The Atlantic Monthly/Volume 14/Number 81/Watching

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WATCHING.

In childhood's season fair,
On many a balmy, moonless summer night,
While wheeled the light-house arms of dark and bright
Far through the humid air,—

How patient have I been,
Sitting alone, a happy little maid,
Waiting to see, cheery and unafraid,
My father's boat come in,—

Close to the water's edge
Holding a tiny spark, that he might steer
(So dangerous the landing far and near)
Safe past the ragged ledge!

No fears had I, not one.
The wild, wide waste of water leagues around
Washed ceaselessly, there was no human sound,
And I was all alone.

But Nature was so kind!
Like a dear friend I loved the loneliness;
My heart rose glad, as at some sweet caress,
When passed the wandering wind.

Yet it was joy to hear
From out the darkness sounds grow clear at last,
Of rattling rowlocks, and of creaking mast,
And voices drawing near.

"Is't thou, dear father? Say!"
What well-known shout resounded in reply,
As loomed the tall sail, smitten suddenly
With the great light-house ray!

I will be patient now,
Dear Heavenly Father, waiting here for Thee!
I know the darkness holds Thee! Shall I be
Afraid, when it is Thou?

On Thy eternal shore,
In pauses, when Life's tide is at its prime,
I hear the everlasting rote of Time
Beating forevermore!

Shall I not, then, rejoice?
Oh, never lost or sad should child of Thine
Sit weeping, fearing lest there come no sign,
No whisper of Thy voice!

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.