Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LITTLE BROOK OVER THE HILL, by HARRY HIBBARD KEMP



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THE LITTLE BROOK OVER THE HILL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The little brook over the hill that my childhood / knew
Last Line: That had swept with death the little brook over the hill.
Subject(s): Brooks; Country Life; Death; Mountains; Streams; Creeks; Dead, The; Hills; Downs (great Britain)


THE little brook over the hill that my childhood knew
Where fragrant mint and slender willows grew—
Like vanishing flashes of light the minnows swam
In its rippled shallows. I mind me the dripping dam

Builded of logs and stones and sod breast-high,
Where the brimming waters stole a patch of the sky
And we splashed 'mid clouds and parted watery trees,
And shouted and leaped, and raced at naked ease.
I believe in dryads and nymphs and satyrs still
Because of the little brook at the foot of the hill.

How it flashed a thousand bickering gleams in one
When it caught the full effulgence of the sun.
How it teemed with life: for a thousand tribes dwelt there,
Curious, delicate, purple, and argent-fair—
The dragon fly that poised on a rippling blade
Of grass, unnumbered creatures of sun and shade,
Wee lives that throve under stones and scurried away
When a wanton hand let in a storm of the day—
Claw, and fin, and scale, and shell, and gill,
There was life a-swarm in the little brook over the hill.

The little brook over the hill—I wandered away,
And then, grown taller of life, came back one day,
And I found they had taken my little brook over the hill
To turn the roaring wheels of a smoky mill;
Blue-bursting bubbles, circle-wise swimming, had slain
The teeming lives of which my heart had been fain—
Only belligerent crayfish here and there
Fought on for being; and willows draggled and bare
Strove for the sun; the trees were shrunken and wried
And all the beautiful little lives had died. ...
And I cursed the greedy world and the ruthless mill
That had swept with death the little brook over the hill.





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