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Dora Sigerson Shorter (Дора Сигерсон Шортер)

When You Are on the Sea

How can I laugh or dance as others do,
   Or ply my rock or reel?
My heart will still return to dreams of you
   Beside my spinning-wheel.

My little dog he cried out in the dark,
   He would not whisht for me:
I took him to my side—why did he bark
   When you were on the sea?

I fear the red cock—if he crow to-night—
   I keep him close and warm,
’Twere ill with me, if he should wake in fright
   And you out in the storm.

I dare not smile for fear my laugh would ring
   Across your dying ears;
O, if you, drifting, drowned, should hear me sing
   And think I had not tears.

I never thought the sea could wake such waves,
   Nor that such winds could be;
I never wept when other eyes grew blind
   For some one on the sea.

But now I fear and pray all things for you,
   How many dangers be!
I set my wheel aside, what can I do
   When you are on the sea?

Dora Sigerson Shorter's other poems:
  1. I Prayed So Eagerly
  2. My Neighbour’s Garden
  3. The Blow Returned
  4. For Ever
  5. The Wreckage

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