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Kowhai Gold

[Isabel Maud Peacocke]

page 152

The Round Pond at Midnight
I love to think when the light fails
And all the little ships, with folded sails,
Are safe in port, and all the gay
Bay-captains and the pirate-kings
Are done with high adventurings
And gone their way—
When the young moon, a pearly boat,
A silver cockle-shell afloat
In the wide spaces of the night,
Lays down a trembling path of light
On the pale ripples of the tideless sea,
And the woods stir with mystery,
Swaying together, whispering secret things
With leafy sighs and hushed deep murmurings,
When the dark pool is dark no more,
But jewelled by the moon from shore to shore,
A cup of crystal, round and tossing bright,
Brimming with liquid flame and shimmering light-
Ah! then! I love to think they come
Trooping along the forest ways,
Pixies and elves and sprites and flying fays,
Some with wings filmy-pale and some
Floating in airy rings from tree to tree,
Linked with their living garlands, wild with glee,
Or running pell-mell, shining, unafraid,
A mazy rout across a moonlit glade,
With flying footsteps and with gem-bright eyes,
With wild, sweet laughter and with elfin cries.

*    *    *    *    *

Down to the shining pool the shining rout
page 153 Has swept with many a silvery shout,
And all are for the water now,
Running their fairy shallops out,
Some like a leaf with curling prow,
Some pearled and painted like a shell
Rocking upon the gentle swell,
With sails of beaten silver, fine
As a bee's wing and all ashine
I' the moon.  So, all night long
The fairy fleet sails far and free
To the beat of an elfin minstrelsy
And the sound of song,
Till the dawn-winds wake
And the thin sails shake
And the pale mist creeps on the shining lake,
And the merry tumult of shouts and cries
And music and laughter fails and dies,
And the lake lies lone
To the light of day.
But whither are all the fairies flown?
Only under the forest eaves
Is the ghostly scurry of fleeing leaves.