Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1509. Flood-Time on the Marshes
By Evaleen Stein
DEAR marshes, by no hand of man
    Laboriously sown,
My river clasps you in its arms
    And claims you for its own!
It laughs, and laughs, and twinkles on        5
    Across the reedy soil,
That heed of harvest vexes not,
    Nor need of any toil.
And in my heart I joy to know
    That safe within this spot        10
Sweet nature reigns; let other fields
    Bear bread, it matters not.
—What matters aught of anything
    When one may drift away
Into the realms of all-delight,        15
    As I drift on to-day?
Beneath the budded swamp-rose sprays
    The blue-eyed grasses stand,
Submerged within a crystal world,
    A limpid wonderland;        20
And where the clustered sedges show
    Their silky-tasselled sheaves,
The slender arrow-lily lifts
    Its quiver of green leaves.
The tiny waves lap softly past,        25
    So musical and round,
I think they must be moulded out
    Of sunshine and sweet sound.
And here and there some little knoll,
    More lofty than the rest,        30
Stands out above the happy tide,
    An island of the blest;
Where fringed with lacy fronds of fern
    The grass grows rich and high,
And flowering spider-worts have caught        35
    The color of the sky;
Where water-oaks are thickly strung
    With green and golden balls,
And from tall tilting iris tips
    The wild canary calls.        40
—O gracious world! I seem to feel
    A kinship with the trees;
I am first-cousin to the marsh,
    A sister to the breeze!
My heartstrings tremble to its touch,        45
    In throbs supremely sweet,
And through my pulses light and life
    And love divinely meet.
Far off, the sunbeams smite the woods,
    And pearly fleeces sail        50
Athwart the light, and leave below
    A purple-shadowed trail;
The essence of the perfect June
    So subtly is distilled,
Until my very soul of souls        55
    Is filled, and overfilled!


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