Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

(1834-1894 / England)

The Rivers - Poem by Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

I travell'd over many lakes and rivers,
In floating trees men hollow'd with an adze
For a canoe, my rowers with wild song
Paddling or poling, in accordant time
Of oar and voice, chanting some ancient stave
Of river-song in tones Gregorian,
Solemn and strange, ancient as Pharaoh!

How wonderful it was to float along the river!
Dreamily hearing water plash and gurgle
From my canoe's advancing sides and oars,
Washing among green rushes of the shore!

Onward we glide, and twine meandering
On a moss-colour'd water, till the gale
Relieves my merry rowers; we expand
A little sail, filling with soft sweet air,
Like some soft bird's white bosom heaved with song,
White as a foam of waterfalls; we glide
Merrily among wave-enchanted flowers,
Glossily heaving while we gently pass;
Or splendid twinkling trees, immersed in light,
From shadowy bosoms offering fruits of Eden;
Breathing a perfume as of Paradise
From their soft islands; islands of the blest,
Bower'd to the marge, re-echo'd in the water;
With many a fleecy cloudlet sailing low.
Small richly armour'd quaint iguanas bask
On every sunniest bough; while startled eyes
Of glorious lithe beasts flash for a moment
Out of the solemn, sylvan opaline
Of hoary forest boles, and swiftly vanish:
Little agamas nod their orange heads;
A lovely praying mantis, green as leaves,
Rests on green leaves; and green cameleons.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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