Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Western States: Point Lobos, Cal.
At Point Lobos
Charles Warren Stoddard (1843–1909)
 
CLEAR noon without obscurity,
No flake of cloud ’twixt heaven and me;
      No mist athwart the Golden Gate:
The hearty sun doth wilfully
      His profuse beams precipitate.        5
 
I cling to humpèd rocks that kneel
On unswept sands, where breakers reel
      In splendid curves, and pile their foam
In spongy hills, that slow congeal,
      And dulse and drift-wood find a home.        10
 
We clasp the silver crescent set
Within the hazy parapet
      That belts the horizon: in glee
I count the fitful puffs that fret
      The eternal levels of the sea.        15
 
I watch the waves that seem to breathe
And pant unceasingly beneath
      Their silken coverings, that cringe,
As flecked with swirls of froth, they seethe,
      And whip, and flutter to a fringe.        20
 
Brown pipers run upon the sand
Like shadows; far out from the land
      Gray gulls slide up against the blue;
One shining spar is sudden manned
      By squadrons of their wrecking crew.        25
 
My city is beyond the hill;
I cannot hear its voices shrill:
      I little heed its gains and greeds:
Here is my song, where waters spill
      Their liquid strophes in the reeds.        30
 
And to this music I forswear
Whatever soils the world with care:
      I see the listless waters toss,—
I track the swift lark through the air,—
      I lie with sunlight on the moss.        35
 
White caravans of cloud go by
Across the desert of bright sky,
      And burly winds are following
The trailing pilgrims, as they fly
      Over the grassy hills of spring.        40
 
What Mecca are they hastening to?
What princess journeying to woo
      In the rich Orient? I am thrilled
With spice and odor they imbue,—
      I feed upon their manna spilled!        45
 
I strip my breast with eager mind,
To tarry and invite the wind
      To my embrace: by curious spell
It quickens me with praises kind,—
      ’T is Ariel that blows his shell!        50
 
Invisible, and soft as dews
Descending, he his love renews,
      Delighting daisy colonies
That gloss them with the lustrous ooze
      Of meadows steeped in ecstasies.        55
 
Until the homely, sunburnt Heads,
The tumbling hills, in browns and reds,
      And gray sand-hillocks, everywhere
Are buried in the mist that sheds
      Its subtle snow upon the air.        60
 
And Prospero, aroused from sleep,
Recalls his spirits from the deep,—
      They cross the wave with stealthy tread,
Their shadows down upon me sweep,—
      And day is past, and joy is fled.        65
 
I hear the dismal bells that shout
Their warning to the ships without:
      The dripping sails are reefed and furled,
The pilots sound and grope about,—
      The Gate is barred against the world!        70
 
 
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