Bonaventura: The Old Burial-Place of Savannah

THE broad, white road flows by this place of tombs,
Set in the inlet’s curving lines of blue.
Through the low arch, wide-spreading tender glooms,
Stand the gray trees, light-veiled by those strange looms,
That weave their palest thread of air and dew.
Gray moss, it seems the mist of tears once shed ;
Dim ghost of prayers, whose longing once it spoke ;
For, still, its fairy, floating flags, o’erhead,
By every wind of morning visited,
Sigh in a silence that were else unbroke.
Silence, how deep ! The Southern day half-done
Is pierced by sudden thrills of autumn chill.
From the tall pine-trees black against the sun,
The great brown cones, slow dropping, one by one,
Fall on dead leaves, and all again is still!
So still, you hear the rush of hurrying wings
Beyond the river, where tall grasses grow.
Far off, the blackbird eddying dips and sings,
Or on the heavy-headed rice-stalks swings,
Slow swaying with the light weight, to and fro.
This is the temple of most deep repose —
Guardian of sleep, keeper of perfect rest!
Silently in the sun the fair stream flows;
Upon its unstirred breast a white sail goes
From the blue east into the bluer west.
Nature herself with magic spell of power
Stands in these aisles and says to all things, “ Peace ! ”
Nothing she hears more harsh than growth of flower
Or climbing feet of mosses that each hour
Their delicate store of softest green increase,
Or flying footsteps of the hurrying rain.
No need have we to pray the dead may sleep :
Shut in such depths of perfect calm can pain
No entrance find ; nor shall they fear again
To turn and sigh, to wake again or weep.
Ellen Frances Terry.