Olivia Ward Bush-Banks' Original Poems and Driftwood


Sung by the strand to the music of the wave.


Bright glows the morn, I pace the shining sands,
And watch the children, as with eager hands
They gather driftwood for the evening fire.
Their merry laughter, ringing loud and clear,
Resounds like sweetest music to my ear,
As swift they toil, each with the same desire.

And now their task completed, they depart,
Each one with beaming face and happy heart,
They too, will watch the driftwood fire to-night,
And knowing this, they hasten glad and gay,
With willing feet, along the homeward way,
Their precious burdens bearing with delight.

I watch these little children of the poor,
Till they have reached each lowly dwelling's door,
And then, I too my footsteps homeward turn;
I fancy what a joyous sight 'twill be,
To see the children sitting in their glee,
Close by the fire and laugh to see it burn.


From out my open window, I can see
The rolling waves, as fierce and restlessly,
They dash against the long, long stretch of shore,
And in the distance, I can dimly trace,
Some out-bound vessel having left her place
Of Harbor, to return perhaps no more.

Within my mind there dwells this lingering thought,
How oft from ill the greatest good is wrought,
Perhaps some shattered wreck along the strand,
Will help to make the fire burn more bright,
And for some weary traveller to-night,
'Twill serve the purpose of a guiding hand.

Ah yes, and thus it is with these our lives,
Some poor misshapen remnant still survives,
Of what was once a fair and beauteous form,
And yet some dwelling may be made more bright,
Some one afar may catch a gleam of light,
After the fury of the blighting storm.


And now the sun in tinted splendor sank,
The west was all aglow with crimson light;
The bay seemed like a sheet of burnished gold,
Its waters glistened with such radiance bright.

At anchor lay the yachts with snow-white sails,
Outlined against the glowing, rose-hued sky;
No ripple stirred the waters' calm repose
Save when a tiny craft sped lightly by.

Our boat was drifting slowly, gently round,
To rest secure till evening shadows fell;
No sound disturbed the stillness of the air,
Save the soft chiming of the vesper bell.

Yes, drifting, drifting; and I thought that life,
When nearing death, is like the sunset sky:
And death is but the slow, sure drifting in,
To rest far more securely, by and by.

Then let me drift along the Bay of time,
Till my last sun shall set in glowing light;
Let me cast anchor where no shadows fall,
Full safely moored within Heaven's harbor bright.

Newport, June 12, 1898.

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