A couple more poems

In keeping with selling the cottage, I found a couple of poems that kind of relate. The first is called ‘Lake Winnipeg’ by Nan Emerson’s book Windsong and other verse that I mentioned from my last poetry post. Since our cottage was in a resort area on the banks of Lake Winnipeg, it seemed appropriate.

Lake Winnipeg

I can hear the waters talking:
Have they secrets, they whisper,
Whisper, whisper as they lap upon the shore.
I can hear their lazy murmur:
‘Ripple, ripple I am gentle.
Come and lie upon my bosom,
I will hold you soft and buoyant;
Catch and hold the sunbeams for you.
I am warm and I am sparkling.
Play with me quite close to shore.’

More persuasive grows the whisper:
‘Come a-swimming, come a-boating,
Come a-sailing far from shore.
I will toss my waves so gladly,
Little white-capped waves so merry,
I will dip and rock you safely.
I will take you swiftly, gaily.
Trust me, I am ever kindly.
I will lull you into dreaming.
Have no fear, come far and farther.
They are cowards who say beware.’

But the whispering voice grows deeper
And the ripples change to breakers
And the water’s voice to roaring.
‘See, my waves rise high and higher.
Rolling, tumbling on the shore.
They who trust me — I destroy them,
Dash to pieces all the sailboats,
Clutch them, toss them, hide forever
Those who trust me ‘neath my waters.

Swimmers lie upon my pebbles;
Bones there are among by boulders;
Fishes dart and play among them.
Ships I take lie bleached and broken.
And I laugh when in my rages;
Laugh aloud while gulls are screaming;
Shout and roar while winds are howling.
I’m the king of all the waters!

Then again I’ll coax and beckon.
Then again with gentle ripple
Little waves will woo and sparkle;
Come a-sailing, come a-swimming.
I’ve no secrets — though I whisper.
They are cowards who will not trust me.
They are fools who say beware.’

While it sounds rather harsh, the poem makes the point that, with Lake Winnipeg, you need to be careful. There are points along its beaches where a severe undertow has drowned even the strongest swimmers. On a personal note, it claimed the life of the teenaged son of one of my parents’ friends. Lake Winnipeg is very much like an ocean with strong currents and sudden winds that can come up abruptly, whipping the waves into a frenzy that can easily overturn small craft. As you can see with the accompanying photos, the lake can be rather harsh. When my daughter got married, the wind was quite strong and the waves were high. Lake Winnipeg has been notorious for sinking ships, especially during the fur trade years when the lake was the main route to Lower Fort Garry and the Upper Fort at the Forks. Despite all that, on a hot summer day when the wind is calm, its cool water can be a pleasant relief. When I was young, the sand was a fine white powder and before the hydro dam was built at the northern mouth of the lake, there used to be sand bars that stretched out a great distance. That’s not the case, anymore. Last fall saw at least 20 feet of the banks washed away by high water and wicked waves.

A Child's Garden of Verses

Now, for something completely different, a poem by Robert Louis Stephenson called ‘Farewell to the Farm’ from his book A Child’s Garden of Verses. I will only post the first two stanzas, which reminded me of saying goodbye to our family’s summer home:

The coach is at the door at last;
The eager children, mounting fast
And kissing hands, in chorus sing:
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

To house and garden, field and lawn,
The meadow-gates we swang upon,
To pump and stable, tree and swing,
Good-bye, good-bye to everything!

Well, Poetry Month is coming to a close, so this might be the last time I post a poem, unless the muse moves me or I come across one I really like. There were a few sites that I follow that posted some great poetry. I did enjoy reading what wantoncreation had to say about poetry and learned a lot about different types of poems, thanks to him. C. B. Wentworth posted some lovely poems along with picture prompts. Diane Dickson has also posted some nice poems during the month. If anyone is interested in reading them, just click on their names. 🙂

For those who have been searching for sites participating in the poetry challenge, which one(s) did you find posted the most satisfying poetry?

8 comments on “A couple more poems

  1. Oh thanks so much for the mention. That Lake poem was stunning, loved it. Do you know the one that starts Come away oh human child, to the waters and the wild. That’s what it put me in mind of. thanks again

      • Its W B Yeates and it is truly haunting, I came across it by chance one day and just couldn’t get it out of my mind

        Where dips the rocky highland
        Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
        There lies a leafy island
        Where flapping herons wake
        The drowsy water rats;
        There we’ve hid our faery vats,
        Full of berrys
        And of reddest stolen cherries.
        Come away, O human child!
        To the waters and the wild
        With a faery, hand in hand.
        For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

        Where the wave of moonlight glosses
        The dim gray sands with light,
        Far off by furthest Rosses
        We foot it all the night,
        Weaving olden dances
        Mingling hands and mingling glances
        Till the moon has taken flight;
        To and fro we leap
        And chase the frothy bubbles,
        While the world is full of troubles
        And anxious in its sleep.
        Come away, O human child!
        To the waters and the wild
        With a faery, hand in hand,
        For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

        Where the wandering water gushes
        From the hills above Glen-Car,
        In pools among the rushes
        That scarce could bathe a star,
        We seek for slumbering trout
        And whispering in their ears
        Give them unquiet dreams;
        Leaning softly out
        From ferns that drop their tears
        Over the young streams.
        Come away, O human child!
        To the waters and the wild
        With a faery, hand in hand,
        For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

        Away with us he’s going,
        The solemn-eyed –
        He’ll hear no more the lowing
        Of the calves on the warm hillside
        Or the kettle on the hob
        Sing peace into his breast,
        Or see the brown mice bob
        Round and round the oatmeal chest
        For he comes the human child
        To the waters and the wild
        With a faery, hand in hand
        From a world more full of weeping than he can understand

        The places mentioned in the poem – map link
        The places mentioned in the poem are in Leitrim and Sligo where Yeats spent much of his childhood.

    • Thanks, Christy. It is a little sad leaving childhood memories behind and losing a part of our family history, but we took lots of pictures that might make it into a special album, some day. I hope the new owners appreciate what they’ve got. 🙂

  2. Oh, I will miss your poems!! I loved the dangerous, almost caressing-feel to the first one and the happy, yet sad, farewell to the last. You know the good thing about letting go? The love, the memories, go with you.

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