The Shores Of Nothing

A poem by John Kendall

There's a little lake that lies
In a valley, where the skies
Kiss the mountains, as they rise,
On the crown;
And the heaven-born élite
Are accustomed to retreat
From the pestilential heat
Lower down.

Where the Mighty, for a space,
Mix with Beauty, Rank, and Grace,
(I myself was in the place,
At my best!)
And the atmosphere's divine,
While the deodar and pine
Are particularly fine
For the chest.

And a little month ago,
When the sun was lying low,
And the water lay aglow
Like a pearl,
I, remarkably arrayed,
Dipped an unobtrusive blade
In the lake - and in the shade -
With a girl.

O 'twas pleasant thus to glide
On the 'softly-flowing tide'
(Which it's not!) and, undescried,
Take a hand
In the sweet, idyllic sports
That are known in such resorts,
To the sympathetic snorts
Of the Band.

Till, when o'er the 'still lagoon'
Passed the golden afternoon,
The preposterous bassoon,
Growling deep,
Saved the King and knelled the day
As the crimson changed to grey
And the little valley lay
Half asleep.

It is finished. She was kind.
'Out of sight is out of mind.'
But the taste remains behind,
(And the bills,)
And I'd give the world to know
If there's some one else in tow
With my love (a month ago)
In the Hills!

O ye valleys, tell me, pray,
Was she on the lake to-day?
Does she foot it in the gay,
Social whirl?
O ye Mountains of Gilboa,
Send a bird, or kindly blow a
Breeze to tell me all you know about that girl!

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