Hilda Conkling

((1910–1986) / New York)

Poem Sketch in Three Parts - Poem by Hilda Conkling

The Rolling in of the Wave

It was night when the sky was dark blue
And the water came in with a wavy look
Like a spider's web.
The point of the slope came down to the water's edge;
It was green with a fairy ring of forget-me-not and fern.
The white foam licked the side of the slope
As it came up and bent backward;
It curled up like a beautiful cinder-tree
Bending in the wind.


II
The Coming of the Great Bird

A boy was watching the water
As it came lapping the edge of fern.
Little ships passed him
As the moon came leaning across dark blue rays of light.
The spruce trees saw the white ships sailing away,
And the moon bending up the blue sky
Where stars were twinkling like fairy lamps;
The boy was looking toward foreign lands
As the ships passed,
Their white sails glittering in the moonlight.
He was thinking how he wished to see
Foreign lands, strange people,
When suddenly a bird came flying!
It swooped down upon the slope
And spoke to him:
'Do you want to go across the deep blue sea?
Get on my back; I will take you.'
'Oh,' cried the little boy, 'who sent you?
Who knew my thoughts of foreign lands?'


III
The Island

They flew as the night-wind flowed, very softly,
They heard sweet singing that the water sang,
They came to a place where the sea was shallow
And saw treasure hidden there.
There was one poplar tree
On the lonely island,
Swaying for sadness.
The clouds went over their heads
Like a fleet of drifting ships.
And there they sank down out of the air
Into the dream.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 30, 2016



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