In the Shadows

By E. Pauline Johnson

I am sailing to the leeward,
Where the current runs to seaward
        Soft and slow,
Where the sleeping river grasses
Brush my paddle as it passes
        To and fro.

On the shore the heat is shaking
All the golden sands awaking
        In the cove;
And the quaint sand-piper, winging
O’er the shallows, ceases singing
        When I move.

On the water’s idle pillow
Sleeps the overhanging willow,
        Green and cool;
Where the rushes lift their burnished
Oval heads from out the tarnished
        Emerald pool.

Where the very silence slumbers,
Water lilies grow in numbers,
        Pure and pale;
All the morning they have rested,
Amber crowned, and pearly crested,
        Fair and frail.

Here, impossible romances,
Indefinable sweet fancies,
        Cluster round;
But they do not mar the sweetness
Of this still September fleetness
        With a sound.

I can scarce discern the meeting
Of the shore and stream retreating,
        So remote;
For the laggard river, dozing,
Only wakes from its reposing
        Where I float.

Where the river mists are rising,
All the foliage baptizing
        With their spray;
There the sun gleams far and faintly,
With a shadow soft and saintly,
        In its ray.

And the perfume of some burning
Far-off brushwood, ever turning
        To exhale
All its smoky fragrance dying,
In the arms of evening lying,
        Where I sail.

My canoe is growing lazy,
In the atmosphere so hazy,
        While I dream;
Half in slumber I am guiding,
Eastward indistinctly gliding
        Down the stream.