The Iceberg and Other Poems

by Charles G.D. Roberts




SOMETIMES you saw what others could not see.
    Sometimes you heard what no one else could hear:—
A light beyond the unfathomable dark,
    A voice that sounded only to your ear.

And did you, voyaging the tides of vision

    In your lone shallop, steering by what star,
Catch hints of some Elysian fragrance, wafted
    On winds impalpable, from who knows how far?

And did dawn show you driftage from strange continents
    Of which we dream but no man surely knows,—

Some shed gold leafage from the Tree Eternal,
    Some petals of the Imperishable Rose?

And did you once, Columbus of the spirit,
    Essay the crossing of that unknown sea,
Really touch land beyond the mists of rumour

    And find new lands where they were dreamed to be?

Ah, why brought you not back the word of power,
    The charted course, the unambiguous sign,
Or even some small seed, whence we might grow
    A flower unmistakably divine?


But you came empty-handed, and your tongue
    Babbled strange tidings none could wholly trust.
And if we half believed you, it was only
    Because we would, and not because we must.