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Poem by Thomas MacDonagh
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The house in the wood beside the lake That I once knew well I must know no more My slow feet other paths must take -- How soon would they reach the old known door! But now that time is o'er. The lake is quiet and hush to-day; The downward heat keeps the water still And the wind that round me used to play Ere through elm and oak from the pine-clad hill I plunged with heart a-thrill. A time can die as a man can die And be buried too and buried deep; But a memory lives though the ages fly-- I know two hearts one memory keep That cannot die or sleep. How clear the shadow of every tree-- The oaks and elms in stately line! The lake is like a silent sea Of emerald, or an emerald mine, Till the forest thins to pine. For the slender pine has never a leaf, And the sun and the breeze break through at will-- There's a weed that the eddy whirls in a sheaf In the brown lake's depths, all wet and chill,-- I call it the lake-pine still. Such idle names we used to give To the weeds as we passed here in our boat-- We shall pass no more, and they shall live While others o'er them idly float-- They shall neither hear nor note, They are things that never hear or see-- Yet once I trusted my heart to all; I heard my tale from many a tree,-- Thought the lake-pines knew one light foot-fall, One laugh and one low call. And perhaps they did, for all the day They seem like me to be sad and lone; The current has not come to play And twist its sheaf; no breeze has blown, Though yon the sedges moan. And oft o'er the waters I fondly bowed, And made belief that I saw there One face, for my fancy featured a cloud Or showed me my own more bright and fair-- How vainly now I stare! Is it vain to think that at some time yet-- Far off, perhaps in a thousand years-- We shall meet again as we have met: A meeting of olden joy and tears Which all the more endears. Perhaps in a house beside a lake In a wood of elm and oak and beech-- Ah, hope is long! It can wait and wake. Though the world be dead it can forward reach And join us each to each. But I fear the waiting -- God, recall, Recall, recall Thy fated will! How can I wait while the slow leaves fall From the tree of time and I fulfil My vigil lone and chill? How can I wait for what is mine?-- Thou didst will it so, and Thou art just-- Oh, give me the life of the water-pine Till I hear one laugh, one call I trust, One foot-fall in the dust! Mine then! Mine now, by changeless fate-- I ask but this with humble soul ;-- But bid me not, O God, to wait With miser hope's reluctant dole While wakeful aeons roll! The time I loved is dead, cold dead; For it could die, and shall not rise As I shall from a grosser bed To wait and watch with hungered eyes And many a vain surmise. The sedge and pines are moaning now; The current comes to twist its sheaf; The shadow of the isle-tree bough Is blotted out; and twilight brief Foreruns long night of grief.
Thomas MacDonagh's other poems:
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