If Once You Have Slept on an Island
By: Rachel Field (1894–1942)
If once you have slept on an island
You’ll never be quite the same;
You may look as you looked the day before
And go by the same old name,
You may bustle about in street and shop;
You may sit at home and sew,
But you’ll see blue water and wheeling gulls
Wherever your feet may go.
You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
And close to your fire keep,
But you’ll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bell
And tides beat through your sleep.
Oh, you won’t know why, and you can’t say how
Such change upon you came,
But – once you have slept on an island
You’ll never be quite the same!
A Strip of Blue
By: Lucy Larcom (1824–1893)
I 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.
O to sail
By: Walt Whitman (1819–1892)
O to sail in a ship,
To leave this steady unendurable land,
To leave the tiresome sameness of the streets,
the sidewalks and the houses,
To leave you, O you solid motionless land, and
entering a ship,
To sail and sail and sail!