The Fisherman's Wife

Menella Bute Smedley

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The wind bloweth wildly; she stands on the shore;
She shudders to hear it, and will evermore.
The rush of the waves, as they rose and they fell,
Evermore to her fancy will sound like a knell!

“When, mother, dear mother, will father return?
His supper is ready,—the sticks brightly burn;
His chair is beside them, with dry shoes and coat,
I'm longing to kiss him,—Oh, where is the boat?
“Why does he not come with his fish on his arm?
He must want his supper,—he cannot be warm;
I'll stroke his cold cheek, with his wet hair I'll play,
I want so to kiss him,—Oh, why does he stay?”

Unheeding the voice of that prattler, she stood
To watch the wild war of the tempest and flood;
One little black speck in the distance doth float,
'Tis her world—'tis her life—'tis her fisherman's boat!
Her poor heart beats madly 'twixt hope and despair,
She watches his boat with a wild, glassy stare;
Ah! 'tis hid beneath torrents of silvery spray,
! 'tis buried mid chasms that yawn for their prey.

Over mountains of horrible waves it is tost,
It is far—it is near—it is safe—it is lost!
The proud waves of ocean unheeding rush on,
But, alas! for the little black speck—it is gone!
Oh! weep for the fisherman's boat, but weep more
For the desolate woman who stands on the shore!
She flies to her home with a shrill cry of pain,
To that home where her loved one returns not again.

All night she sits speechless, her child weeping near,
But no sob shakes her bosom,—her eye feels no tear;
In heartbroken, motionless, stupid despair,
She sits gazing on,—at his coat and his chair.
Hark! a click of the latch,—a hand opens the door,
'Tis a step—her heart leaps—'tis his step on the floor;
He stands there before her all dripping and wet,
But his smile and his kiss have warm life in them yet.

He is here, he is safe, though his boat is a wreck;
He sinks in his chair—while her arms clasp his neck,
And a sweet little voice in his ear whispers this,
“Do kiss me, dear father—I long for a kiss!”

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