THE LITTLE BEACH SANDERLING a Poem
THE LITTLE BEACH SANDERLING
BY the beach border, where the breeze
Comes freighted from the briny seas,
By sandy bar and weedy rock,
I frequent meet thy roving flock;
Now hovering o'er the bending sedge,
Now gather'd at the ocean edge;
Probing the sands for shrimps and shells,
Or worms marine in hidden cells,
A restless and inconstant band,
Forever flitting o'er the sand.
Sandpiper!—haunting every shore
Where'er the waves of ocean roar;
Old voyagers that roam the deep
Tell that your dusky pinions sweep
O'er the remotest islands set
In ocean's emerald coronet.
Far where Siberian coasts extend,
Far where Australian borders trend,
Far up the icy Labrador,
Far where the Mexic billows pour,
Are seen thy pinions, roving bird !
Thy melancholy note is heard.
Years since—a wanderer—my way
Through Syria's desert regions lay;
Around me, far and wide the waste
Of desert limitless was trac'd;
Far off, the blue Judean hills
Threw up their purple pinnacles;
Far off, the Lebanon,
With all its stately cedars, shone;
And close at hand, with trampling feet,
The sea the yellow beach did beat.
And, pacing slow that distant strand,
My thoughts return'd to native land,
Sought like a bird the distant home
O'er twice a thousand leagues of foam;
When sudden the familiar cry
Of the small beach bird whistled by.
It was thy well-known pilgrim flock
That flits by native reef and rock,
And like a blessing did it cheer
My heart, and warble in my ear.
When Autumn lays his sultry hand
O'er all the glimmering, ribb'd sea-sand,
Then all the lengthen'd sea-coast rings
With voices, and is bright with wings;
Then every shell-strewn bay and cape
Each sunken reef the sea-weeds drape.
Each jutting headland, and each bar
Where the surf tumbles fast and far,
Is winnow'd by the pinions gray
Of sea-birds sporting o'er the spray.
The willet and the shrill curlew,
The teal with his gay wings of blue,
The golden plover and the gull,
Are there, in tempest and in lull;
But none so dear to eye and ear
As thy soft plumes and pipings clear.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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