Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MILL STREAM, by ELIZA KEARY

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THE MILL STREAM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The mother slept beside the fire
Last Line: In the opening of the door.
Subject(s): Mills & Millers

THE mother slept beside the fire,
The child stood at the door,
He looked at the little room behind
And the sunny fields before.

Mother has slept for half an hour,
And she is sleeping still,
Father works in his garden,
A long way up the hill.
Old John comes slowly down the road
With his waggon and his team;
This is the day for me to play
By the beautiful Mill Stream.

And if my mother should awake
(But I do not think she will)
She'd say, "I know he'd never go
Down to the dangerous Mill."
Sleep, mother, sleep, and then, and then --
I'll quickly be there and back again.

He turned and left the cottage
Without one parting look;
Ran quickly down the grassy slope,
And stood before the brook.

How still the wheel is waiting,
As if 'twere in a dream;
O! surely I may stop and play,
Mother would call it safe to-day
Beside the boist'rous stream.

I see the rushes growing
A little from the land;
I see a round white stone
Resting upon the sand,
And I can see there's room for me,
Just room for me to stand;
He said, then raised his rosy arm,
And stretched his dimpled hand.

But the wheel is still no longer,
Its pleasant dream is gone;
The miller has begun his work,
And turned the water on.

The child looked up to listen
To the Mill Stream's rumbling moan;
The water tossed its foaming spray,
Dashed furiously upon its way,
And swept him from the stone.

Downward the river bore him,
Amongst the sedge and sand;
And there he still is lying,
With the rushes in his hand.

Ever at golden sunset
There comes a wailing scream;
And sobs and moans sweep round the stones
Of the treach'rous Mill Stream.

The mother weeps beside the fire,
The father is on the hill;
The waggoner still drives his team,
The water turns the mill.

The sunny folds have looked since then
As bright as they looked before;
But the child will never stand again
In the opening of the door.

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