How long have we watched for the swallow’s swoop,
Searching the unfilled skies?
We’ve seen the end of winter’s rain,
We’ve felt the south winds rise,
And day by day our wishing grew,
While spring washed the waking slope,
And day by day our doubt became
The certainty of hope.
So give us the joy of the swallow’s sweep
That signs the frost’s defeat,
But give us, as well, the aching wait
That makes the joy complete.
When the night is cold and the winds complain,
And the pine trees sigh for the coming rain,
I will light a lonely watch fire, near by a lonely wood,
And look up to see if the God I serve has seen and understood.
I'll watch the wood-ash whitened by the licking yellow tongues,
I'll watch the wood-smoke rising, sweet smoke that stings the lungs,
See the leaping, laughing watch fire throw shadows on the grass,
See the rushes bend and tremble, to let the shadows pass,
While my soul flies through the forest, back a trail of weary years—
And the clouds, as if in pity, shed their tears.
Oh, I do not want their pity for a trail that's closed behind,
Though all the things on earth combine to play upon the mind,
I must keep on riding forward to a goal I'll never find,
What matter the eyes have seen so much that the soul is color-blind?
The child looked out across the sea
And watched it twinkling merrily.
He did not know of tides and war,
His little heart like a seagull soared.
We left the shore and headed back
To man’s wise ways, the beaten track,
But somewhere in my heart will be
A child that looks across the sea.