Kate Harrington

(1831 - 1917 / Allegheny City, Pennsylvania)

The Mississippi River


There is not in the wide world a river as grand
As the one whose bright waves lave my own native land ;
From the dear mother-lake which it leaves with a sigh,
And murmurs, at parting, a tender good-by,
On down to the Gulf, that, with arms open wide,
Receives to her bosom the on-rushing tide,
Repeating the vow by her lover begun,
That henceforth, forever, their lives shall be one,
There are beauty and freshness and splendor untold
On its shores, on its isles, in its ripples of gold.

Past meadow and moorland, past forest and glade,
How grandly it courses in sunlight and shade !
Reflecting the blushes of morn's rosy light,
Or set with tiaras of star-gems at night;
So mirroring heaven that if loved ones might stray
Through portals of light in the regions of day,
Or mount its bright ramparts and fondly look down,
We might catch, in these waters, the gleam of a crown,
A glad smile of joy on a glorified face,
And white arms upheld for a tender embrace.

Say, River of rivers, what is't they implore
As thy ripples press forward to kneel on thy shore ?
I see them, at morn, lowly bending in prayer,—
At even their pleadings float soft on the air.
While up through the starlight comes, tender and low,
The trembling refrain of their murmuring flow.
What yearnings can move thee, what longings can start,
With heaven's own image clasped close to thy heart?
I think, when thy islands of verdure are seen,
Of Eden's still waters and pastures of green,
And feel, when my feet touch thy shore's dewy sod,
A sense of His presence, a nearness to God.
A picture floats up from thy blue waves to me
Of Him who sat down by Gennesareth's sea;
And e'en when thy storm-maddened billows mount high,
They waft me the whisper,—'Fear not, it is I.'

Submitted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Edited: Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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