Sunset Land – Poem by Ella Higginson 1890- Good Housekeeping
How still it was amid those dark, old trees
That dropped fir needles on our wide-stretched tent
What long, dim, ghoulish shadows curled and bent
About our door, stirred by each spiced breeze
While night stole to us o’er the broad, blue seas
Pale, sunset skies with plumy forests blent
And soft reflections to the green earth lent
The drowsy droning of belated bees
The long, soft lushing of the flowing tide
The clinking of a brook against a stone
Made music sweet as silver bells. Beside
Our tent, in pools with mellow monotone
Murmured the frogs. So deep, and vast, and wide
Came on the night and we were all alone!
Like stars within some black-rimmed wave, your eyes
Sent trembling glances deep into my own
Your hammock faintly swung, One moonbeam shone
Upon your milk-white breast. How swift time flies,
In such an hour beneath these mellow skies!
I trembled nearer and my arms were thrown
Around your throbbing throat alone, alone
We two, in gladdest passionate surprise,
To feel each heart against each other beat
And know that we were young and life was sweet!
Each swelling pulse into its comrade curled
We loved — we loved– forgetting all the world!
Unworthy, I bent o’er your hammock bed
And both our souls in one long kiss was wed.
Fair was your face as apple blossoms snow;
Cleft as the scarlet of your sweet lips’ thread
Within your cheek one rising flush of red
Forerun the coming of love’s warmer glow
A bunch of crimson poppies trembled low
Half-awed against your breast; your dark, crowned head
Was sweet with odorous flowers. Conquered, love-led,
I let the hours slip by, I loved you so–
Dear heart I loved you so, and yet we knew
While thy pure lips were wedded unto mine
This hour to be our last. Solemnly you
Soft, trembling arms, around my throat did twine
And kissed me sweet farewell. O, love to dwell
That hour with thee hast brought foretaste of hell.
The Puget Sound still sparkles in the west
Caressing with her blue arms sunset land
Blown sails drift by the shores whereon I stand
And gleaming seagulls cleave the bright waves’ crest
But empty are my arms and sad my breast
Thy own wild poppies bloom beneath my hand
Once I bound them into a girdle-band
To grace thy slender waist in fierce unrest
I crush them now beneath my heel. Fir trees
Drop needles all day long about my feet
The tide flows in with dreamy, rhythmic beat
Pink-hearted shells unsought lie on the beach
An empty hammock swings within my reach
But you and I, O God, are far apart!
He holds thy kisses –but I –hold thy heart!