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The Whip-poor-will Post by :Frank_Harris Category :Poems Author :Henry Van Dyke Date :December 2010 Read :3102

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The Whip-poor-will

Do you remember, father,--
It seems so long ago,--
The day we fished together
Along the Pocono?
At dusk I waited for you,
Beside the lumber-mill,
And there I heard a hidden bird
That chanted, "whip-poor-will,"
"_Whippoorwill!_ _whippoorwill!_"
Sad and shrill,--"_whippoorwill!_"

The place was all deserted;
The mill-wheel hung at rest;
The lonely star of evening
Was throbbing in the west;
The veil of night was falling;
The winds were folded still;
And everywhere the trembling air
Re-echoed "whip-poor-will!"
"_Whippoorwill!_ _whippoorwill!_"
Sad and shrill,--"_whippoorwill!_"

You seemed so long in coming,
I felt so much alone;
The wide, dark world was round me,
And life was all unknown;
The hand of sorrow touched me,
And made my senses thrill
With all the pain that haunts the strain
Of mournful whip-poor-will.
"_Whippoorwill!_ _whippoorwill!_"
Sad and shrill,--"_whippoorwill!_"

What knew I then of trouble?
An idle little lad,
I had not learned the lessons
That make men wise and sad.
I dreamed of grief and parting,
And something seemed to fill
My heart with tears, while in my ears
Resounded "whip-poor-will."
"_Whippoorwill!_ _whippoorwill!_"
Sad and shrill,--"_whippoorwill!_"

'Twas but a cloud of sadness,
That lightly passed away;
But I have learned the meaning
Of sorrow, since that day.
For nevermore at twilight,
Beside the silent mill,
I'll wait for you, in the falling dew,
And hear the whip-poor-will.
"_Whippoorwill!_ _whippoorwill!_"
Sad and shrill,--"_whippoorwill!_"

But if you still remember
In that fair land of light,
The pains and fears that touch us
Along this edge of night,
I think all earthly grieving,
And all our mortal ill,
To you must seem like a sad boy's dream.
Who hears the whip-poor-will.
"_Whippoorwill!_ _whippoorwill!_"
A passing thrill,--"_whippoorwill!_"

1894.


(The end)
Henry Van Dyke's poem: Whip-poor-will

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