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The Chambly Rapid Post by :dopom9 Category :Poems Author :Frank Oliver Call Date :October 2011 Read :1270

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The Chambly Rapid

There's a spirit in the rapid, calling, calling through the night,
There's a gleam upon the water, burning pale and burning bright.
Woe to him who hears the calling! Woe to him who sees the light!


My son and I had left St. Jean,
Our paddles dipping in the blue,
And many miles to north had gone
Along the silent Richelieu;
The night came down, we thought of rest;
A threatening cloud hung in the west.

No warning sound the river made
Save for the rapid's muffled roar,
As 'neath the pine-trees' deepening shade
We camped upon that luckless shore;
No sound the night-wind bore to me
Save one weird echo from Chambly.

The night grew dark and darker still,
The pale-faced moon was hid from sight,
When o'er the waters black and chill
We saw a ghastly, gleaming light,---
A fitful fire, pale and blue,
That burned my inmost spirit through.

And like some baleful gleaming eye
It shone beneath night's heavy pall;
Then high above the loon's lone cry
Afar we heard the spirit call;
It called us from the other shore.
Ah, Jean will never hear it more!

I could not seize or hold him back,
For while the light burned pale and blue,
A heavy hand from out the black
Held me beside my own canoe,
And ere I stirred, the other barque
Had silent sped into the dark.

Adown the river's drifting tide
To where the wild, mad rapids run,
Past pine-trees towering on each side
His frail canoe had drifted on;
He did not look to left or right
But gazed upon that hell-born light.

And ever swifter with the flow
He drifted where the rapids play,
His eyes still on that awful glow;
Ah, God! my life seemed snatched away!
I saw a gleam far up the sky
And heard the echo of a cry.


There's a spirit in the rapid, calling, calling through the night,
There's a gleam upon the water, burning pale and burning bright.
Woe to him who hears the calling! Woe to him who sees the light!


(The end)
Frank Oliver Call's poem: Chambly Rapid

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