Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, JENNY JUNE, by BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TAYLOR



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JENNY JUNE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Like a foundling in slumber, the summer-day lay
Last Line: Bears the willow-tree's shadow forever.
Variant Title(s): The Beautiful River
Subject(s): Absence; Separation; Isolation


LIKE a foundling in slumber, the summer-day lay
On the crimsoning threshold of even,
And I thought that the glow through the azure-arched way
Was a glimpse of the coming of Heaven.
There together we sat by the beautiful stream;
We had nothing to do but to love and to dream,
In the days that have gone on before.
These are not the same days, though they bear the same name,
With the ones I shall welcome no more.

But it may be that angels are calling them o'er,
For a Sabbath and summer forever,
When the years shall forget the Decembers they wore,
And the shroud shall be woven, no never!
In a twilight like that, Jennie June for a bride,
O, what more of the world could one wish for beside,
As we gazed on the river unrolled,
Till we heard, or we fancied, its musical tide,
When it flowed through the gateway of gold!

"Jennie June," then I said, "let us linger no more
On the banks of the beautiful river;
Let the boat be unmoored, and be muffled the oar,
And we 'll steal into heaven together.
If the angel on duty our coming descries,
You have nothing to do but throw off the disguise
That you wore while you wandered with me,
And the sentry shall say, 'Welcome back to the skies,
We long have been waiting for thee.' "

Oh! how sweetly she spoke, ere she uttered a word,
With that blush, partly hers, partly even's,
And a tone, like the dream of a song we once heard,
As she whispered, "This way is not heaven's:
For the River that runs by the realm of the blest
Has no song on its ripple, no star on its breast;
Oh! that river is nothing like this,
For it glides on in shadow beyond the world's west,
Till it breaks into beauty and bliss."

I am lingering yet, but I linger alone,
On the banks of the beautiful river;
"T is the twin of that day, but the wave where it shone
Bears the willow-tree's shadow forever.





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