Poems and Essays

by Joseph Howe




Sister mine, I’m on the sea
    In mid ocean once again,
Amidst the waves I think of thee,
    My ever noble sister Jane.

Like a matron, myriad breasted,
    Ocean’s billows rise and fall,
Roundly swelling, curled and crested,
    Heavenly blue o’er arching all.

Living seems the World of Waters
    Grandly throbbing ’neath the eye.
Waves on Waves, like Neptune’s Daughters,
    Dance and frolic ’neath the sky.

Intensely varied the expression,
    Movements rapid as the wind.
Soaring thought and sad depression,
    Flying o’er the gazer’s mind.

Mirror’d on the waves of Ocean,
    I my Sister’s form can trace,
With reverent love and deep devotion,
    On the Clouds I see her face.

See her as I saw her first,
    Juno’s form, and neck, and brow,
Then when Time has done his worst,
    I see her as I know her now. [Page 117]

Ever Queen like,—graceful—good
    Ruling gently all around,
As before my eyes she stood,
    On “the Arm’s” enchanted ground.

As she stood beneath the Willow
    In the dear old poplin dress,
As she smoothed my nightly pillow,
    With thoughtful word and kind caress.

As, in white, she went that day
    From the scenes her girlhood knew,
Unconscious of the weary way,
    That Fate with carking cares would strew.

As, in matron pride, she shone
    When Johnny’s cherub face was near,
As she mourned when he was gone
    The early lost—to both so dear.

As she looked when Sarah left us
    Ne’er to bless our sight again,
Dearly loved and early ’reft us,
    Doomed to die upon the main.

As she ever, Sister kindest,
    Bravest, best, has been to me,
Ever to my faults the blindest,
    Comes she now upon the sea.

Silver’d o’er the locks of raven
    Black that bound her youthful brow,
Lines of suffering, deeply graven,
    Change the sweet expression now. [Page 118]

But her form, erect as ever,
    And her gracious style and mien,
Time himself shall blight them never,
    She shall live and die a Queen.

Not like her who, sorrow stricken,
    Built her throne her knees beneath,
But howe’er the dark clouds thicken
    Crowned by Heaven with duty’s wreath.

Yes! my dearest, thou hast ever
    Duty’s pathway bravely trod
Swerving from the precepts never
    Of your Father and your God.

Like the billow’s restless motion
    My unquiet life has been,
Grand and stormy as the Ocean
    Bits of blue and sun between.

With the tides of conflict swerving,
    High of heart and stern of will,
Thou, however tried, deserving
    Heaven’s serenest pleasures still.

They are coming, Sister mine,
    Not on Earth they come to thee,
Hov’ring, now, thy Spirit fine
    From our midst prepares to flee

To the realm where half our treasures,
    Safely garnered in the sky,
Wait to greet with endless pleasures
    Her whose eyes were rarely dry. [Page 119]