Home  »  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century  »  William Alexander (1824–1911)

Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Poems. II. Very Far Away

William Alexander (1824–1911)

ONE touch there is of magic white,

Surpassing southern mountain’s snow,

That to far sails the dying light

Lends, where the dark ships onward go

Upon the golden highway broad

That leads up to the isles of God.

One touch of light more magic yet,

Of rarer snow ’neath moon or star

Where, with her graceful sails all set,

Some happy vessel seen afar,

As if in an enchanted sleep

Steers o’er the tremulous stretching deep.

O ship! O sail! far must ye be

Ere gleams like that upon ye light:

O’er golden spaces of the sea,

From mysteries of the lucent night,

Such touch comes never to the boat

Wherein across the waves we float.

O gleams more magic and divine,

Life’s whitest sail ye still refuse,

And flying on before us shine

Upon some distant bark ye choose.

—By night or day, across the spray,

That sail is very far away.