By the Marshes of Tantramar

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Evening is falling with a star:I wander lonely and afarDown by the marshes of Tantramar.

The broad, red west like a furnace glows,And the wind like a Titan's bellows blows,'Till one could not tell if it burned or froze.

Wide reaches the strand of Fundy's bay,A-gleam with the sinking light of day,As the tide-wave--spent--it rolls away.

A timbered bridge with shadows black,And spans awry, an ancient wrack,I cross it over the turbid track.

The gurgling growl of the muddy tideCreeps up by the bridge's leaning side,And a sound, like the voice of one who cried,

Turns the spectral bridge to a haunted tower,Where the bravest heart would be like to cower,If he chanced that way at a darker hour.

The grasses are moving to and fro,Where the wild geese cackled long ago,And the Frenchman builded his aboiteaux.

From up where the rivers rushed so brave,'Twixt the red-lipped shores, the tidal waveComes crawling back to its ocean grave.

I muse on the life that has no stay;With the steadfast look it is here and away,And whither it goes I cannot say.

The years and the sea and the star are the same,And the broad, red west hath been often aflame,But it standeth still in the mighty frame.

O Eye that can see through the æons dim,Through the realms of space to the farthest rim;Where the universe stretches filled to the brim;

O Ear that can hear the gurgling tide,And the music of stars in the spaces wide,Almighty! Behold, doth aught abide?

I listen, I fear, I fall on my face;The darkness is coming with silence apace--O, who can the shadows and mystery chase?

Bow lowly, O spirit, bow low in the dust.Shall the coming of changes invade with distrust?Bow lowly, what folly to think that it must.

What folly! It shames me to round in with senseThe limitless work of omnipotence,Or fear for the changes that bear us hence.

What wouldst thou, through earth and the heavens to plod?The universe changeless would be but a clod,And change is the name of the working of God.

© Adams Mary Electa