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Drifting Away: A Fragment

(Written for music to be sung at a parish industrial exhibition)

See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices;
Fields and gardens hail the spring;
Shaughs and woodlands ring with voices,
While the wild birds build and sing.

You, to whom your Maker granted
Powers to those sweet birds unknown,
Use the craft by God implanted;
Use the reason not your own.
Here, while heaven and earth rejoices,
Each his Easter tribute bring-
Work of fingers, chant of voices,
Like the birds who build and sing.

Eversley, 1867.
They drift away. Ah, God! they drift for ever.
I watch the stream sweep onward to the sea,
Like some old battered buoy upon a roaring river,
Round whom the tide-waifs hang-then drift to sea.

I watch them drift-the old familiar faces,
Who fished and rode with me, by stream and wold,
Till ghosts, not men, fill old beloved places,
And, ah! the land is rank with churchyard mold.

I watch them drift-the youthful aspirations,
Shores, landmarks, beacons, drift alike.
. . . . .
I watch them drift-the poets and the statesmen;
The very streams run upward from the sea.
. . . . . .
Yet overhead the boundless arch of heaven
Still fades to night, still blazes into day.
. . . . .
Ah, God! My God! Thou wilt not drift away

November 1867.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:09 min read
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Charles Kingsley

Charles Kingsley was a priest of the Church of England, a university professor, historian and novelist. more…

All Charles Kingsley poems | Charles Kingsley Books

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