Bitter Waters

In a dense wood, a drear wood,
Dark water is flowing;
Deep, deep, beyond sounding,
A flood ever flowing.

There harbours no wild bird,
No wanderer strays there;
Wreathed in mist, sheds pale Ishtar
Her sorrowful rays there.

Take thy net; cast thy line;
Manna sweet be thy baiting;
Time's desolate ages
Shall still find thee waiting.

For quick fish to rise there,
Or butterfly wooing,
Or flower's honeyed beauty,
Or wood-pigeon cooing.

Inland wellsprings are sweet;
But to lips, parched and dry,
Salt, salt is the savour
Of these; faint their sigh.

Bitter Babylon's waters.
Zion, distant and fair.
We hanged up our harps
On the trees that are there.
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