Oh, a wonderful stream is the river of Time,
As it runs through the realm of tears,
With a faultless rhythm and a musical rhyme,
And a boundless sweep and a surge sublime,
As it blends with the ocean of Years.
How the winters are drifting, like flakes of snow,
And the summers, like buds between;
And the year in the sheaf—so they come and they go,
On the river’s breast, with its ebb and flow,
As it glides in the shadow and sheen.
There’s a magical isle up the river of Time,
Where the softest of airs are playing;
There’s a cloudless sky and a tropical clime,
And a song as sweet as a vesper chime,
And the Junes with the roses are staying.
And the name of that isle is the Long Ago,
And we bury our treasures there;
There are brows of beauty and bosoms of snow—
There are heaps of dust—but we love them so!—
There are trinkets and tresses of hair;
There are fragments of song that nobody sings,
And a part of an infant’s prayer,
There’s a lute unswept, and a harp without strings;
There are broken vows and pieces of rings,
And the garments that she used to wear.
There are hands that are waved, when the fairy shore
By the mirage is lifted in air;
And we sometimes hear, through the turbulent roar,
Sweet voices we heard in the days gone before,
When the wind down the river is fair.
Oh, remembered for aye be the blessed Isle,
All the day of our life till night—
When the evening comes with its beautiful smile.
And our eyes are closing to slumber awhile,
May that “Greenwood” of Soul be in sight!
NOTE: The last line of this poem needs explanation. “Greenwood” is the name of a cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y. “Greenwood of Soul” means the soul’s resting place, or heaven.