Henry Lawson

poems:

21

the water lily

A lonely young wife in her dreaming discerns a lily-decked pool with a border of ferns, and a beautiful child, with butterfly wings, trips down to the edge of the water and sings: ‘Come, mamma! Come! ‘Quick! Follow me — ‘Step out on the leaves of the water-lily!’ And the lonely young wife, her heart beating wild, cries: ‘Wait till I come, ‘Till I reach you, my child!’ But the beautiful child with butterfly wings steps out on the leaves of the lily and sings: ‘Come, mamma! Come! ‘Quick! Follow me! ‘And step on the leaves of the water-lily! And the wife in her dreaming steps out on the stream, but the lily leaves sink and she wakes from her dream. Ah, the waking is sad, for the tears that it brings, and she knows ’tis her dead baby’s spirit that sings: ‘Come, mamma! Come! ‘Quick! Follow me! ‘Step out on the leaves of the water-lily!’

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