A white face, drooping, on a bending neck:
A tube-rose that with heavy petal curves
Her stem: a foam-bell on a wave that swerves
Back from the undulating vessel's deck.
From out the whitest cloud of summer steals
The wildest lightning: from this face of thine
Thy soul, a fire-of-heaven, warm and fine,
In marvellous flashes its fair self reveals.
As when one gazes from the summer sea
On some far gossamer cloud, with straining eye,
Fearing to see it vanish in the sky,
So, floating, wandering Cloud-Soul, I watch thee.
Montgomery, Alabama, 1866.