Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PICTURES FROM APPLEDORE: 3, by JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL



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PICTURES FROM APPLEDORE: 3, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Away northeast is boone island light
Last Line: With a deep, hoarse pant against appledore.
Subject(s): Isles Of Shoals, New Hampshire


Away northeast is Boone Island light;
You might mistake it for a ship,
Only it stands too plumb upright,
And like the others does not slip
Behind the sea's unsteady brink;
Though, if a cloud-shade chance to dip
Upon it a moment, 't will suddenly sink,
Levelled and lost in the darkened main,
Till the sun builds it suddenly up again,
As if with a rub of Aladdin's lamp.
On the mainland you see a misty camp
Of mountains pitched tumultuously:
That one looming so long and large
Is Saddleback, and that point you see
Over you low and rounded marge,
Like the boss of a sleeping giant's targe
Laid over his breast, is Ossipee;
That shadow there may be Kearsarge;
That must be Great Haystack; I love these names,
Wherewith the lonely farmer tames
Nature to mute companionship
With his own mind's domestic mood,
And strives the surly world to clip
In the arms of familiar habitude.
'T is well he could not contrive to make
A Saxon of Agamenticus:
He glowers there to the north of us,
Wrapt in his blanket of blue haze,
Unconvertibly savage, and scorns to take
The white man's baptism or his ways.
Him first on shore the coaster divines
Through the early gray, and sees him shake
The morning mist from his scalp-lock of pines;
Him first the skipper makes out in the west,
Ere the earliest sunstreak shoots tremulous,
Plashing with orange the palpitant lines
Of mutable billow, crest after crest,
And murmurs Agamenticus!
As if it were the name of a saint.
But is that a mountain playing cloud,
Or a cloud playing mountain, just there, so faint?
Look along over the low right shoulder
Of Agamenticus into that crowd
Of brassy thunderheads behind it;
Now you have caught it, but, ere you are older
By half an hour, you will lose it and find it
A score of times; while you look 't is gone,
And, just as you've given it up, anon
It is there again, till your weary eyes
Fancy they see it waver and rise,
With its brother clouds; it is Agiochook,
There if you seek not, and gone if you look,
Ninety miles off as the eagle flies.

But mountains make not all the shore
The mainland shows to Appledore;
Eight miles the heaving water spreads
To a long low coast with beaches and heads
That run through unimagined mazes,
As the lights and shades and magical hazes
Put them away or bring them near,
Shimmering, sketched out for thirty miles
Between two capes that waver like threads,
And sink in the ocean, and reappear,
Crumbled and melted to little isles,
With filmy trees, that seem the mere
Half-fancies of drowsy atmosphere;
And see the beach there, where it is
Flat as a threshing-floor, beaten and packed
With the flashing flails of weariless seas,
How it lifts and looms to a precipice,
O'er whose square front, a dream, no more,
The steepened sand-stripes seem to pour,
A murmurless vision of cataract;
You almost fancy you hear a roar,
Fitful and faint from the distance wandering;
But 'tis only the blind old ocean maundering,
Raking the shingle to and dro,
Aimlessly clutching and letting go
The kelp-haired sedges of Appledore.
Slipping down with a sleepy forgetting,
And anon his ponderous shoulder setting,
With a deep, hoarse pant against Appledore.




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