The spring that once translucent rose
And left its source on high
Abroad to wander far and free
And gaze upon the sky
Crawls homeward to its ocean grave
In technic sludge and mire;
Now dead by foul contagion’s hand,
Its bed a watery pyre.
‘Tween banks of verdant innocence
Its childhood waters played:
O'erhead an arch arboreal spread
Its welcome dappled shade.
I gazed on its pellucid deaths,
Narcissus-like I saw
The promise of the years to come
And many a vow I swore.
“I will o'ertop the world”, I cried.
But how could I divine
The ambush lurking on the road
That beast to undermine?
To town where Vulcan’s temple stood
The limpid waters rushed,
Machine-made effluent faeces gulped
And, with infection flushed,
The palsied, foul and turgid stream
Could scares its load convey:
Far off the cleansing sea and gone
The rippling laughter gay.
E’en thus the world beset our youth;
The world has had its way:
The years have weighed the shoulders down
And all is now decay.
The daisies at my feet are dead;
The wind is fierce and chill;
A quivering hand now holds the cup
That is so hard to fill.
Familiar bards have ceased to speak
And music’s lips are dumb;
The fingers cannot pluck the strings
For mind and hands are numb.
The sun has set and evening come;
‘Tis twilight over all;
And darkness soon will cover me
with its perfidious pall.
Alas, the tears at eventide,
The pain that racks the frame;
The agonies of grim remorse.
With mind and body lame.
Oh, I have heard the seagulls' cry,
The bark stands by the shore;
A few faint footprints on the sands:
I have deserved no more.