Edith Nesbit

(15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924 / Kennington / Surrey / England)

The Island


Does the wind sing in your ears at night, in the town,
Rattling the windows and doors of the cheap-built place?
Do you hear its song as it flies over marsh and down?
Do you feel the kiss that the wind leaves here on my face?
Or, wrapt in a lamplit quiet, do you restrain
Thoughts that would take the wind's way hither to me,
And bid them rest safe-anchored, nor tempt again
The tumult, and torment, and passion that live in the sea?

I, for my part, when the wind sings loud in its might,
I bid it hush---nor awaken again the storm
That swept my heart out to sea on a moonless night,
And dashed it ashore on an island wondrous and warm
Where all things fair and forbidden for ever flower,
Where the worst of life is a dream, and the best comes true,
Where the harvest of years was reaped in a single hour
And the gods, for once, were honest with me and you.

I will not hear when the wind and the sea cry out,
I will not trust again to the hurrying wind,
I will not swim again in a sea of doubt,
And reach that shore with the world left well behind;
But you,---I would have you listen to every call
Of the changing wind, as it blows over marsh and main,
And heap life's joys in your hands, and offer them all,
If only your feet might touch that island again!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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