Shadows On The Shore

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The doubtful dawn came dim and wan,
And dimmer grew the day:
The kildee whistled among the weeds,
The blue crane clanged in the river reeds,
And a mist fell wild and gray.

At dawn she stood, her heavy hood
Flung back, in the ferry boat,
To watch the rebel raiders ride,
Her rebel-love, with his men beside,
His kiss on her mouth and throat.

Like some dark spell the tempest fell,
Like some wild curse night came:
For hours she heard the warring dead,
Whose batteries opened overhead
With thunder and with flame.

And now again, in wind and rain,
She toiled at the creaking oar:
Oh what had she heard in the night and storm?
Whose voice was that? and whose the form
That galloped to the shore?

Across the stream, in the tempest's gleam,
Who sent that wild halloo?
In the lightning's glare, who was it there,
The wind and the rain in his tossing hair,
And his gray cloak torn in two?

Through rain and blast pull fast, pull fast!
Oar down the rushing tide!
Look where he rides in the lightning's glow!
And hearken now to his far hallo!
But only his horse, with head hung low,
A blur of blood on the saddlebow,
Comes whinnying to her side.

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