The Wave

I am the Wave of Life...




 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow




White swan of cities, slumbering in thy nest

So wonderfully built among the reeds

Of the lagoon, that fences thee and feeds,

As sayeth thy old historian and thy guest!

White water-lily, cradled and caressed

By ocean streams, and from the silt and weeds

Lifting thy golden filaments and seeds,

Thy sun-illumined spires, thy crown and crest!

White phantom city, whose untrodden streets

Are rivers, and whose pavements are the shifting

Shadows of palaces and strips of sky;

I wait to see thee vanish like the fleets

Seen in mirage, or towers of cloud uplifting

In air their unsubstantial masonry.




The Old Bridge At Florence




Taddeo Gaddi built me. I am old,

Five centuries old. I plant my foot of stone

Upon the Arno, as St. Michael's own

Was planted on the dragon. Fold by fold

Beneath me as it struggles. I behold

Its glistening scales. Twice hath it overthrown

My kindred and companions. Me alone

It moveth not, but is by me controlled.

I can remember when the Medici

Were driven from Florence; longer still ago

The final wars of Ghibelline and Guelf.

Florence adorns me with her jewelry;

And when I think that Michael Angelo

Hath leaned on me, I glory in myself.



The Wave 




'Whither, thou turbid wave?

Whither, with so much haste,

As if a thief wert thou?'


'I am the Wave of Life,

Stained with my margin's dust;

From the struggle and the strife

Of the narrow stream I fly

To the Sea's immensity,

To wash from me the slime

Of the muddy banks of Time.'

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