A STRIP OF BLUE
by: Lucy Larcom (1824-1893)
- DO not
own an inch of land,
- But all I see is mine,--
- The orchard and the mowing fields,
- The lawns and gardens fine.
- The winds my tax-collectors are,
- They bring me tithes divine,--
- Wild scents and subtle essences,
- A tribute rare and free;
- And, more magnificent than all,
- My window keeps for me
- A glimpse of blue immensity,--
- A little strip of sea.
- Richer am I than he who owns
- Great fleets and argosies;
- I have a share in every ship
- Won by the inland breeze,
- To loiter on yon airy road
- Above the apple-trees.
- I freight them with my untold dreams;
- Each bears my own picked crew;
- And nobler cargoes wait for them
- Than ever India knew,--
- My ships that sail into the East
- Across that outlet blue.
- Sometimes they seem like living shapes,--
- The people of the sky,--
- Guests in white raiment coming down
- From heaven, which is close by;
- I call them by familiar names,
- As one by one draws nigh.
- So white, so light, so spirit-like,
- From violet mists they bloom!
- The aching wastes of the unknown
- Are half reclaimed from gloom,
- Since on life's hospitable sea
- All souls find sailing-room.
- The ocean grows a weariness
- With nothing else in sight;
- Its east and west, its north and south,
- Spread out from morn till night;
- We miss the warm, caressing shore,
- Its brooding shade and light.
- A part is greater than the whole;
- By hints are mysteries told.
- The fringes of eternity,--
- God's sweeping garment-fold,
- In that bright shred of glittering sea,
- I reach out for and hold.
- The sails, like flakes of roseate pearl,
- Float in upon the mist;
- The waves are broken precious stones,--
- Sapphire and amethyst
- Washed from celestial basement walls,
- By suns unsettling kist.
- Out through the utmost gates of space,
- Past where the gray stars drift,
- To the widening Infinite, my soul
- Glides on, a vessel swift,
- Yet loses not her anchorage
- In yonder azure rift.
- Here sit I, as a little child;
- The threshold of God's door
- Is that clear band of chrysoprase;
- Now the vast temple floor,
- The blinding glory of the dome
- I bow my head before.
- Thy universe, O God, is home,
- In height or depth, to me;
- Yet here upon thy footstool green
- Content am I to be;
- Glad when is oped unto my need
- Some sea-like glimpse of Thee.
POEMS BY LUCY LARCOM
"A Strip of Blue" is reprinted
from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed.
Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.