George MacDonald

(10 December 1824 – 18 September 1905 / Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

No End Of No-Story - Poem by George MacDonald

There is a river
whose waters run asleep
run run ever
singing in the shallows
dumb in the hollows
sleeping so deep
and all the swallows
that dip their feathers
in the hollows
or in the shallows
are the merriest swallows
and the nests they make
with the clay they cake
with the water they shake
from their wings that rake
the water out of the shallows
or out of the hollows
will hold together
in any weather
and the swallows
are the merriest fellows
and have the merriest children
and are built very narrow
like the head of an arrow
to cut the air
and go just where
the nicest water is flowing
and the nicest dust is blowing
and each so narrow
like the head of an arrow
is a wonderful barrow
to carry the mud he makes
for his children's sakes
from the wet water flowing
and the dry dust blowing
to build his nest
for her he loves best
and the wind cakes it
the sun bakes it
into a nest
for the rest
of her he loves best
and all their merry children
each little fellow
with a beak as yellow
as the buttercups growing
beside the flowing
of the singing river
always and ever
growing and blowing
as fast as the sheep
awake or asleep
crop them and crop
and cannot stop
their yellowness blowing
nor yet the growing
of the obstinate daisies
the little white praises
they grow and they blow
they spread out their crown
and they praise the sun
and when he goes down
their praising is done
they fold up their crown
and sleep every one
till over the plain
he is shining amain
and they're at it again
praising and praising
such low songs raising
that no one can hear them
but the sun so near them
and the sheep that bite them
but do not fright them
are the quietest sheep
awake or asleep
with the merriest bleat
and the little lambs
are the merriest lambs
forgetting to eat
for the frolic in their feet
and the lambs and their dams
are the whitest sheep
with the woolliest wool
for the swallow to pull
when he makes his nest
for her he loves best
and they shine like snow
in the grasses that grow
by the singing river
that sings for ever
and the sheep and the lambs
are merry for ever
because the river
sings and they drink it
and the lambs and their dams
would any one think it
are bright and white
because of their diet
which gladdens them quiet
for what they bite
is buttercups yellow
and daisies white
and grass as green
as the river can make it
with wind as mellow
to kiss it and shake it
as never was known
but here in the hollows
beside the river
where all the swallows
are the merriest fellows
and the nests they make
with the clay they cake
in the sunshine bake
till they are like bone
and as dry in the wind
as a marble stone
dried in the wind
the sweetest wind
that blows by the river
flowing for ever
and who shall find
whence comes the wind
that blows on the hollows
and over the shallows
where dip the swallows
and comes and goes
and the sweet life blows
into the river
that sings as it flows
and the sweet life blows
into the sheep
awake or asleep
with the woolliest wool
and the trailingest tails
and never fails
gentle and cool
to wave the wool
and to toss the grass
as the lambs and the sheep
over it pass
and tug and bite
with their teeth so white
and then with the sweep
of their trailing tails
smooth it again
and it grows amain
and amain it grows
and the wind that blows
tosses the swallows
over the hollows
and over the shallows
and blows the sweet life
and the joy so rife
into the swallows
that skim the shallows
and have the yellowest children
and the wind that blows
is the life of the river
that flows for ever
and washes the grasses
still as it passes
and feeds the daisies
the little white praises
and buttercups sunny
with butter and honey
that whiten the sheep
awake or asleep
that nibble and bite
and grow whiter than white
and merry and quiet
on such good diet
watered by the river
and tossed for ever
by the wind that tosses
the wool and the grasses
and the swallow that crosses
with all the swallows
over the shallows
dipping their wings
to gather the water
and bake the cake
for the wind to make
as hard as a bone
and as dry as a stone
and who shall find
whence comes the wind
that blows from behind
and ripples the river
that flows for ever
and still as it passes
waves the grasses
and cools the daisies
the white sun praises
that feed the sheep
awake or asleep
and give them their wool
for the swallows to pull
a little away
to mix with the clay
that cakes to a nest
for those they love best
and all the yellow children
soon to go trying
their wings at the flying
over the hollows
and over the shallows
with all the swallows
that do not know
whence the wind doth blow
that comes from behind
a blowing wind.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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