The Lost Land

And like a mist ere morning I am gone;
My whispering prow through silence furrows on,
I fare far in through circles vast and dim,
Till a grey steeple lifts above the rim,

From which a chime falls far across the waves.
I see wind lichened walls the slow tide laves;
The houses waver towards me, melt and run,
And open out, in ranks, and one by one.

I see the prickly weeds, the flowers small,
The moss like magic on the creviced wall,
The doors wide open where the wind comes in,
And is a whispering presence, salt and thin;

The still church standing lonely on the mound,
The leaning tombs which slumber with no sound.
Here would I stay, thus dreaming, evermore,
And watch the white ships flocking to the shore

I look again. Alas! I do not know
This place, and alien people come and go.
Ah, this is not my haven; oft before
I have stood here and wept for the other shore.

And now it lies ten leagues across the sea,
And smiles, and calls on me perpetually;
But mountains and abysses lie between,
And I must fare by uplands coarse and lean,

Where towering cliffs hem in the thin-tongued strait,
And far below like battling dragons wait
The serpent-fanged caves which gnash the sea,
And make a hollow barking constantly;

And where in pale moon-charmed valleys stay
Dreadful and lovely mists at full noon-day.
I gather giant orchids, light and dead,
And make a pallid garland for my head,

And sleep upon a green and watching mound
Which some child's wizardry has girdled round;
And I have been here many times before,
And shall return hereafter many more,

While past huge mountains and across great seas
That haven lies, and my long sought release.
There tranquil spirits stand forevermore,
And watch the white ships flocking to the shore.
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