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Poem by Emily Pauline Johnson


In the Shadows


    I am sailing to the leeward,
    Where the current runs to seaward
            Soft and slow,
    Where the sleeping river grasses
    Brush my paddle as it passes
            To and fro.

    On the shore the heat is shaking
    All the golden sands awaking
            In the cove;
    And the quaint sand-piper, winging
    O'er the shallows, ceases singing
            When I move.

    On the water's idle pillow
    Sleeps the overhanging willow,
            Green and cool;
    Where the rushes lift their burnished
    Oval heads from out the tarnished
            Emerald pool.

    Where the very silence slumbers,
    Water lilies grow in numbers,
            Pure and pale;
    All the morning they have rested,
    Amber crowned, and pearly crested,
            Fair and frail.

    Here, impossible romances,
    Indefinable sweet fancies,
            Cluster round;
    But they do not mar the sweetness
    Of this still September fleetness
            With a sound.

    I can scarce discern the meeting
    Of the shore and stream retreating,
            So remote;
    For the laggard river, dozing,
    Only wakes from its reposing
            Where I float.

    Where the river mists are rising,
    All the foliage baptizing
            With their spray;
    There the sun gleams far and faintly,
    With a shadow soft and saintly,
            In its ray.

    And the perfume of some burning
    Far-off brushwood, ever turning
            To exhale
    All its smoky fragrance dying,
    In the arms of evening lying,
            Where I sail.

    My canoe is growing lazy,
    In the atmosphere so hazy,
            While I dream;
    Half in slumber I am guiding,
    Eastward indistinctly gliding
            Down the stream.



Emily Pauline Johnson


Emily Pauline Johnson's other poems:
  1. Golden - of the Selkirks
  2. The Art of Alma-Tadema
  3. Wolverine
  4. The Train Dogs
  5. The Riders of the Plains


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