But low, bend low a listening ear!
    Beneath the mask of moveless white
    A babbling whisper you shall hear—
    Of birds and blossoms, leaves and light.

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