OUT OF THE CRADLE ENDLESSLY ROCKING
Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the mocking-bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-
Over the sterile sands and the fields beyond, where the child
leaving his bed wander'd
alone, bareheaded, barefoot,
Down from the shower'd halo,
Up from the mystic play of shadows twining
and twisting as if
they were alive,
Out from the patches of briers and blackberries,
From the memories of
the bird that chanted to me,
From your memories sad brother, from the fitful risings and
fallings I heard,
under that yellow half-moon late-risen and swollen as
if with tears,
From those beginning notes of yearning
and love there in the
From the thousand responses of my heart never to cease,
From the myriad
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such as now they start
the scene revisiting,
As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing,
Borne hither, ere all eludes me,
A man, yet by these tears a little boy again,
Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves,
chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,
Taking all hints to use them, but swiftly leaping
A reminiscence sing.
When the lilac-scent was in the air and Fifth-month grass
Up this seashore
in some briers,
Two feather'd guests from Alabama, two together,
And their nest, and four light-green
eggs spotted with brown,
And every day the he-bird to and fro near at hand,
And every day the she-bird
crouch'd on her nest, silent, with
And every day I, a curious boy, never too close, never
Cautiously peering, absorbing, translating.
Shine! shine! shine!
Pour down your warmth, great sun!
While we bask, we two together.
Winds blow south, or winds blow north,
Day come white, or night come black,
rivers and mountains from home,
Singing all time, minding no time,
While we two keep together.
Till of a sudden,
May-be kill'd, unknown to her mate,
One forenoon the she-bird crouch'd not on the nest,
return'd that afternoon, nor the next,
Nor ever appear'd again.
And thenceforward all summer in the sound of the sea,
And at night under the full of the moon in calmer
Over the hoarse surging of the sea,
Or flitting from brier by day,
I saw, I heard at intervals the
remaining one, the he-bird,
The solitary guest from Alabama.
Blow! blow! blow!
Blow up sea-winds along Paumanok's shore;
I wait and I wait till you blow my mate to
Yes, when the stars glisten'd,
All night long on the prong of a moss-scallop'd stake,
Down almost amid
the slapping waves,
Sat the lone singer wonderful causing tears.
He call'd on his mate,
He pour'd forth the meanings which I of all men know.
Yes my brother I know,
The rest might not, but I have treasur'd every note,
For more than once dimly
down to the beach gliding,
Silent, avoiding the moonbeams, blending myself with the
now the obscure shapes, the echoes, the sounds
and sights after their sorts,
The white arms out in the
breakers tirelessly tossing,
I, with bare feet, a child, the wind wafting my hair,
Listen'd long and long.
Listen'd to keep, to sing, now translating the notes,
Following you my brother.
Soothe! soothe! soothe!
Close on its wave soothes the wave behind,
And again another behind embracing
and lapping, every one close,
But my love soothes not me, not me.
Low hangs the moon, it rose late,
It is lagging O I think it is heavy with love, with love.
O madly the sea pushes upon the land,
With love, with love.