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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Sandpiper

By Celia Laighton Thaxter (1835–1894)

[Born in Portsmouth, N. H., 1836. Died in Appledore Island, Me., 1894. Poems. 1874. Eleventh Edition. 1888.—Drift-Weed. 1878.—The Cruise of the Mystery, and Other Poems. 1886.]

ACROSS the narrow beach we flit,

One little sandpiper and I,

And fast I gather, bit by bit,

The scattered driftwood bleached and dry.

The wild waves reach their hands for it,

The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,

As up and down the beach we flit,—

One little sandpiper and I.

Above our heads the sullen clouds

Scud black and swift across the sky;

Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds

Stand out the white light-houses high.

Almost as far as eye can reach

I see the close-reefed vessels fly,

As fast we flit along the beach,—

One little sandpiper and I.

I watch him as he skims along

Uttering his sweet and mournful cry.

He starts not at my fitful song,

Or flash of fluttering drapery.

He has no thought of any wrong;

He scans me with a fearless eye.

Stanch friends are we, well tried and strong,

The little sandpiper and I.

Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night

When the loosed storm breaks furiously?

My driftwood fire will burn so bright!

To what warm shelter canst thou fly?

I do not fear for thee, though wroth

The tempest rushes through the sky:

For are we not God’s children both,

Thou, little sandpiper, and I?