William Bell Scott

(1811-1890 / Scotland)

Voices Of Sunset Clouds - Poem by William Bell Scott

1 ST. Sister with the crimson crest
And broad wings of every die,
Come ye from the eagle's nest,
On the mountain turrets high,
Or from kissing the lake below
Swimming thus so softly slow?
Round thy folded feet the breeze
Languishes in blissful ease,
Holding his breath for beauty's sake
Till he hath passed thee unawake.
Our father-sun is gone to sea,
Come thou after him with me.

2ND. Sister, yes, we shall entwine
Our arms and wings, both thine and mine,
Then wait for me, too fast you stray
Adown that steep though golden way
To the far home of yesterday.
Behold! the messengers are still
Shedding flame on wave and hill;
Shield me in thy saffron vest,
So may we in its folds be pressed
Together, and together move
Like lovers in their day of love,
With like colour, and like motion,
Across that fearful, glittering ocean.

1ST. Foot to foot and hand to hand,
Over sea as over land:
Hark, the children on the strand
Are singing at their evening play.
Can you hear them, what they say?

2ND. They are too far, too far away:
But still I see them on the sand
Run before the breaking spray,
And I can see the curfew bell
Swinging in the fretted spire,
Lit up in a bright farewell,
Like a pyramid of fire.

1ST. But now, oh sister, what are these,
So many and so swift, astray
Up hither far from fields and trees?
They dart right through us like a breeze
With forked tails, strange birds are they.

2ND. Swallows are they following
Our father-sun to a warmer land;
Swallows, swallows, strong of wing,
Seeking Afric's heated sand—
Already they have passed away,
Lost until another spring.

1ST. Another spring! another year!
But we are only for a day—
Already I am faint with fear.
Behold those fishermen return
Home across the darkening bay,
Their oars give off that ghastly spray
Where the shoreward surf they spurn.

2 ND. For a day, ah well you say
Only for a single day.
Dank and cold
And shapeless grows thy mantle's fold.
But where art thou? gone, gone from me
Over the wind-swept darkening sea,
Alas, and I must follow thee.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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