At the Ferry

We are waiting in the nightfall by the river's placid rim,
Summer silence all about us, save where swallows' pinions skim
The still grey waters sharply, and the widening circles reach,
With faintest, stillest music, the white gravel on the beach.
The sun has set long, long ago. Against the pearly sky
Elm branches lift their etching up in arches slight and high.
Behind us stands the forest, with its black and lonely pines;
Before us, like a silver thread, the old Grand River winds.
Far down its banks the village lights are creeping one by one;
Far up above, with holy torch, the evening star looks down.

Amid the listening stillness, you and I have silent grown,
Waiting for the river ferry,—waiting in the dusk alone.
At last we hear an eager step, sweet silence reigns no more;
'Tis a barefoot, sun-burnt little boy upon the other shore.
Far through the waning twilight we can see him quickly kneel
To lift the heavy chain, then turn the rusty old cog-wheel;
And the water-logged old ferry-boat moves slowly from the brink,
Breaking all the star's reflections with the waves that rise and sink;
While the water dripping gently from the rising, falling chains,
Is the only interruption to the quiet that remains
To lull us into golden dreams, to charm our cares away
With its Lethean waters flowing 'neath the bridge of yesterday.
Oh! the day was calm and tender, but the night is calmer still,
As we go aboard the ferry, where we stand and dream, until
We cross the sleeping river, with its restful whisperings,
And peace falls, like a feather from some passing angel's wings.
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