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Stream Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Streamlet by James W. Whilt
  2. The Two Streams by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  3. The Stream's Lesson by Frances A. Shaw
  4. To the Mountain Stream by Ruby Archer
  5. To a Mountain Stream by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  6. Winter Streams by Bliss Carman
  7. Summer Streams by Bliss Carman
  8. By the Stream by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  9. The Mill Stream by Susan Francis Preston Clapp
  10. The Rivulet by William Cullen Bryant
  11. The Rivulet by Lucy Larcom
  12. The Brook by Alfred Tennyson
  13. The Brook by John B. Tabb
  14. A Brook by Raymond Garfield Dandridge
  15. The Brook in February by Sir Charles G. D. Roberts
  16. Kindness Returned by Emily Page Webb

  1. 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."

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. The Mill Stream

    by Susan Francis Preston Clapp

    The mill stream flows o'er common ground,
    Yet wandering there, I stand spell-bound;
    And dreamy thoughts will o'er me steal
    While listening to the water-wheel.

    As round it rolls, I hear a chant
    Whose music grows significant,
    Till my whole being is possessed
    With something of the wheel's unrest.

    Mine ear hath caught an undertone
    To which my soul makes answering moan;
    Two plaintive voices seem to meet,
    In murmuring eddies, at my feet.

    Vague longings, when answered here,
    Foreshadowings of another sphere,
    Now join the water's plaintive flow,
    As onward, onward still they go.

    Forever striving to be free,
    My soul is in strange sympathy
    With the waters basely bound
    To turn the mill-wheel round and round.

    Within man's limitation set,
    The troubled waters foam and fret,
    But left unfettered in their course,
    Glide on serenely to their source.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Kindness Returned

    by Emily Page Webb

    As streams flowing down from the mountains,
    By windings no mortal can wist,
    Appear to return to their fountains
    At sunset, in rainbows of mist;

    So often, some deed of affection,
    In youth, more tender than wise,
    Passed away from our own recollection,
    Returns in some loving disguise.

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