Old Spookses’ Pass, Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems

by Isabella Valancy Crawford




  What doth the moon so lily white,
Busily weave this Summer night?
Silver ropes and diamond strands
For Baby’s pink and dimpl’d hands;
Cords for her rosy palms to hold,

       While she floats, she flies,
To Dream Land set with its shores of gold,
And its buds like stars shaken out of the skies;
Where the trees have tongues and the flowers have lips

                      To coax, to kiss,
  The velvet cheek of the Babe who slips
Thro’ the Dream gate up to a land like this.

What is the mild sea whisp’ring clear
In the rosy shell of Baby’s ear ?
See! she laughs in her dimpl’d sleep—

  What does she hear from the shining deep?


“Thy father comes a-sailing, a-sailing, a-sailing,
Safely comes a-sailing from islands fair and far.
O Baby, bid thy mother cease her tears and bitter wailing
The sailor’s wife’s his only port, his babe his beacon star!”
[Page 104]  
  Softly the Wind doth blow,
What say its murmurs low?
     What doth it bring

 On the wide soft plume of its dewy wing?
  “Only scented blisses
  Of innocent, sweet kisses,
     For such cheeks as this is,
          Of Baby in her nest.
From all the dreaming flowers,
A-nodding in their bowers;

  Or bright on leafy towers,
     Where the fairy monarchs rest.”
“But chiefly I bring,
     On my fresh sweet mouth,
Her father’s kiss,

       As he sails out of the south.
He hitherward blew it at break of day,
     I lay it, Babe, on thy tender lip;
I’ll steal another and hie away,
     And kiss it to him on his wave-rock’d ship.”
  I saw a fairy twine
Of star-white Jessamine;

 A dainty seat shaped like an airy swing;
  With two round yellow stars,
Against the misty bars

  Of Night; she nailed it high
In the pansy-purple sky,

 With four taps of her little rainbow wing.
       To and fro
     That swing I’ll blow.
[Page 105]
The baby moon in the amethyst sky
Will laugh at us as we float and fly,
And stretch her silver arms and try
To catch the earth-babe swinging by.
[Page 106]